Search Engine Optimization is evolving at a fast pace. Several new changes have been incorporated to make search engines more efficient in terms of presenting useful information to their users.\r\nPage Rank (Google PR) and Trust Rank are the two main issues which are discussed frequently on various SEO forums. Although, both these terms are related to SEO, they have different relationship with the actual rankings of your website. Your actual rankings are known as SERPs in the SEO world which stands for the Search Engine Ranking Positions of your website/webpages on Google/Yahoo. Let us first begin with Page Rank.
a) Page Rank – Page Rank is the numerical value, weighting 1-10 for any single website or webpage. Page Rank represents the PR (Page Rank) strength of any given website. However, Page Rank should not be confused with the actual ranking strength of any website (i.e. your actual SERPs ). If you have installed Google Toolbar, you would be able to see page rank of several different websites .
Page rank is generally calculated by search engines by analyzing and calculating various back links pointing towards a particular website. Google Page rank algorithm uses its own complex algorithmic formulas to calculate Page Rank of any given website or webpage.
So far so good, but the real question comes up “Whether Page Rank has any relationship with the actual rankings of your website?” The answer is a big NO.
There are several hundred webmasters discussing increase/decrease in Page Rank on various forums, but none of them realize the importance of their actual SERPs as compared to Page Rank.
There are several hundred websites with low PR (1 or 2), and several of these websites genuinely overshadow other high ranking competitor websites with higher Page Ranks (generally 4-5 or even higher than that).
There is a wrong misconception among several webmasters that higher the page rank, higher will be their rankings on search engines. The truth is that your increase or decrease in page rank has no relationship with the actual rankings of your website.
There are several webmasters who will argue that if any website sees a steep decline in their Page Rank, then it could be an indication of drop in their actual SERPs. If your website is having some major SEO issue related to content or links on your website, then your actual rankings (SERPs) will drop first. Once you observe a drop in SERPs, your Page Rank will eventually drop after a period of 2-3 months. Till the next update in Page Rank, the Google Toolbar will keep pulling PR Data from its stored database.
Your SERPs relies on the current status of your website whereas PR relies on the stored database which gets updated only once in every 2-3 or 3-4 months.
Case Study: Take for example, Google and Yahoo launches a free web directory for webmasters around the globe. Now this directory will show PR 0 for period of 3-4 months. Does this imply that this directory is useless in terms of its importance? I am sure you won’t need explanation since the answer is NO.
After 3 months this directory will score a page rank of 6. This does not imply that this directory was worthless on a day before the page rank update took place. The PR for this directory was calculated somewhere in between 2-3 months, but only got officially displayed after 3 months in Google Toolbar.
These issues shift our focus from Page Rank towards another important hidden factor known as Trust Rank. This is the real factor which heavily influences your SERPs on various search engines including Google and Yahoo.
b) Trust Rank – The Google/Yahoo Trust Rank is one of the most important factors in determining actual rankings of your website i.e. your SERPs. Trust Rank is the Trust levels granted to any single website on the net. This Trust Rank helps certain websites to score higher rankings on search engines.
Let us try to anticipate some of the hidden factors which could influence Trust Rank of your website.
a) Age/History of your domain – The age of your domain is an important factor which can increase your Page Rank as well. There are several domains which are 5-6 years old and have higher rankings as compared to any other website within the same business category. Search Engines also rely on the history of your domain to detect any SPAM activity.
You can change everything in SEO, but you cannot change Age/History of any domain. Therefore search engines could rely on this factor to grant Trust status to certain websites.
b) Quality of your back links – Now quality of your back links doesn’t necessarily mean higher Page Rank links. In most of the cases it is observed that a website with Page Rank 2 is far much beneficial than getting a back link from a similar Page Rank 4 website. Search engines can easily detect any unnatural pattern in the back links of your website. If you purchase 50 back links with PR 3-4, then surely Google can detect it easily. The worst part is that your Page Rank is not related with Trust Rank, but these activities will lower your Page Rank as well as your Trust Rank. This paid link activity will increase your Page Rank, but it will lower you Trust Rank which ultimately decides ranking of your website.
c) Content on your website – There are several article websites which have observed steep decline in their traffic on both Google and Yahoo. The reason behind this decline is the duplicate articles which are submitted to several hundred websites by various webmasters and SEO. Several of these article websites have suffered consequences of duplicate penalty. Although there are several SEO’s who will argue that duplicate penalty is just a myth. There are some who will say that duplicate penalty does exist, but it is more like having your duplicate content in supplement index. However, the truth is that if your content goes into supplement index, then obviously it will lower your Trust Rank.
One should concentrate on producing high quality content, rather than having bulk of content. If your content is good and informative, other webmasters will automatically start linking to your website.
d) Optimization History of your domain – It could be possible that search engines store the optimization history of any single domain to determine their Trust Rank. If your website purchased 50,000 back links in 2006, then surely Google will keep an account of that activity to determine your Trust Rank.
Let us watch Dr.Matt Cutts live in action explaining and hiding ;) Trust Rank at the same time. The video gives good information, but surely something is too secret about Trust Rank.
On the other hand there are certain SEO techniques which could lower your Trust Rank. You should avoid these SEO techniques which will ultimately affect your actual search engine rankings or SERPs. Read about these SEO activities at : http://www.seohawk.com/blog/avoid-these-seo-techniques/
All these factors can help to determine the Trust Rank of your website. There is no tool to detect Trust Rank as compared to Page Rank. However, one should try to follow a natural pattern in search engine optimization. This will help you gain higher Trust Rank which will ultimately decide the actual rankings of your website. Trust Rank is the hidden factor used by both Google and Yahoo while determining actual rankings of any website. Page Rank algorithm is completely different from Trust Rank Algorithm. Trust Rank affects your actual rankings, whereas your Page Rank effects your PR within Google Toolbar. Page Rank can never be considered as a parameter to gauge ranking strength of any given website. A website with extremely low Trust Rank could show a high Page Rank, whereas a website with low Page Rank could have a high Trust Rank. This is the reason why there are several websites ranking above other high Page Rank websites. It is extremely important to understand the difference between these two aspects of Search Engine Optimization.
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