Mastering Metrics for SEO
Links play a fundamental role in search engine optimisation. Search engines use links as an indicator of a site’s authority, considering each link to be a vote of confidence.
However, not all “votes” are equal. The internet is made up of millions of websites and web pages which vary in quality – as do their respective links.
In terms of search engine visibility, every webmaster should have an objective to attract/acquire links from high-quality, reputable and relevant sources. While determining a link’s quality may seem objective, there are several metrics available that can help webmasters (from Joe Bloggs to SEO’s) make informed decisions in respect to link acquisition.
Toolbar PageRank is arguably the most commonly used metric in determining the “importance” of a web page.
A numerical score (between 0 and 10) is assigned to each web page; the higher the PageRank, the more “important” that page is considered to be. So, in allusion to the “votes” analogy, a link from an “important” page will help lever the “importance” of the recipient page too.
While PageRank may seem like a logical metric in helping ascertain link quality, it is prone to manipulation. “Google bombs” and “link farming” are two examples of PageRank manipulation techniques, both of which involve acquiring a large number of links to “artificially elevate a web site in Google’s web search results”.
There are just a handful of PageRank 10 websites, including Twitter and the US Government website.
“MozRank represents a link popularity score. It reflects the importance of any given web page on the Internet.”
MozRank is also a score-based metric, which is calculated on a “logarithmic scale between 0 and 10” and is determined by the “popularity” of inbound links – treating links as “votes” too.
According to its creators, Moz.com, “A web page’s MozRank can be improved by getting lots of links from semi-popular pages or a few links from very popular pages.” This implies that, like PageRank, MozRank is also vulnerable to manipulation through unethical SEO practices.
Flow Metrics® – Trust Flow and Citation Flow
In May 2012, link intelligence surveyors, Majestic SEO, announced Trust Flow and Citation Flow, two link evaluation metrics. Like PageRank and MozRank, Trust Flow and Citation Flow are also allotted using a numerical score (between 0 and 100) to any given URL.
Search Engine Land describes both metrics in layman’s terms as:
- Citation Flow is a number of predicting how influential a URL might be based on how many sites link to it.
- Trust Flow is a number predicting how trustworthy a page is based on how trustworthy sites tend to link to trustworthy neighbours.
One of the major advantages of Flow Metrics® is that it updates daily – unlike MozRank and PageRank, which update monthly (or even later).
Furthermore, Majestic SEO have gone to the convenience of illustrating Flow Metrics® in easy to digest graphs. The video below provides more insight into how Majestic SEO’s Flow Metrics® work:
Of the abovementioned metrics, Majestic SEO’s Flow Metrics® is arguably the most useful in helping webmasters gauge the quality of an inbound link pointing to their website. This is due to its use of fresh data and resilience against unethical SEO practices.
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