Is Domain Trust Just A Vanity Metric? Importance And Misconceptions

Is Domain Trust Just A Vanity Metric? Importance And Misconceptions

November 5, 2021
(Reading time: 4 - 8 minutes)

When it comes to search engine optimization, there are dozens of different metrics to keep track of.

If you’re new to the world of SEO and marketing strategies, it can be hard to make sense of all of the numbers, and what they mean specifically.

Today, we will be looking at a metric, developed by SE Ranking, called Domain Trust. As you might have guessed, there exists a misconception that this metric actually means nothing.

Today, we will take a look at it, why some people think that and why this isn’t actually the case.

But first, we have to answer a rather simple question.

What Is Domain Trust? 

Domain Trust is a metric that, unsurprisingly, shows how trustworthy a domain is. It does so by taking into account all of the backlinks pointing to that website. 

The more high-quality backlinks a website has the higher its Domain Trust score, on a scale from zero to one hundred.

The algorithm that it’s based on is the same as Google’s PageRank.

You may have heard of other, similarly-named metrics, such as Domain Rating by Ahrefs and Domain Authority by Moz. They are very similar, if not identical in how they work - all are based on the number and quality of incoming backlinks to any given site.

Why Is It Considered A “Vanity Metric” By Some?

The reason for this misconception is very simple - this is a third-party metric, which means that it wasn’t developed by Google.

It also doesn’t have a direct impact on a website’s rankings in search engine results pages, which leads some people to believe that it’s a metric that serves no purpose.

A lot of people prefer to focus on organic traffic instead - which is a performance indicator that shows how well a website is doing in a very specific, measurable way. 

You can even convert organic traffic into money, displaying how much it would cost to buy this amount of traffic through pay-per-click. The number of recurring visitors also shows how engaged you are with your audience - a high level of engagement is typically indicative of great content on your resource.

Domain Trust, on the other hand, is a somewhat vague term - it is based on two factors (link quantity and quality), the latter of which is not easily quantifiable.

Although, the fact that it isn’t an official Google metric and that its impact is not easily quantifiable does not mean that it’s useless. In fact, a high Domain Trust score is very important to a website, bringing it several very powerful benefits.

Why Is Domain Trust Important? 

To answer this question, we first need to understand how inbound links work. 

When a website links to another website, it is viewed as a sort of “vote” that the target website has good and informative content.

Google’s algorithm picks up on every single link that points to every single page - so backlinks are a very strong ranking factor. 

On an individual page level, a high number of backlinks can secure high rankings in search results pages. On a domain level, lots of backlinks help establish it as a trustworthy resource, which will help it gain an advantage over competing websites that might not have a backlink profile that is not as robust.

This means that once you start ranking high in search engines, your competitors will struggle to outrank you until they amass at least as many backlinks as you.

With that being said, not all links are actually good. Too many backlinks can actually hurt your SEO instead of improving it. Just last month, Google released another update targeting spammy links, leaving a lot of link builders that employ grey-hat tactics in the dust.

High-quality backlinks still remain a powerful ranking factor. But what is considered a good backlink?

What makes a good backlink?

There are two major factors that determine a backlink’s quality: 

  • The website that it’s coming from;
  • Its relevance.

The older and bigger a website, the more “juice” a backlink transfers. Just a single backlink from Forbes can be worth dozens, if not hundreds of links from smaller, niche blogs.

In other words, websites that have a higher Domain Trust score also pass on more of that trust through their backlinks. 

But even if your link is coming from a really authoritative website, it will have next to no weight if it has zero topical relevance. For example, it doesn’t make sense for a page about link building to be linking to a used aircraft parts marketplace.

First of all, nobody is going to click on it because someone reading a link building guide probably does not own an airplane - and is unlikely to be interested in purchasing any of those parts.

Secondly, Google’s algorithm only grows smarter - and it knows the difference between a link that is relevant and one that is spammy.

The best backlinks are in-content links that lead to other relevant blog posts that help users with a certain pain point.

How To Increase The Domain Trust Of Your Website?

Since Domain Trust is based on the quality and quantity of your inbound backlinks, the primary way of boosting it is through link building.

But before you can start link building, you’re going to need one very important thing - high-quality content. If you haven’t already, you need to make sure to invest your time and resources into developing a blog, regardless of the niche and type of website you’re running. However, there are many content curation tools available to find your specific ideas.

A blog with regular, quality uploads will serve you two purposes: 

  • Give your users a reason to come back to your website by providing helpful, informative content;
  • Serve as a platform for building inbound links.

Let’s take a look at some of the most commonly used link-building strategies now.

Anchor text strategy

The anchor text strategy is arguably the simplest and most beginner-friendly link-building techniques out there.

The process is as follows: 

  1. You find non-competing articles that mention your target keyword (only mention it briefly, and are on a different topic);
  2. Organize these articles into a list;
  3. Find the email addresses of the people behind the article;
  4. Reach out to them saying how they have mentioned a topic, but didn’t really elaborate on it too much; and how a link to your article can help expand the topic, helping create a more informative and comprehensive resource.

In reality, very few people are going to actually add your link just because you asked nicely - a lot of blogs receive dozens of such pitches every day.

So, it is important to have a good value proposition, so the collaboration is mutually beneficial. A link-building pitch has a lot in common with an email marketing pitch. 

Such a value proposition can be:

  • A social share;
  • Co-hosting a webinar together
  • A free subscription to your tool;
  • A non-reciprocal link back (from another website, or to another site of theirs);
  • A guest post;
  • Money.

The latter is a bit controversial - we are against any kinds of monetary transactions for backlinks, although a surprising amount of people are eager to pay for them.

This strategy is quite effective - although manually finding anchor text opportunities can be quite time-consuming.

Guest posting

Guest posting is probably the most used link-building method - and it is rather straightforward.

It is the process of writing guest articles for other blogs - in exchange for a backlink, usually in the bio. 

You can start by finding blogs that have a “Write for us” page, but in reality, most blogs accept guest posts, even if they don’t have such a page.

Usually, you’re only allowed to have one or two backlinks pointing back to your site from a guest post, along with a few links to other informative resources.

Pro tip: to get more than just 1-2 links per post, you can include links to your partner websites (if they’re relevant), and, in return, they will do the same for you. This way, you can get 5+ links from just a single guest post. 

The downside to guest posting is that it can be time-consuming to write original content for link building, but it pays off in the long run.

Skyscraper technique

The skyscraper technique is probably the best thing that can happen to your blog. If you’ve never heard of it, the skyscraper technique is the process of:

  1. Researching your competitors’ content;
  2. Creating content that is better: longer, more informative, touches upon new topics;
  3. Publishing the skyscraper content and reaching out to the people linking to your competitors’ old content telling how yours is better.

It is a great way to generate some extremely high-quality content for your blog, and earn some sweet backlinks along the way.

Wrap Up

Domain Trust is not just a vanity metric - a high Domain Trust score can help you stay on top of your competitors as long as your backlink profile is superior to theirs.

You can start link building with the three described techniques to improve your Domain Trust score little by little.

Written by: Vlad Orlov  |  November 5, 2021

See Vlad Orlov's' website: