Gaining Google’s Trust – The Must Have’s

Google Trust, exploring the signals that say a lot about your siteThe Google Trust metric plays a large part in ranking websites so understanding how to achieve trust is important. An absolute necessity on every page is:-

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone

The name of your business must be consistent everywhere it is published, your address must always be the same and a landline telephone number given. By all means have a mobile number too but the benefit of a landline is that it locates you in a specific geographical area which ties in with your address. Ranking well without NAP is much more of a struggle.

Cookie Alert, Contact Forms & Privacy Policy

You must have an easy way for people to contact you, a contact form is not good enough. Anonymous forms are typical of fly by night and spammy sites, those sites that are quite the opposite of quality. These sites tend not to have a Privacy Policy either, something which is legally required in the EU and for sites targeted at the EU if you set cookies  on visitor’s computers.  Privacy Policies should be in the main navigation and linked to from a cookie alert which are a familiar sight.

Refund and Returns Policy

Any website selling a product must have this policy under the Consumer Contracts Regulations  – failure to have one when required is a very bad signal.

Negative Trust Signals

Exact Match Domains

An EMD is a domain name that is targeting a search phrase – say – instead of a domain that sounds more like a brand such as EMD’s are a red light to quality assessors and badly damage a website. The first sounds as though you are desperate for visitors, the second sounds honest and reliable.

Excessive Advertising

When a page is assessed by Google it looks at the amount of advertising on it, particularly paying attention to the advertising on the opening screen, known as “above the fold”. If the original content of the page is less than two thirds of what is visible that is another red flag. It will look like the website is more interested in making money by advertising than being useful to its visitors.

Don’t Hide Your Whois Details

All websites have a whois listing . Opting out of publishing all ownership details is suspicious. Why wouldn’t you want people to know who you are? – there really aren’t any good reasons for cloaking yourself in privacy. If the site is intended for trading rather than a personal blog the name and address must be public in the UK according to Nominet, the UK’s registration body.

Don’t Swap Links

Reciprocal linking was very popular 10 years ago, but it really isn’t a good idea. If Google sees a link swap it looks like a sign that you are trying to game them, and Google doesn’t like anyone trying to pull a fast one. Much, much better to put useful links in your content to highly respected sites, giving the message that these are the people you hold in high regard and you will get some reflected glory.

Never place a link that doesn’t have a clear benefit to the visitor, and never, ever link to a poor quality site. If you are seen linking to spammy sites Google will likely draw the conclusion that you are spammy too. Spammy sites are known as a “bad neighbourhood” so steer well clear.

Don’t Copy From Other Sites

Not only is it rude to copy and paste other people’s content, it is a stupid thing to do. Duplicate content is intensely annoying and clutters up the SERPS (Search Engine Results Page) and Google hates it. Ultimately you will find yourself severely penalised and struggling out of that is very difficult.

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