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PageRank, TrustRank and your web site

Yahoo has filed a new patent with the name "Link based spam detection". It's another attempt from Yahoo to improve the relevancy of their search results by detecting links from link farms and other shady link sources.

Yahoo uses PageRank and TrustRank to rank your web site

Yahoo mentions both PageRank and TrustRank in the patent application. That's interesting because both terms are trademarks of Google:

"PageRank is a family of well known algorithms for assigning numerical weights to hyperlinked documents (or web pages or web sites) indexed by a search engine. PageRank uses link information to assign global importance scores to documents on the web.[...]. The PageRank of a document is a measure of the link-based popularity of a document on the Web.

TrustRank is a link analysis technique related to PageRank. TrustRank is a method for separating reputable, good pages on the Web from web spam. TrustRank is based on the presumption that good documents on the Web seldom link to spam. TrustRank involves two steps, one of seed selection and another of score propagation. The TrustRank of a document is a measure of the likelihood that the document is a reputable (i.e., a nonspam) document."

Although Yahoo uses the terms PageRank and TrustRank in the patent application, it's likely that the algorithms are not identical to the algorithms that are used by Google.

How Yahoo tries to identify spam sites by using PageRank and TrustRank

In the patent application, Yahoo explains how they want to find spam farms with the help of PageRank and TrustRank:

"A spam farm is an artificially created set of pages that point to a spam target page to boost its significance. Trust-ranking ("TrustRank") is a form of PageRank with a special teleportation (i.e., jumps) to a subset of high-quality pages.

Using techniques described herein, a search engine can automatically find bad pages (web spam pages) and more specifically, find those web spam pages created to boost their significance through the creation of artificial spam farms (collections of referencing pages).

In specific embodiments, a PageRank process with uniform teleportation and a trust-ranking process are carried out and their results are compared as part of a test of the "spam-ness" of a page or a collection of pages."

What does this mean to your web site?

Search engine engineers are not stupid. The search engine algorithms are evolving faster than ever. For that reason, it is important that you don't use "quick fix" solutions to get links to your web site.

If a service promises hundreds of links to your web site with no work or efforts on your part, then chances are that these links are from a link farm. Search engines don't like link farms and some web sites even get penalized by participating in a link farm system.

Focus on organic link building and get high quality links that are beneficial to you and your web site visitors. If you use that kind of links then you don't have to be afraid of spam filters. With these links, search engines will see your web site as a useful resource and they will give your site high rankings.

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May 2006 search engine articles