search engine optimization
Link trust, authority, and reputation are keys to an efficient organic SEO or ORM campaign
A weak link profile is often worse than useless
The trust factor. It’s a big part of what your online reputation ultimately relies on. When a search engine’s algorithm assesses your website, do they see authority, relevancy, consistency, and dependability? If they don’t, your page is unlikely to end up on the first page of search listings.
How link trust works
A search engine like Google bases a website’s trust factor on a bunch of different factors—some proven, some that are purely speculation. While we don’t know all the factors involved, we do know that a website that is topically relevant, has quality content, has incoming links from authoritative sites, and hasn’t been caught selling links is more likely to be considered “trusted.” Your trust factor determines your authority, and ultimately, where you rank in the listings for a given search term.
What makes a good link?
A relevant link is one from a topically relevant site. A website for a baker should have inbound links from other sites that are in some way related to baking, for example:
- Flour companies
- Pan manufacturers
- Other bakeries
- Recipe websites
But take the same bakery and build links from gambling sites, toy companies, or auto parts suppliers and the links no longer have relevance. They’re still driving traffic to the site, but not in a trusted way.
What else sffects trust factors?
Again, we’re not sure exactly of all the ins-and-outs of the algorithms that determine trust factors. And it’s for a good reason—if everyone knew every nuance that goes into raising a site’s listing, it would be way too easy for those with bad intentions to get their sites to the top.
So while nobody knows all of the factors, there are a few that have been proven:
- Good external links. You know it’s crucial that the links coming in to your site are from trusted sites, but don’t forget about the links coming from your site. Those links too should be connected to relevant and authoritative sites.
- Quality content. This one’s a no-brainer. If the content on your site is poorly written, consistently short, or lacking in uniqueness, you’re going to be flagged as untrustworthy.
- Frequent updates. Your site should be regularly updated with new content. Keep it fresh and up-to-date and your rating will reflect that.
- Videos and images. Adding more visual content—especially videos—is an easy way to improve your site’s trustworthiness.
- Your site’s performance. How fast do the pages on your site load? How long do visitors usually stick around? Factors like these play in to your trust ranking.
- Social media connectivity. This works internally and externally. Internally, your site should have ways to make sharing your content on social media an easy process for visitors. Externally, your site should have a social media presence, with accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.
Things like quality content and relevant links build your site’s trust factor, in turn improving your site’s authority and visibility and your overall online reputation. Take an active role in modifying your website for maximum trustworthiness and you’re sure to see some big benefits.