Invented by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, PageRank (PR) was a formula that evaluated the quality and quantity of links to a particular webpage in order to find out its relative score and that page’s importance on a scale of 0 to 10. With the help of this calculation, Google determined which pages appeared in search results.

How it worked: When a user hit the search bar with a query, the goal of the search engine was to return relevant and high quality results. Google considered more than 200 factors to find out which web pages were most apt for the user’s query. The most important factor used to be PageRank.

However, over time, PageRank’s value fell drastically and Google did not upgrade it and it therefore faded out. So what’s the PageRank alternative now? In its place has come Trust Flow.

Trust Flow is a metric that finds a website’s quality based on the quality of its links with other sites in the same niche. Google’s basic criteria of having very good content and high quality links remain, but now with trust flow, what has been added on are high quality links and topical rankings which appeal more to the search system based on value–something that Google is propagating now.

How to Increase Trust Flow:

  1. Work more on keywords you use in your content

Now that PageRank no longer exists, using appropriate keywords for your niche and audience has grown in importance. Using strong keywords helps you connect better with your audience, especially when it comes to question-like queries and the other long-tail keywords. To find the best performing keywords, you can use the Keyword Tool by Google AdWords, Answer the Public tool, LSI Graph, Google Search Console. To make things simpler, you can use WebCEO’s tools, which provide keyword suggestions, the Spy on Competitors module and keywords from Search Console.

  1. For backlinks, quality exceeds quantity in importance, so seek for quality backlinks

Producing high quality content is high on Google’s list of wants, but this content has also to be topical and relevant. By creating content for specific markets, you will attract more targeted users to your site and enjoy being known as an authority on a particular aspect in question.

It works like this: the higher your trust flow or quality of backlinks, the higher you rank on Google. This is the way Google verifies expert sources and ranks them closer to the top of searches for readers to find. Another way of creating quality backlinks is to write guest posts. This will help demonstrate your thought leadership. The more people that read and rate your content highly, the more they will want to provide you with good backlinks from their material.

  1. Measure Trust Flow just like you did with PageRank

Like with PageRank, digital marketers now believe in measuring trust flow. This means tracking and analyzing the score of trust flow that are linked with the URLs present in your content.

Now that trust flow is being seen as the No. 1 driver that’s boosting search ranking, it is forcing digital marketers to focus on linking up with good quality sites to stay at the top. For this to happen, digital marketers will have to include web page linking with high relevance trust flow scores in a particular niche to their content marketing strategy.

  1. Spot industry influencers with Twitter profiles and weed out the fakes

These days, there are a number of authoritative individuals on the various social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. These platforms are playing a very prominent role in search results, so they can be easily leveraged to track down and link up with individuals who are authorities in your niche. You want to be following and followed by key influencers in your niche.

  1. Check out your influencers to find more such influencers

While you’re doing all you can to earn a link from one of your influencers, take this time to find the most high-ranking sites that link up to this influencer. After all, every high profile site reached a level of prominence by getting the support of other high profile sites. The people of this industry know that theirs is a community of people where everyone knows everyone else, and if their companies vie for the same niche, they are still considered worthy of mutual respect.

  1. Work more on building internal links

By linking pages of content internally in a site you can help your visitors or customers navigate through your site and understand how you’ve organized your site. Such links help people explore sites. They also help Google spiders to crawl these sites. Good navigation improves your online reputation and gives you stronger domain authority.

Internal links are also useful in encouraging readers to stay on your site a little longer as they go through your site’s offerings and their subjects of interest. The greater the time people spend on your site, the higher the statistics of engagement for the search algorithm, yet again adding to your search engine rankings and your online reputation. To optimize your internal link flow, you can use WebCEO’s Internal Links Optimization tool with functionality unique to the SEO software niche.

With PageRank gone, your link building strategy should now be primarily based on the Trust Flow metric. Take into account Trust Flow when you build links, and don’t hesitate to link back to quality sites in your niche as well – this is rewarded by Google as well.