How is Google going to trust your website?

Google Trust Website

When Google’s Panda algorithm first came out, Amit Singhal, Google’s Chief Engineer, provided a list of potential factors that Google considers and looks at to determine the levels of trust in a website. Whilst this happened in 2012, many sites on the internet still show signs of “untrust” in the eyes of Google and his suggestions still apply today. To add even more trouble to the mix, Google has clamped down heavily on both its Panda and Penguin algorithms in the years following their release.

It’s more important than ever to review your website to adhere to Google’s seemingly increasingly difficult rule set. This blog post will be regarding how to gain Google’s trust, ironing out all of the creases to make your website a level platform.

Whilst anything you do on your website can often be seen as spam, which makes your website less trustworthy, Google now looks beyond just the obvious and analyses what’s underneath. Many of the factors are somewhat redundant, so the comprehensive list from Mr Singhal has been reduced to four main factors:

1.    Expertise

2.    Comprehensiveness

3.    Redundancy

4.    Lack of Proofreading

Follow this post for more information below on each factor, what they include and the questions Google wants its customers, you, to ask about your own site; how it may be sending mixed (and negative) signals regarding each factor, how this can be fixed and some key information you can gain from each.

Google Trust Factor #1: Expertise

What Google is asking:
Is this content written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well? Simply, it’s Google trying to analyse whether the content is in fact true and can be informative to the masses. Is the site a recognised authority of said topic? Does it contain insightful analysis or interesting information?

How your site may be sending a negative signal:

You’d be surprised at the endless amount of websites, that have blogs that have no byline attached to their posts. Posts that are set to the default “admin” or simply a first name only aren’t really recognised as trustworthy by Google, as we explained in a previous blog. No bio at the beginning or end of an article, or any sort of link to a bio page, will make your website seem untrustworthy. A very short article with no inbound or external links is also seen as untrustworthy as Google doesn’t see it as a potential benefit for the user.

The fix:

Whether or not your blog posts are written by yourself, you will need to associate a name/face with the document. If you’re a small company, you’ll often want to use the CEO, Owner or President’s name. Having multiple authors is completely fine at a larger company. You will need to establish the credibility of each of them. Anybody can write a blog or say anything anywhere on the Internet, but simply writing it doesn’t give it credibility. By having a name, face and bio attached to your content, you’re standing by your document and its factualness. It makes sense for Google to use this as part of its algorithm, right?

Google Trust Factor #2: Comprehensiveness

What Google is asking?

Is your page something that people will want to bookmark, recommend or share with a friend? Does the content offer a complete or comprehensive description of this topic? Are the articles unsubstantial, or lacking in helpful specifics?

How your site might be sending a negative signal:

It doesn’t come as a surprise that most of the blogs that weren’t associating a name with their posts were also not very comprehensive in detail. In fact, the blogs didn’t appear to be written for the attention or benefit of real people. They seemed to exist only to serve purposes of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), probably because the site owner asked for it. Of course, most of the posts were filled with useless content, only existing to link through to other parts of the website, especially through keyworded anchor text. This, of course, defeats the whole purpose of having a blog in the first place.

The fix:

The most simple fix for this is to remember why your blog exists and for who. The idea of a blog (and all digital marketing content in general) is to add value to your site, something that your audience will find interesting and informative simultaneously. It enables you, as an author, to go above and beyond talking about the products of services you offer. It’s a tool that allows you to demonstrate the expertise of either you or your company. Stick to what you know and write well.

Key takeaway:

Forget about your SEO when trying to decide what your blog is about – content will come and instead switch your focus onto hot topics in your industry. This isn’t about ranking for keywords, but instead providing your own unique perspective on the topic. This in turn will boost your Google trust levels – having produced content that people will bookmark and share.

Google Trust Factor #3: Redundancy

What Google is asking?

Does your site have duplicate blogs or pages, those that overlap with a level of redundancy? Especially on topics that are similar in subject, yet a different variation of keywords? Are the topics driven by genuine interests for the readers, or instead is it content generated through guesswork, something that may rank well in search engines?

How your site might be sending a negative signal:

This old school SEO technique apparently worked for the longest time, so long in fact that some website owners refuse to give it up. Why have one page on a given topic and be relevant for possibly one or two keyword phrases, especially when you have the potential to hold 10 or more, when you’ll be cornering the market on all relevant phrases? At least that’s how the thought process worked. To a certain extent, it actually worked well when using Google, but this was before Panda. When you’ve lost a major chunk of your organic traffic percentage, you can’t keep clinging to your practices of spam. Change is key.

The fix:

After finding all of the pages of your website that focus on the same or incredibly similar topic, combine them into just one. (Note: if they’re different enough then you may be able to keep a few of them, but please be honest with yourself. It’s important). It’s necessary to remove those pages in order to get the best out of your website. After combining them, be sure to have all the old URLs redirect to the new and improved URLs.

Key takeaway:

The good news in this is that the new Google algorithms understand synonyms and the overall meaning of words and phrases. This is incredibly important to SEO. It’s no longer necessary to have a whole host of keywords for your SEO, especially the ones that you’d like to be found for on a specific page. Sure, we all use variations within the page content, but missing some isn’t life-changing. If you already have a great site that others like and recommend to their fellow audiences, your pages will show up in the search results when they’re of relevance.

Google Trust Factor #4: No Proofreading leads to mistakes

What Google is asking for?

Does the said article have mistakes in spelling, grammar, facts or otherwise? How much quality control is done on the content? Was the article edited well, or is it a work of hast?

How your site might be sending a negative signal:

The trust factor goes beyond mere typos on your website here. Whilst it should be a bad signal, the amount of sites that have content which doesn’t make sense is overwhelming! It seems that the author strung together a bunch of keywords instead of a blog that makes sense (though this doesn’t surprise me). I’ve also seen content in the past that has simply been a job of copying and pasting from another website, not even including formatting such as paragraph spacing, or weird characters that appear in the process.

The fix:

Be attentive… that’s it! Don’t use automated programs that pull content from an external website, unless you’re prepared to carefully review each post and fix all errors. Write specifically for your target audience. Write about what would be beneficial to them as consumers. Search engines shouldn’t take a front seat before your customers! Treat your website like a precious child. Give it love, nurture it, give it attention and take care of it in all aspects of the word. If I’m honest, that sounds more like the process of loving a plant, but you catch my drift.

Key takeaway:

If you can’t read your own content to make sure it looks okay, then why is anybody else going to? Consequently, why will Google want to showcase it or even give it the time of day? Whilst Google certainly looks at a number of trust factors, these 4 are the main troublemakers for most of the websites we’ve seen. (Accompanied by the usual technical issues and inbuilt spam houses.)

If in doubt, you can always utilise our expert SEO team here at Strategy Plus.

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