Google SEO & Search Engine Marketing Services

Understanding Domain Trust and Authority

Domain Trust

Domain trust and authority are essential to ranking highly in the Google SERPS not only for our highly linked to home pages but also for brand new pages. You may publish a new piece of highly targeted content but if your domain has little trust or authority the chances of it ranking highly anytime soon are slim and none.

If you want new pieces of content to rank highly on Google you must continually build domain trust and authority, not sure what domain trust and authority is? Ok let’s explain it in a simple, practical way;

Domain Trust

Improving domain trust is showing Google and the other search engines that we are a site ready to provide real value to the index and that were not going to engage in unethical techniques. So what factors are considered? Well hundreds probably but let me spend a few minutes on the main ones;

Where Are Your Links From

When assessing the domain authority of a site the first place Google will look to is “who links to you?”. The idea here is that if most of your links come from spammy domains, you may be considered a spammer. This sort of backs up the “google bowling theory” published earlier this week, in that a competitor can spam your site in order to push you out of the index, however it’s not as simple as that.

If Google see’s your site has links from trusted domains such as wikipedia, dmoz, yahoo directory or other highly trusted editorial sites your site is more likely to be trusted. If some one then comes along and spams your site, you’re less likely to feel the impact.

If you have very few links and your site is new and then all of a sudden acquires thousands of spammy links, you could be in trouble. In the early days of your site focus on acquiring trusted links that build up your resistance to future attacks.

Who Do You Give Links To

If you link to spammy sites, this will have a big impact on the amount of trust you receive. The impact will be harsher than having spam in links due to the fact you control your site and who you link to. The theory is that spammers link to spammers, therefore stay way from it. If you want to publish a post outing a spam site use the nofollow to protect your trust.

Registration Details

This is still a debatable area but many believe Google became a registrar of domains for a reason.

A) They can see how many domains you control

B) Can quickly assess links between domain registration details

If SEOwizz also had 200 domains registered on the same account or the same contact details were used to register domains on multiple accounts, Google now has a partial way of picking up on this. If 90% of the domains are static or have been flagged as spam, you may struggle getting you clean domain into the index and may have to go through the dreaded sandbox.

The best thing you can do to retain trust is to keep everything as clean as possible.

Domain Authority

Domain authority is a more straight forward concept; how many quality pages link to your domain and how do they link to your domain?

PageRank / Link Juice

Google’s original patent for PageRank only took individual pages into account. Therefore each page was given an authority individually, however even though this may be the case there are many, including myself, in the SEO industry who feel Google also make this calculation on a domain basis.

So were not just talking about how many links a particular page of your site gets but how many links your domain receives as a whole. Obviously different links carry a different amount of link juice, this is why it is preferable to get links from pages with very few outbound links on them, the less links the more juice to pass.

Domain diversity

Not only will Google look at how many links your domain has acquired but it will also take into account the diversity of the links you have acquired. If you have 1000 links from 10 different domains, this is not going to be as effective as having 1000 links from 100 different domains.

Getting a diverse link profile is more difficult than simply getting links from the same domain, you should try to strike a healthy balance between quantity and diversity.

Deep Links

I have published an article about building links to deep pages but why is it important?

Remember we are talking about domain trust here and not page trust. If all your links go to one page of your site Google and other search engines have no reason to take any notice of the rest of the content, if no one wants to link to it, why should they bother looking at it.

Building links to deep pages will allow each page to hold trust, this trust works collectively to increase domain authority.

Don’t forget, building domain authority will allow you to rank higher and publish new pages without having to jump through as many Google hoops.

Hope this was helpful.


Line Break

Author: Tim (254 Articles)

is the owner and editor of SEO wizz and has been involved in the search engine marketing industry for over 9 years. He has worked with multiple businesses across many verticals, creating and implementing search marketing strategies for companies in the UK, US and across Europe. Tim is also the Director of Search at Branded3, a Digital Marketing & SEO Agency based in the UK.



PotatoChef July 4, 2009 at 5:32 pm

If you hope to do well as a blogger there is much more to it then just throwing up content. You must learn the craft and the rules that apply.

There are new things to learn everyday…this post is proof of that.

Happy 4th

Tim July 5, 2009 at 11:36 am


Thanks, am sure there are loads of ways to be a successful blogger but if it’s search traffic your aiming for then you need to know exactly how to keep your site in safe hands. It’s not easy to keep a clean link profile, but the better you do better your results will be.

Seo freelancer August 17, 2009 at 5:11 pm

Indeed this post is great, I have often wondered whether G new about other domains I may own. It just proves, the only way to have real success online is to not CHEAT! lol

G knows everything, you should always treat her with respect and never think that shes stupid! :)

Again, Great post

Tim August 18, 2009 at 2:50 am

Hi SEO freelancer,

Indeed G is getting every where and can look into more and more metrics. Spam will only work for so long and when it stops you can say good bye to your site.

Thanks for the comment

Leo Fogarty September 25, 2009 at 1:28 am

I always believe linking out to reputable sources is a good way of building trust, just as spammers associate with spammers, good editorial will link to good editorial.

Tim September 25, 2009 at 8:46 am


Spot on I couldn’t have saud ut better myself. It also helps build links, I have had loads of instances when webmasters have found my site by me linking to them and then received a link back from them

Paul McCarthy April 8, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Thanks for the post, it’s backed up a few niggling thoughts I had in my mind about domain authority.

From my limited testing, your point about Google checking domain owners and furthermore checking the IP addresses of interlinking sites is in my opinion very likely correct. At least that’s the conclusion I came to after around 6 months of rough testing.

Tim April 9, 2010 at 3:08 am

Hi Paul,

We have run very similar tests and link networks in my opinion are a thing of the past, content farms hold no value unless they are completely unique and on seperate IP’s.

Streaming House August 11, 2010 at 10:48 am

Thank you, you’ve helped a lot!

mrphantuan manh September 2, 2010 at 10:26 am

I want to know, how to check Domain Authority? have on any of the firefox ad-supported Domain Authority check?

Tim September 3, 2010 at 1:55 am

You can check your domain authority using SEOmoz tools, in fact you don’t even have to pay to see this just download the tool bar. September 24, 2010 at 8:12 am

I agree, domain authority is very important. Getting backlinks from reputed directories with high page rank is important. Directories such as Yahoo and Dmoz are very important but they are not the only ones. Submitting to thousands of directories who list thousands of websites of all types would do you more harm then good. Being selective of where to get backlinks from is the way to go,

tim November 16, 2010 at 1:51 am

great post chief.

Nenad April 3, 2011 at 6:07 am

If I link to a reputable site and after some time I receive link back does it worth since interlinking between websites is not considered as high quality seo technique?

Tim April 4, 2011 at 1:42 pm

Definitely ye, exchanges aren’t as valuable but if the site is good enough it will still pass authority.

Skyelar April 15, 2011 at 6:37 am

Good article, I feel bad for the business owners that take on seo themselves, get fooled with dated or sales driven articles telling them to link link link, then pay some guy who promises ten million pr 9 backlinks for a dollar sixty two and wind up seen as spammers on google! A note to ppl doing seo themselves, read current content from reputable sources, such as this one.

antara_Marathi Translators April 20, 2011 at 5:50 am

Thanks for you post for letting us know what is domain authority. let me accept this i am not sure what would be the effect of domain authority on your google rank, but after reading this article i have to redesign my SEO strategy and build some authority from big name in search engine like DMOZ, Yahoo as mention by you.


Mr.Choice June 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

This is a very informative post as it reveals important facts about SEO.

Araç Takip June 24, 2011 at 1:06 am

What about the language and the origin of the domains linking into your website?

Tim July 6, 2011 at 3:16 am

Yes, this certainly can be a factor when trying to rank for country specific terms.

David Viniker October 31, 2011 at 5:31 am

I agree with so much of what you say.
I am increasingly convinced that the top factor (but of course not the only factor) for Google is the PageRank of the HomePage of the website. I have yet to find a better explanation for Wikipedia or BBC pages generally getting to the top.
I also think that Google is giving a hidden boost to the effective PageRank to HomePages that are competing for a keyword.
Kind regards

Andres Berger November 7, 2011 at 7:27 pm

I have some success ranking for country specific terms using country specific domains as there is much less competition, but is really tough right now.

tree surveyor November 10, 2011 at 3:36 am

Really good article breaking down the difference between trust and authority. So as I understand it… DT = what you control; DA = what others think of you. Is this correct(ish)?

Tim November 10, 2011 at 3:43 am

To be honest it s a bot of both, the quality of your content, how often you update and the speed of your site can all increase the trust and authority of your site, however from an external point of view who links to you will also affect it, so a really relevant site may pass on a lot of trust regardless of what PR it is, where as a high PR site can pass on a lot of authority. Over the years trust and authority have come to mean the same thing, the secret to SEO is understanding where the gaps are and where your competition are failing.

Sisteme de alarma December 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

I have yet to find a better explanation for Wikipedia or BBC pages generally getting to the top.

Rohit October 2, 2012 at 5:51 am

I have been lately introduced to this term thanks for SEOMoz subscription.
Anyways, it is never too late, I seriously need to focus on tactics to build trust in eyes of Google.
As per your article, only Link building is only strategy to do this, right? But in 2012, doesn’t Google take into consideration Social/web 2.0 too?

Jhon October 14, 2012 at 4:19 pm

The explanation is simple. Wikipedia has a lot of natural links and because of their highly efficient interlinking structure, all their pages adquired great trust from Google. But Wikipedia doesn’t rank for everything, just for broad keywords that tend to be not so profitable.

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