Google's Cutts: No Such Thing As Trust Rank

Dec 6, 2011 • 8:34 am | comments (10) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google TrustThe concept of trustrank dates back several years but is it something Google uses?

Not according to a video from Google's Matt Cutts, at least not by name. In the video, Matt said, "It's not that we have something specifically called trust rank." Google has a trust factor, but it is made of several ranking algorithm factors, which may be referred to "trust."

Here is his video:

Here is the transcript:

0:01 Today's question comes from Canada.
0:03 And the question is from JZ Becker, who wants to know, can
0:08 you talk a bit about ranking signals like trust?
0:10 We hear these mentioned from time to time by Googlers, but
0:13 there's no official documentation available from
0:16 Google on the topic.
0:18 Great question.
0:19 Trust is sort of a catch-all term that we use.
0:23 So PageRank is the most well known type of trust. It's
0:27 looking at links and how important those links are.
0:30 So if you have a lot of very high quality links, then you
0:32 tend to earn a lot of trust with Google.
0:35 There's other signals.
0:36 There's over 200 different signals that
0:37 we use in our ranking.
0:39 But you can kind of break them down into this notion of sort
0:42 of trust and how well you match a particular query.
0:45 So how topical you are.
0:47 What's your information retrieval score?
0:48 Just on the merits of what the user typed in.
0:51 PageRank is one of these trust-type algorithms that's
0:54 trying to figure out--
0:55 we use several words--
0:56 reputation, trust, authority.
1:00 And it's not that we have something specifically called
1:03 trust rank, or we have something specifically called
1:06 authority rank, or something like that.
1:08 We're basically just trying to say, in the general scheme of
1:11 things, how much reputation, or how much are we willing to
1:15 believe that this is a high quality page, or a high
1:17 quality site?
1:18 Those sorts of things.
1:19 So in general, what you want to have is a
1:21 very reputable site.
1:23 But you also want to have a site that's about, or a page
1:25 that's about, the topic that the user typed in.
1:27 So in an ideal world, you've got both.
1:29 It's very high on the reputation scale, but it's
1:31 also exactly what the user was looking for in terms of typing
1:34 in and finding a match for what they were typing.
1:37 So we use a lot of different words like
1:39 trust, reputation, authority.
1:40 And PageRank is a specific example of
1:44 those sorts of things.
1:45 But we mean it in a more general sense.
1:47 It's not, typically, a specific algorithm.
1:49 It's just trying to figure out how much-- if a regular user
1:52 saw this, maybe without even seeing a query at all--
1:55 how much would they consider it a high quality page?
1:57 How much would they consider it really useful, as far as
2:00 being able to answer whatever questions that
2:02 particular site was about?
2:04 Hope that helps.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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12/06/2011 08:00 pm

And why would anyone in their right mind trust what Matt  Cutts says? He throws dust over poor webmaster's eyes as Google makes bank, time and time again. He's a pro at that, the ideal snake oil salesman.

John Britsios

12/06/2011 11:21 pm

That is nothing new to me. If I recall, TrustRank was an Yahoo algorithm.


12/07/2011 05:53 am

lol, thats strange after a long time the story of Trust Rank has come up.  Google says it belives trust is a factor but after all its all about authority what is see.  Quality of links is very hard to determine, you can make a bad link good link too.


12/07/2011 02:36 pm

Yea there is a trust rank still called "Brand Favorites" ...its a known fact that Google plays favorites with big brands as they pay the big bucks

Lewis Warren

12/07/2011 04:57 pm

Seems to be very general in the explanation. 'Beating around the bush' comes to mind. Although understandably, does want to give away too much information into the success


12/08/2011 01:15 am

"Google's Cutts: No Such Thing As Trust Rank" Webmasters: No Such Thing As Trust in Matt Cutts or Google Stop penalizing your competitors and small businesses you liars, thieves and cheaters. Google has 97% share in Europe, not much we can do over there without Google.


12/09/2011 12:43 am

I have to hand it to Matt. He can give you an answer and raise a heap more questions at the same time. Still, he does keep us on our toes.


12/09/2011 03:18 pm

Seriously there is a lot of understanding about this. When people talk about 'Google Trust' they are using a broad term that covers all the quality factors that make up a page.  Trust is not a measurable number, it is simply a broad term to cover the hundreds of quality factors that Google does use.


12/13/2011 10:34 am

A consummate performance by Cutts with no facial ticks when he delivered the word 'trust'. Perhaps they should have sent him to meet Joaquín Almunia (European Commissioner) instead of Schmidt. Schmidt does have the face of an organised crime syndicate boss!


12/03/2012 02:18 am


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