Chapter 7: Trust, Authority & Search Rankings

If search engines can decide to trust links or social accounts, can they learn to trust web sites? Sure, and many SEOs believe that site trust plays a big role in whether a site will succeed or fail with search engine rankings.

 

Ta: Are You A Trusted Authority?

Is your site an authority? Is it widely recognized as outstanding in its field, area, business or in some other way? That’s what you’re aiming for. No one knows exactly how search engines calculate authority and, in fact, there are probably multiple “authority” signals that are tracked. The type of links your site receives (lots of quality?) or social references (from respected accounts?) and engagement metrics may all factor in. Negative review might also hurt, as covered below:

  • Google: Now Likely Using Online Merchant Reviews As Ranking Signal

But there’s little doubt that search engines do try to assess an overall authority figure. Just look through the questions that Google told publishers to ask themselves in May 2011, if they were hit by the “Panda” update. Trust, authority, expertise all come up:

  • Impacted By Google’s Panda Update? Google Asks You To Consider This…

Th: How’s Your Site’s History

Since search engines are constantly visiting your web site, they can get a sense of what’s “normal” or how you’ve behaved over time. Are you suddenly linking out to what the search engines euphemistically call “bad neighborhoods?” Are you publishing content about a topic you haven’t typically covered? Such things might raise alarm bells. Then again, sites do change just like people do, and often for the better. Changes aren’t taken in isolation; other factors are also assessed to determine if something worrisome has happened. In the end, a good overall track record may help you. An older, established site may find it can keep cruising along with search success, while a new site may have to “pay its dues,” so to speak, for weeks, months or even longer to gain its own respect.

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