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Trust Factors that can Enhance a Website’s Rankings

Over recent months Google has been further tightening its Panda and Penguin algorithms, to target poor content websites and in turn, help to improve the rankings of sites that contain unique, valuable content. This focus on targeting low quality content and ‘web-spam’ in the search rankings means that Google is trying to identify common ‘trust’ factors on a website or web page. This means that it’s more important than ever to ensure that your website is seen as ‘trustworthy’ by Google.

Google has previously outlined some of the potential factors that Google looks at to determine the trustworthiness of any website. These may sometimes be difficult to identify through an automated programme, but it is accepted that there are four key factors they are looking at:

1. Duplicate or Redundant Content
It’s important to ensure that your site doesn’t have a number of similar content pages or articles, with just a few keyword changes. Google needs to ensure that the content pages that they will rank are driven by genuine interests of readers of a website, rather than just contain repeated content that attempts to rank individual pages well for specific terms.

2. Accurate, Quality Content
Google wants to reward websites with ‘good quality’ content, so it doesn’t favour sites that have sloppily produced content. This might include ones that have not been accurately proof-read, have been directly plagiarised, or ones which have been “keyword stuffed”. A website therefore needs to contain legible, original content that makes sense to the reader rather than just the search engine.

3. Complete Content
The completeness of the provided information is another key factor in the trustworthiness of a website in Google’s view. It favours comprehensive content about a topic, rather that one that might omit vital information. This could be difficult for Google to assess but it’s much better to focus on providing complete content to the reader, rather than simply relevant key-worded anchor text. Google would ideally like to find content that is seen as a valuable source of information which visitors would like to share and bookmark (including through Google+ – see below).

4. Expert Content
The factual correctness and expertise of the author in the relevant subject matter on the website is an important factor for Google, as this helps to determine if the site is a well-respected authority on the subject. Also, having a name, face, and bio associated with the content gives it authenticity and demonstrates the willingness to stand by the facts presented. This can be done through the use of the rel=”author” tag, linked to a Google+ profile and it therefore makes sense for Google to use this as part of their algorithm.

Therefore Google is looking for identifiable factors on a website that may indicate ‘trust’ – or lack of it – when determining the ranking potential of a site. This is just one of the factors being used in the ranking criteria, but an important one that website owners have control over and have to think creatively about developing.

If you’d like more information about how we can help your website benefit in the rankings from these trust factors, please contact us now.