I will fully admit that the TV spot made me tear up, just because it's so beautifully put together, and I don't care that it's a bit cheesy or a bit prophetic, I love it, and I admire what it's saying. Google knows how to make stellar ads built around stories, and here they show they know the dynamics of great storytelling. A perfect ad for the Oscars, and worth a highlight of its own. See the full Google ad below.
What is a "paid link"?
From matt cutts wall
I don't post SEO/search/webmaster videos here very often, because this is my personal G+ account, but this is an in-depth (8 minute!) video that explains some of the criteria we use when we decide whether a link is paid or not. Roughly, here are some of the important questions we ask:
- What is the value of the gift, product, or service?
- How close is the gift, product, or service to actual money?
- Is it an outright gift or a loan?
- Who is the intended audience?
- Is the intent of the gift to get links?
- Would the gift be a surprise to third party?
My guess is that anyone who has been involved with SEO for a while would intuitively understand these criteria, but it's helpful to clarify some of the questions we ask. Bear in mind that well over 99% of the time, paid links that pass PageRank are abundantly clear--because actual money is changing hands--plus we reserve the right to adapt our criteria when we see new types of spam or abuse.
There's an element of Trust to what you do in SEO, but the definition of Trust is one that's seen multiple interpretations in search over time.
The discussion that I've linked to involves how people present themselves in social settings, and if they should even attempt to do that. Given the fact that Google Plus enables people to digitally sign the content that they create with unique URLs at Google Plus and in doing so associate their Google Account profile with content that they might create on Blogs and other sources can elevate content we see on the web to be seen as authentic. But how have search engines tried to gauge trust in the past?
A paper created by researchers at Stanford and Yahoo describes something that they've called TrustRank. It works upon the simple premise that Good sites tend to link to good sites, and creates a measure of the "trust" that a site might have based upon how distant it is from good, or trusted sites. The paper is:
Combating Web Spam with TrustRank
Google has come out with their own version of a trust rank, and it differs in many ways. It involves the annotations that people might make on content they find on the web for pages that they might include in a Google Custom Search Engine (something that you should try to create, just for the experience of doing so). I wrote about it in:
Google Trust Rank Patent Granted
The main idea behind it is that if people use Google Custom search engines, they have some expertise in the topic they are creating a custom search engine for, and might do things like leave out spammy sites that wouldn't satisfy the users of their custom search. As a beginner, it is worth your time to explore Google's Custom Search Engines, and the ways that you can annotate results within them.
With Google Plus, we've been seeing authorship badges showing up in search results for some pages. These can help you find results from people whom you might know. They also provide links to the Google Plus posts pages that they authors maintain, and their "about" page, so that you can try to verify that they are who they claim to be.
Do these authorship badges increase the trust that a searcher might have in the search results that they see? Google cut back on the number of author badges that you see in searchers where you aren't logged in to your Google Account a couple of months ago, so that you see less of these author pictures. You still have the ability to click to their Google Profile, and verify for yourself. Google isn't expressly endorsing people with their display of author badges, but they are giving people a chance to determine whether or not they should trust them.
The link to the post from David Amerland has a robust discussion about whether or not company leaders should write about their companies, and share their thoughts, and digitally sign the content they create. It's an interesting discussion that you might want to weigh in on yourself.
Credibility and trust aren't quite the same things, but they are closely related. One of my favorite resources to point people towards regarding credibility has been the Stanford Guidelines on
Credibility, but the links that it points to are mostly broken these days, and Stanford has stopped maintaining them, which is a shame because the resources they pointed to were pretty good. The guidelines are still available though, at:
The ideas behind Yahoo Trustrank are echoed in the MozTrust scores you see at Moz.
People still are actively building Google Custom Search Engines, and I saw a couple of press releases about some new ones within the past couple of weeks.
The author badges from Google Plus may be a sign that Google will continue to pursue some kind of author rank, where a reputation score for authors may play a role in how pages are ranked in search results. There's been mention of that from Google representatives like Matt Cutts in recent months.
It's worth exploring these notions of Trust in linking, in content, and in authors, and how it may influence search results, and that might guide you towards how you create content, and how you link it or use services like Google Plus.
- Big Oak Inc, Richmond VaExecutive, 2008 - presentGoogle Adwords
- Big E Enterprises, LLCPPC, SEO, Consultant,, 2001 - present
- University of VirginiaBA Economics, 1983 - 1987
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