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Why do you need to build trust and reputation to rank your website?

By Yogesh Gaur on September 19, 2018

You must have heard experts screaming “quality content” everywhere on the internet but do you really understand what it means?
Google has frequently advocated publishing high-quality content to webmasters wondering how to rank their websites. However, webmasters still have a hard time dealing with the trust and reputation factor. Here’s a simple and useful guide to help you understand why and how you get Google to trust your website and use your reputation to rank your website better.

Google needs to trust you
Think of the internet like a huge library that only prioritizes the needs of the people searching for books in it. If you are an author, there is a strong chance that Google won’t pay attention to you unless you have some impressive accolades to your name. But don’t blame Google. It’s the old school rule, reputation is everything. To understand this better, let me break down Google’s mission statement.

“To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

In simpler words, Google wants its users to find the best and most relevant information from every corner of the world in the most easily accessible manner. It’s no secret that Google values providing the best information available to the people using it. Google has earned these users’ trust to get where it is now. Millions of people use it because it offers advanced solutions, comprehensive results and more often than not, exactly what it needs. People trust Google enough to even search for the best food nearby, best maternity hospitals, best daycare centres and what not. In the last two decades, Google has redefined the virtual space with advanced algorithms that have made its results spot on and sharper.

If you know already how Google fetches these results, you’d know all about the crafty magic of keywords. Keywords among other factors like meta descriptions, title tags, schema, etc tell Google crawlers what your webpage is all about. But before you expect Google to fetch your content and display it on the first page of search results, you need to earn the ranking. The simple principle is that Google needs to trust you in order to rank you on top. Google demands that you be a credible and reliable source of information if you want to rank. In the last decade, numerous updates such as Panda focused on detecting thin, shallow and untrustworthy content published for the sake of rankings. Another update called Penguin centered its focus on the quality of the link-profile as it has a major impact on the trustworthiness of a website too.

What if Google doesn’t trust you?
Building trust isn’t just about writing amazing, user-oriented content that meets Google guidelines. Every element of your website needs to reflect the best interests of your targeted audience. Plenty of practices like cloaking, stuffing your content irrelevant or relevant keywords, link farming, hidden links, private blog network, etc end up hurting your authority and reputation in Google’s eyes. If Google doesn’t trust you, your rankings will definitely suffer. Worse, if Google detects that you have been indulging in certain unacceptable and prohibited SEO and content practices, you may also end up getting penalized.

If you have been in the SEO industry for some time, you’d know all about the black hat SEO tricks. It would be foolish to believe that Google hasn’t grown smart enough to detect these spammy practices. Google uses a variety of factors to judge the trustworthiness and authority of your website. Few of them include the information you furnish about your brand on your website, your privacy policy, your brand voice and domain age, etc. If you’ve just got yourself a website, make sure that you provide complete details about your company through your about us page, your privacy policy and terms of service and contact information.

Building Trust and Reputation: The vital trust signals, to rank better on Google, you need the leading search engine’s faith and trust. An authoritative voice automatically attracts attention online along with desired traffic which is essential for any website to survive.

Check out some of the simplest tips based on the vital trust signals to boost your website’s trustworthiness and reputation:

1. Authority of websites you link to and from
Do you know the simplest hack of building authority with your content? Link to highly-authoritative and credible websites (hint: .edu, .gov, etc). If you cite information from a fairly amateur blog with no meaty content, Google won’t pay you much attention. But citing harvard.edu as a reference or a link from Mckinsey Insights will definitely do the job. The reputation of the people or the sources you are quoting is prime for Google.

2. Engagement is everything
Among the recent big things that happened at Google, RankBrain was a big one. Not, you must’ve heard of the term”user engagement” but do you understand the extent of damage it can do to your website? Google pays attention to your bounce rate and if a lot of people aren’t spending a lot of time on your website, it better give you sleepless nights. If people are abandoning and closing your pages frequently, Google will take this into consideration and stop displaying your website among the top results.

The idea is clear. Your job shouldn’t just be all about attracting people to your website. It should include making them stay and come back for more. Focus on serving your traffic’s needs better without manipulating the rankings. For example, you are more likely to annoy your reader if your blog promises a comprehensive review of the Garcinia Cambogia diet but really just focuses on selling another supplement.

The basics of user engagement:
● Focus on query intent not keywords
● Create customer persona and customize your content
● Entertain, educate and inspire
● Keep it short and simple
● No jargon
● Avoid too many popups
Keep checking your Google analytics for session duration, bounce rate to examine your user engagement.

3. Be transparent
As a business, blogger, online seller or just a website, you shouldn’t have anything to hide. Your physical address, name, phone number, social media handles, who’s who of the company, and other similar details should be publically available. If you want more people to trust you, make sure that you connect with them through social media. People need to be able to establish that you are a genuine brand so whether your intention is to sell or just get more traffic, higher rankings and more content consumption, make sure that you build and foster a relationship with your readers. Go big with your mission and about us page, write all about your story, your accomplishments, your accolades and grow your reputation online.

4. Build a brand and a brand voice
A decade back or so, most webmasters recommended people to buy keyword domains that were exact matches. The practice has grown rusty now and you should focus on building a brand with your website. Your content should resonate your brand voice.
Avoid jumping the wagon and being insensitive every time there’s something trending though. Make sure that your brand voice is unique, innovative, thoughtful and reflects expertise. A good way of building trust with Google and your audience is by broadcasting your take on matters that concern your area of expertise. Be sincere with your content and make sure that you keep the best interests of your targeted clientele in mind.

5. Be more active everywhere
Update your website as frequently as you can. It should be your primary focus so make sure that you make frequent updates. Google will trust your website more if you actively participate in the ongoing conversation and build engagement. A genuine voice is a must to get Google’s trust so try and publish substantial content on a regular basis. Social Media is also a fantastic tool for legitimately distributing your content for global consumption. Not only can you connect with more people online on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc but you can also keep your audience updated about the recent developments with your brand. Social media is great for building trustworthiness and reputation as you can share your day-to-day activities and blend with your audience.

6. Secure your website
HTTPS is must for any online seller as it gives you the seal of trust. HTTPS’ job is to indicate that a particular with the HTTPS certificate has the “secure socket layer/transport layer security”. This means that whatever exchange of data takes place between a buyer/visitor and the website is protected by encryption. So, the information exchanged will remain private. The certification is only used by websites that have already identified their authenticity and other necessary details.

Summing up
It’s not just the experts screaming that bloggers and websites now need to focus on expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness but Google itself. As part of the quality content guidelines, Google has specified that the EAT factor will be essential to the quality of the content that websites publish online. It’s fairly easy to understand where this is coming from. Since the influx of self-publishing mediums on the internet allows an infinite number of self-proclaimed writers to publish their opinion, it becomes pretty hard for Google to rank the quality.

Naturally, people value experience, reputation, authority and trustworthiness of a professional before accepting their advice. Google uses the same factors while judging the quality of a website and a blog. But for a website as a whole, reputation is indispensable. Controversial and discouraged practices like cloaking, private blog network, bad link profile, etc may also be the reason hurting your website’s trust factor. As a webmaster, if you want to rank your website, make sure that you get Google to trust you by growing as a strong and transparent brand. Once Google trusts you, your rankings will improve and with a healthy and consistent content strategy, you will nurture your audience base.

Author Bio
Vishal Vivek started his career as a writer but swiftly made a switch to the grueling world of entrepreneurship. He now heads a highly successful Online Marketing Company with a team of 40 and when not found immersed in his business, he’s found reading and urban exploring.

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