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By Lior Levin
Once upon a time, there was a search engine called AltaVista. It was mighty and considered to be untouchable.
Then along came Google and knocked it out of the search engine game in a matter of about 12 months or less.
Google developed an algorithm that was based on looking at how many people linked to your site and what those links said. So lots of links from lots of websites increased your website’s ranking in Google. The term used to describe the popularity or your website was known as PageRank.
You can measure your Google PageRank by installing the Google toolbar for your web browser or through any number of PageRank measuring and analysis websites. But to be blunt, measuring the PageRank of your own website or that of your competitors is absolutely pointless.
Once people realized that they could “game” or manipulate the Google search algorithm by building masses of links from high PageRank websites, things had to change.
You Can’t Fool Google
Those PageRank updates we used to love seeing every month or two became less and less frequent. And right now they’re pretty much pointless because the data shown in the PageRank update is not even close to being current, or even useful, at any real level.
Here’s how you can tell if this is true or not.
Pick a popular search term in your industry or niche and search Google for it. Now go through the top 10 results for that keyword and make a note of the PageRank for each website. What you’d expect is that the sites with high Google PageRank are listed at the top of the results, and then everything else is listed beneath it. But that’s not what you see, is it?
What you’re seeing are sites with little or no (like zero) page rank, achieving higher search engine rankings than sites with lots and lots of PageRank. How can this be?
It’s because PageRank itself stopped mattering a long time ago. Google is just updating PageRank on the toolbar now out of courtesy, I’d imagine. I would guess that within the next two to three years, they’ll stop updating PageRank permanently.
So if page rank doesn’t matter, then what does?
Trust Rank has mattered more than PageRank has now for some time. As the term implies, TrustRank is about how trustworthy your site is in the eyes of big G. And right now, the more TrustRank your site has, the better.
But how do you measure TrustRank? Is there a TrustRank toolbar?
Nope, and there never will be. Google learned the hard way that you cannot expose the inner workings of your search engine to the general public because some people will do their best to manipulate it and ruin the experience for everyone else.
Here’s a list of things can that can influence your TrustRank and, therefore, your search engine rankings:
- The domain is registered for 5 or more years.
- The site is hosted on a dedicated server.
- The site loads quickly.
- All content is original.
- The visitor duration on each page is more than 90 seconds.
- The site is linked to from multiple international IP ranges.
- The site is an authority in its niche.
Are you seeing a pattern here? These are all qualities of a website or blog being run as a business—not just to scoop up some quick cash with spammy content and bogus inbound linking strategies.
You build TrustRank by starting a site or blog in one niche and becoming the authority in that niche or industry by providing content or resources that cannot be found anywhere else on the Internet. Google then rewards your efforts by putting you at the top of their search results for everyone to see.
PageRank was like Communism—a wonderful idea that could benefit everyone. But just like Communism, it was abused and had failed before it really had a chance to make a difference in the world.
What do you think about PageRank vs. TrustRank? What are you doing on your website to earn Google’s trust?