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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.