Google’s Ranking Algorithm Too Dependent On Trust Factors?

Todd Malicoat went off on a bit of a rant which he named The Trust Knob is WAY too High – Google Trustbox. Todd, as do many SEOs, believe that Google places too much weight on “trust factors” when determining if a page should rank well or not. Todd quotes some well-known SEOs saying that trust factors are weighted at 85%, whereas copy is only given 15%. Why does this upset SEOs like Todd? As Todd explains,

One of the extremely big problems with trust filters is that they don’t seem to be retroactive…meaning that sites that were around and trusted BEFORE a particular filter was established can basically get away with murder (and they do).

Todd explains the trust factors as follows; web site age, total number of backlinks and the overall age of those links and total ?trustscore? of other backlinks (i.e. the number of .edu’s, .gov’s, and high pagerank links). Ok, so those are some of the trust factors involved in the algorithm.

In the past, SEOs were trained not to talk about a site ranking, but rather a page ranking. Each page of a site was independent, and was able to rank well on its own. The old optimization for Google was “Content + high PR links,” today it is “Crusty trusted domain + content.” The word “crusty” implies the age of the domain, but also shows you how much dislike Todd has towards the “age” component. Pages aren’t old – sites are old.

This is the same complaint as we had a year ago. New sites are not given a “fair shot.”

Why not give Joe’s ultra amazing toothpaste (the company with very little marketing budget because they spend their money making an amazing product) a chance to rank high for “toothpaste” for just a little bit longer instead of HELPING companies who’ve been spending millions of dollars on their “brand” instead of their product for the last decade or more?

Todd’s post makes for a good read and may give some of you additional tips on how Google works today. One aspect I believe Todd left out was the factor of creating buzz for a new site. Yes, they are dependent on “trusted sources” linking to the new site, but it can happen. New sites, I believe, need to think in terms of generating real “reputation” and real “buzz” so that trusted sources provide some “crusty” trusted links.

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