In the search engine optimization (SEO) game, we all know that measurement is the key to success. So when John Mueller stated in 2013 that Google would no longer be updating Toolbar PageRank—its system for ranking web pages based on value—many of us in the industry braced ourselves for big changes on the horizon. Since then, we indeed have not seen any more updates to this once-important SEO tool.
So what does this mean for your SEO strategy?
Great content and quality links have always been important to Google. But now, there is an even greater emphasis on high-quality linking via a concept called trust flow™. Majestic SEO created trust flow™, and it is essentially a metric that determines the quality of a site based on its links with other sites in its niche.
To put it simply, if you’re in digital marketing, you want to make sure your website is linking to other high-quality digital marketing websites. To date, Google has not yet taken an official stance on this heavy shift to quality backlinking, but you should still know how to optimize your SEO strategy so that it’s in line with this growing trend.
To help you prepare for the next big evolution in SEO, here are 3 things you need to know about trust flow™:
#1. Quality is more important than quantity—at least when it comes to backlinks.
It’s pretty simple, really: The higher your trust flow™ (or backlinking quality), the better you will rank in Google. In essence, this is Google’s way to verify expert sources and place them closer to the top of search for readers to find.
National Geographic versus Wikipedia is a good example. With PageRank, Wikipedia’s crowdsourced content would rank higher because of sizable traffic and heavy backlinking. With trust flow™, National Geographic’s expert content now ranks higher because it includes authoritative, niche information.
So how do digital marketers earn better rankings under this new system? By creating fresh, highly informative content and naturally acquiring authoritative backlinks. This organic process takes time and some strategy, but it builds a solid foundation for your brand. Guest posting is one way to get valuable backlinks. (Just don’t overdo it.)
Remember: You still need to follow the old rules when it comes to meta tags, descriptions, and quick load time. Description and title tags build site quality and authority, which equals better trust flow™.
#2. Trust flow™ can be measured with several tools.
It’s no secret that, as marketers, we like to measure our efforts and—more importantly—our results. The good news is when it comes to trust flow™, a ruler is already in place: Majestic SEO, the creator of topical trust flow™, has a tool called the Bulk Backlink Checker. This tool is available only to Majestic SEO subscribers, but it allows for in-depth analysis of the backlink numbers for heaps of URLs.
#3. Keywords are not really dead.
After the shift to quality content and backlinking, some marketers have proclaimed keywords to be dead. (But hey, they said the same thing about Paul McCartney.)
Of course, keywords are not dead. In fact, it’s absolutely critical to continue to practice good keyword usage (using words appropriate to your niche and audience and avoiding keyword stuffing).
Google AdWords continues to be one of the best ways to help you find the most optimized keywords and, in turn, bring in the highest quality leads. Combine it with a data capture solution, and you’ll be armed with powerful data on your prospects—including what brings them to your website.
Raise your trust flow™ score with a killer content marketing strategy.
With trust flow™ emerging as the leading driver of search ranking, digital marketers must focus on using quality backlinks to stay on top. Want more tips on boosting your content marketing efforts? Click below to download our e-book on how to optimize your content marketing with lead gen forms that convert.