What Does it Take to be Trust(Rank) Worthy?

We’ve previously discussed PageRank, so let’s dive right into TrustRank.

The Concept of TrustRank
Researchers from Stanford University and Yahoo! combined forces to come up with a link analysis technique to “semi-automatically” separate useful websites from spammy websites. The idea is that feedback from human reviewers can only go so far and people can only go through so many pages. There has to be another way to distinguish good content from the bad content.

This is where the concept of TrustRank comes in. The basic idea is that established, authoritative sites (like NY Times, WebMD, etc.) will rarely link out to pages that aren’t equally well-regarded. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon to come across webspam that links out to good sites (in very high and unnatural volume), or even name drops in order to trick visitors in an attempt to be a credible source.

The Difference Between Spam and Non-Spam
There are many indicators that can be used to detect spam. Spammy sites will often work in a network where they all link to each other in order to sculpt PageRank and pass link juice to a certain page. Volume of linking out, anchor text, keyword density, black hat techniques (like cloaking) are also indicators of spammy or malicious sites.

Then, there’s the issue of linking C-blocks. Tools like SEOmoz’s Open Site Explorer give you a better idea of the amount of linking C-blocks to your domain. Sites hosted on the same domain may all link to each other in a scheme to gain higher rankings.

To make a long and technical story short, you can think of it like this: Your IP address is where your website resides. The C-block you belong to is your “neighborhood”. If your IP is located in a “bad” C-block, it could be harmful as your site may be associated with spammy sites.

Google’s Official Word?
Although Google doesn’t officially recognize a single page ranking factor of TrustRank, they do acknowledge that the search algorithm takes the concept of trust into consideration. So, it might not be a bad idea after all to think about TrustRank as it can improve your PageRank and overall rankings and reputation.

Have you ever heard this quote? “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. Apply that to who your website is associated with and keep good company!

Bing and Yahoo: Other Pieces of the Pie

If the Panda and Penguin updates have got you feeling down about organic search engine marketing, there might be some hope. Instead of waiting for algorithm updates to fix your website, your time could be spent analyzing and optimizing for Bing and Yahoo. By the way, Matt Cutts has said that the next Penguin update will be “big”!

I know what you’re thinking, Google dominates about 66% of all searches… but what about the rest? Don’t be so quick to brush of the other search engines! (FYI Yahoo results are now powered by Bing.) Take a look at some benefits of optimizing for Bing and Yahoo and why you might want to look into it:

Bing Disavow Links Tool – In order to help fight negative SEO and give you more control of your link building efforts, Bing has recently launched this tool. This feature allows you to block link juice from unnatural or suspicious sources that your business isn’t associated with. Hopefully, Google will get a hint and help SEOs out soon!

Bing and Yahoo Go Hand in Hand – Since summer of 2010, Yahoo results are powered by Bing. Tada, you’ll get a 2 for 1 bonus if that’s where you want to focus!

Different Search Algorithm – Since Bing and Yahoo run on a different formula than Google, this can be used to your advantage. For example, the other search engines seem to favor older domains more than Google does. In some cases, this also holds true for an emphasis on exact match domains (in case your URL is older and you chose it early on.) No need to worry about that just yet with Bing and Yahoo. As for title tags, Bing and Yahoo will stick with the ones you chose, unlike Google who chooses what they think is better.

Target Audience – Depending on your industry and audience, it could be helpful to optimize for Bing and Yahoo as well. Many people are still stuck using Yahoo while others have sworn off Google in favor of Bing. Google isn’t the only one even though all this algorithm update news have made SEOs obsessed with it.

Before you go crazy trying to optimize for these other search engines, it will be more useful to track/analyze where you are first before going all out. Make milestones of what is worth and not worth pursuing. Optimizing for search engines should always be the second thing in the back of your head, people being first. Even though a giant like Google can be frustrating and cloud your goals, it’s helpful to keep your assets on Bing and Yahoo and possibly work harder top optimize them for further staying power in SERPs.

organic search engine marketing

Keyword Trends on Yahoo! Search Clues

Yahoo! always seems be overshadowed by the giant that is Google, so it’s good to see something new from them.

Yahoo! Search Clues allows users to search keyword trends over time. You can also see demographics such as: age, gender, income and location. Pretty neat right? And it can definitely come in handy on your PPC or SEO campaigns.

I think the visual comparison between PPC and SEO is cool and probably accurate. Don’t you think? SEO is more of a consistent and long term tactic while paid search can fluctuate depending on different factors.

What will you use it for?