Trust. It’s important in all walks of life, but it seems none more so than in Google’s eyes and if your website isn’t trusted by Google, you’re basically consigned to the lowly, deep dark depths of search results pages ten and onwards.
However, the matter of trust also makes for one of the most frequently misunderstood topics in the realm of SEO, with many companies not even knowing where to start (or worse, starting with poor advice that results in a Google blacklisting of their site). So with this in mind we’ve put together this easy to understand and completely up-to-date guide on creating trust and empowering your search result performance. Split into two sections we begin with on-page trust (factors that you can work on within the website itself) and off-page trust (factors that will influence Google’s trust in your site outside of your website).
Understanding on-page trust
Just who are you again?
The very first steps to give Google signs that you’re not a spam website (which tend to be anonymous), according to Abacus Marketing, is to create pages that will indicate your authenticity. These pages include: About, Contact, Privacy, and Terms of Service.
Crafting your content strategy
On-page trust can be created through a comprehensive content strategy that focuses upon being genuinely useful to your target market. Moreover, however, having fresh, relevant content is not only important for the Google Bots, but vital for your users’ on-site experience, and should additionally be:
– Unique (copying others’ content is another Google no-no that could seriously hurt your SEO efforts)
– Frequent. Fresh content indicates that you’re up-to-date and therefore useful.
– Linked through to other (authoritarian) websites. This adds both value as well as usefulness to your audience who may wish to research the topics upon which you write further.
Studying your bounce rate
A long-standing theory of SEO experts the world over is that a high bounce rate (where visitors land upon your site, then immediately or shortly thereafter leave it) indicates to Google that your website doesn’t provide the content which it promises from the search results overview.
You can reduce your bounce rate (which notably will improve your user experience) by:
– Avoiding popup adverts
– Improving your website’s loading speed
– Ensuring that your website is mobile friendly (Not sure? Check out Google’s “Am I mobile?” tool).
– Utilizing a heat map tool so that you can fully analyze where users are clicking and scrolling.
– Using tried and tested website layouts that convert and guide the user to a specific destination.
Social media is becoming an increasingly important indicator of a website’s worth and overlooking this now vital marketing tool not only does your search results a disservice, but moreover can lead to missing out on a potential worldwide audience.
Specifically in Google’s eyes the indicator of social shares is like search ranking gold dust (otherwise known as SERPs).
Another social factor which may positively influence your Google ranking is that of blog comments. This form of interactivity is a great indicator to Google that visitors are finding your content relevant enough to comment upon.
Be open and honest
Another essential building block for creating trust is being open about who you are and who is behind your website; this begins with making your WHOIS details public.
Getting to grips with off-site trust
Getting listed on online directories
Back in the day businesses would use the Yellow pages to get their business name out there and today things aren’t so different, aside from the fact that such directories are based online. Having your business listed within these directories is then a great indicator of your company’s genuine existence and also provides excellent benefits for local search engine optimisation.
Opting to get the word out through press releases
Press releases serve to communicate with the world your worthwhile news and choosing a high quality PR service can help spread your word via influential (and trusted) news and press release sites.
Working on a Wikipedia link (or two!)
Wikipedia is the world’s most trusted online resource for information (as you’ve probably noticed from its number 1 position for many, many a search term). For this reason having even a single link within one of its pages is a sure-fire way of building instant and influential trust.
That said it’s also incredibly difficult to achieve, although a good place to start would be within Mathew Woodward’s broken links and citations blog.
Focusing on HUGE links
Other sites that hold influential authority are also obvious targets for your link efforts. Websites such as Forbes, Entrepenur, and Huff Post are similar to Wikipedia in that they offer untold SERPs for the lucky link owner.
Again however such websites require perfectly formed and captivating content (and for this reason you may need to seek a professional’s helping hand).
Getting onto Google news
Over the past year or so you may have noticed some changes within Google search results, with one of the biggest being the appearance of a news section. This is an indicator of just how much value Google places upon fresher content and becoming part of these world reaching news results can cement your website’s search engine worthiness.
Blog and forum comments
As an industry voice to be listened to you’d naturally take part within communities that are relevant to your own. To indicate this to Google you can begin with comments upon other similar blogs and forums (and you may even pick up some organic traffic along the way).
These tips should help your brand gain the trust it needs to do well in organic search.
Image Credit: Carlos Luna