How can a third-party data source like Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow prove useful in helping a search engine like Google better rank your content, even though Google has its own ranking factors which are independent of Majestic’s?
Orienteering is the Key
I have just returned from one of my increasingly irregular mountain climbs in Snowdonia. After breaking my pelvis in December, followed by lockdown, and increasing age, the journeys are getting harder!
We started with an extremely steep ascent up the first of four peaks.
Unfortunately – despite an ex-marine being at the front and a GPS drive gadget in the group, we headed off the first mountain without looking at the compass.
There only seemed to be one obvious route. It was still early and the mist had not lifted.
It took us about an hour to recognize our error and climb BACK UP the mountain to rerpute ourselves to get to the next peak. The effort nearly defeated me before the end. It meant a 7 hour hike turned into an 11 hour hike, because of the wind that the error had taken out of my sails!
I was at the summit, where the two blue lines cross, but assumed I was where the red and blue lines cross. I should have used a compass! So I followed the cliff, East South East, instead of going North!
How is this related to SEO?
These walks help me to reflect about SEO. While a simple compass can give me a direction of travel, a compass and a MAP can help me triangulate my position exactly. I can use any two points in the visible distance to triangulate my exact position on the map. It does not matter what brand of map I use, as long as it reasonably represents the landscape.
Just like it is with contextually relevant links.
Links are not (just) a signal of strength. Increasingly, Google prefer to use links for discovery and context than for PageRank. In the good old days of the Google Dance, the only signal we (or Google) had with regards to link context was the anchor text used when they saw the link. This famously led to Abode’s PDF Reader ranking number 1 for years for the term “Click Here”. In fact, they are still position 15 today.
However, as Google moves more and more towards a topic based approach, they can define the main content of a page, or even a passage of text, in just a simple reference or three in their knowledge graph.
Over a decade ago I showed Majestic users how to visualize anchor text in word clouds. Nowadays you could easily use Majestic to visualize the TITLE TAGS of every lining page in a word cloud just as easily. But the down side of this is that humans use a rich vocabulary and it can be hard to spot patterns just through the words in the title.
However, by simplifying pages and describing them as a spread of distinct topics, a web page can quickly have a very unique profile.
Let’s say you only had 10 categories of topic. You could give every page’s relevancy for each topic a score of 1 to 100. You would have 100 to the power of 10 variations (12 zeros). With 1,000 topics, that extends to 100,000 zeros. How much accuracy do you need?
By using just a few signals, a search engine is able to triangulate what YOUR web page might be good at, just by knowing the subject matter of the main sites that link to you.
The fact that Majestic’s topic list is independent of Google’s does not matter. In fact, there is a not inconsequential argument to say that Google’s understanding of web page content might be enhanced by laying Majestic’s understanding of a page.
The point is that it does not always matter what MAP you use to understand the web.
All you need is a map (in this case Majestic’s Topical Trust Flow) and a compass to give you a direction of travel.
Your business model should give you that compass – it should let you define what your business should be seen as an authority for.
The Topical Trust Flow map tells you how far away you are from your summit.