Trust Rank Continued / .EDU Links

Hi folks!

Yet another newsletter! I want to talk about two things in this newsletter. Following up from the Trust Rank newsletter, I want to say a bit more about the Majestic SEO reports. And secondly, I want to talk about getting .EDU links.

The day after I sent out the last newsletter, I came across a site with the worst trust ratio I’ve seen in the program. If you’re not sure what I’m referring to with “trust ratio” you probably haven’t read the last newsletter yet. Suffice to say it’s a numeric indicative of how trustworthy your website is, as a destination, as measured by its popularity amongst other websites and how trusted those websites are. In my last newsletter, I reported that the worst trust ratio I’ve seen in the program was 1.5.

Have a look at the graph to the right….

I call it the Tale of Two Cities (the visual impression it makes on me). The trust ratio score is 2.0 (32 citation flow divided by 16 trust flow). In other words, this site has many more low value citations or links than high value trusted links.
Everyone gets my newsletters. I can’t say one thing to some of you and something different to others. None of you has a graph like the above. I’ve renewed dozens of memberships over the last few months and virtually all of you have a graph where the clearest trend is for your links to crowd around the centre axis and push towards the Trust Flow axis. Most of you also have a handful of low value citations spread along the Citation Flow axis. But nothing like we see with this website. It’s like there are two distinct clusters of links, one crowding the centre axis and another very strong cluster crowding the bottom citation flow axis. My Tale of Two Cities.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that we all have some low value links but as long as you have a good number of links from trusted websites, you’re not really going to be hurt by a few spammy or low value links. But I think this site is pushing the envelope.  The first smoking gun is that they have 4,050 back-links from only 655 domains. There are about 10 websites each sending them hundreds of links and another 20 or so websites sending them dozens of links and for this Canadian fly fishing website, most of the non-program links seem to be coming from China (e.g. 396 from – removed by me as perceived as spam content – which redirects to a Chinese sex site).

Of course, my theory is quite simple. The links you see crowding around the centre axis are ours. They look like your links, your graph! The links crowding around and along the Citation Flow axis are non-program links mostly it seems from China. By the way, what makes a low value link low value? It’s a link from a website that is not itself linked to from trusted websites.

Of course, in the final analysis, this is all about rankings and this site is ranking well including a #3 for its main phrase.

So, even though this site has the worst trust ratio I’ve seen in the program, we have to remember that in the eyes of Majestic SEO, it’s not really that bad.  But I’ll wager that he’s ranking well because our links are putting a good face on his otherwise sketchy link profile.   I think it shows that Google has a fair bit of tolerance concerning some doubtful practices. But please be careful folks.


And speaking of getting good links, let’s talk about .EDU and .GOV links. I always say that the best links you can get are one-way business-to-business links, but that’s not entirely true. Even the Majestic SEO report distinguishes between “regular” links and .EDU and .GOV links.  I haven’t really talked with you about these kinds of links because they’re not easy to get (or so I thought) and I was afraid if I talked about them that some of you would get yourself into some Blackhat program promising you all kinds of these high value authority links. A small but notable black hat industry has risen around finding ways to include your followed link on these domains, with or without the domain really knowing about it. Don’t go that way.

And now I’d like to introduce you to Gary of and give Gary a big “thanks” for sending this along.

“Ken, I have greatly improved my (Majestic SEO) score since last Friday. I believe I was a 1.3, and now I am reading a 0.64 (42 / 27). I have been working on EDU and GOV domains for their trust. I have about 5 more good EDUs coming soon.”

He goes on to say:

“Employee discount programs are a great way to boost your trust.   The EDU and GOV sites that we have been seeking are the ones offering discounts to their staff members.”
Sharp as a bunny rabbit I remembered that I’ve worked at a college for 35 years, so I went online to investigate. Sure enough, my college has a student alumni discount program with a convenient link for businesses to register if they’re offering discounts. I registered and from what I understand, my link will be up there soon.

(AN ASIDE: Why did I say bunny rabbit above? I guess it’s because I saw a brown rabbit in my yard last night. I quickly went to the kitchen to grab a piece of bread and started throwing it to him.  About an hour later, it occurred to me that he’s a rabbit.  So, I went and got a carrot.  I cut off the tips and started to peel it and then I realized ‘He’s a rabbit!! I don’t need to peel it.’  Yes, I’m a bit of an idiot!)

Gary tells me these opportunities are hit and miss and some of these facilitators are being so overwhelmed that they now require you to have a residence nearby, to be included in the program. But I think even a handful of these sorts of links will help. You pretty much have to do it yourself but it doesn’t really seem to be that hard, so check out the local universities and colleges, or maybe some government sites.

Just to give you an idea what to look for, Gary sends along a few links. On this one you can see, over to the right, “add a business”:

On this one, over to the bottom right you can see, “for vendors only”:

And here’s a .gov one and you can see Gary’s site listed as you scroll down:

Gary uses these Google search operators: “discounts” “employee discounts”

I should add that not everyone is in the US. I’m in Canada and my college is not .edu, it’s .ca. But a link from a mid-sized college is no more or less valuable than a link from a mid-sized company. It’s not exactly the .edu that confers trust; it’s just that an .edu is trusted because that TLD is conferred on educational institutions, pillars of society. Educational institutions in other countries will have the same status even if they are not designated .edu.
Thanks again for sharing, Gary.

And finally, after 11 years, my website has a new look; and yes, it is mobile friendly. Please take a look: and notice that my recent newsletters are there in the blog section.

And for the heavy lifting on this new look, I want to thank my friend Jonathan Adams of

That’s all folks!