Matt Cutts“As Google continues to add social signals to the algorithm, how do you separate simple popularity from true authority?” Google’s head of search spam Matt Cutts explaining the difference between popularity and authority in SEO search results.

Matt says that there are websites with higher authority which online users are more likely to link to, such as government websites. On the other hand, there are websites which users visit quite often, such as entertaining websites; however, users are less likely to link to them. Therefore, popularity is a measure of where people go on the web whereas reputation is a measure of where people link to. Reputation is also referred as the page rank.

Matt added that some algorithmic changes will be rolling out in the future which will let Google move away from giving higher rankings to well-known websites, and start looking for evidence within the website that it should be ranked higher for a specific search query.

Page rank is based on the quality of the content, the links and the target topic. If you target specific keywords or keyword phrases and link them, you can become an authority in that area. Google is continuously improving its algorithm to provide better match for the keyword queries in SEO search results. By targeting industry-related keywords and constantly providing fresh, engaging and linkable content, you will show Google the evidence that your website should be ranked higher than your competition.

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