There are a jaw-dropping 2.3 million internet search queries per minute. How does Google decide which results you see? How can you get your business to the top of the list? While there’s no free “easy button” for improving your rank overnight, a little knowledge about how PageRank and TrustRank work can take you a long way in your quest for a coveted spot in the first ten results.
Google analyzes more than 200 factors when deciding how to rank a webpage. Examples include how prevalent a topic is across your site, how responsive each page is to mobile devices and how quickly your site loads.
Of course, performing in-depth analysis of these factors in real time isn’t practical. Enter PageRank and TrustRank. These two proactive algorithmic approaches help Google evaluate which webpages should rank higher or lower within the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
PageRank rates website pages on an importance scale of zero to 10, with 10 being the most valuable.
A webpage’s PageRank is appraised on backlinks, which are outside hyperlinks driving traffic to a page. For example, a blog post that links to an original article on CNN.com has created a backlink to CNN.com. The page that created the backlink is known as the referrer.
Webpages that receive high volumes of backlinks are perceived by PageRank to contain more valuable content. Like individual referrals, backlinks are Internet votes of confidence. The placement of backlinks are also subject to Google’s quality assessment. Backlinks that originate within a referrer’s most valuable real estate, like the homepage, carry more weight.
While PageRank emphasizes the quantity and placement quality of backlinks to determine value, many professionals within the Search Engine Marketing (SEM) industry believe passionately that Google uses TrustRank to determine the value of a webpage’s backlinks based on the reputation of the referrer.
This approach is rooted in the notion that “birds of a feather flock together,” meaning good websites link to good websites, and those of ill repute link to equally questionable ones. The weight of a backlink on a website with a PageRank of 10 is greater than that of a backlink on a website with a PageRank of 0. Thus, backlinks from highly credible websites, such as federal or national news publications, are highly valued.
Though Google has not publicly acknowledged TrustRank as a legitimate search factor, Google frequently instructs that authentic content is the best way to ensure high SERP placement.
If you feel that your website is consistently not ranking high enough within the SERPs, consider the number and type of backlinks pointing to your site. While there are a variety of ways to influence your backlinks, realigning your content to be more topic focused, easily searchable, and authentically valuable to consumers are all great ways to procure new and improved backlinks.