One of the fuzziest and most difficult terms to deal with in SEO is the ‘trust signal.’ This is a piece of information that the algorithm uses to determine that your site is valued by the online community. It’s a metric that’s supposed to separate low-quality spun information with actual blogs from experts in their fields.
The problem with this metric, of course, is that every site that wants to be ranked highly on Google has to exploit it. We all want to be at the top, so we’ll all do whatever we can to ensure that we wind up on the first page of search results. This means that we’ll try to artificially mimic the sorts of things that we think that Google uses to build the trust ranking of our sites. Often, this involves getting high-quality backlinks or being discussed on social media. Occasionally, it might involve short-term strategies when we figure out a little bit more of how the algorithm actually works. Google almost always eventually changes the algorithm to make those short-term strategies less impactful or even negative, but that change can take weeks or even years to be implemented.
So how can you generate trust? First of all, don’t overlook quality backlinks and social media discussions. Encouraging your users to share your site and talk about it on other platforms is an important first step to building a high trust rank. It’s basic, sure, but it’s the foundation you’ll use to kickstart your site’s reputation with the algorithm.
The second step is a little bit hazier, but experts suggest that having really, really good content is actually the best strategy when it comes to boosting your trust rank. After all, what you’re trying to do with other strategies is mimic the ways a high-quality page with lots of useful information behaves and send a bunch of false signals to the algorithm. Simply allowing your page to naturally emulate those signals by ensuring that it’s the best possible resource on your targeted keywords is a great way to skip all of the headaches involved in staying ahead of the algorithm.
Google continually updates its algorithm to encourage good-faith websites while removing sites that users don’t like from its search results. If you’re trying to keep your site up to date, make sure you’re focused on delivering quality content with a great user experience. Measure your site’s core web vitals, make sure your articles are written to take advantage of snippets in results. Perform a maintenance pass in which you go over old pages, update your internal links, and carefully consider the user experience that each section of your site delivers. Think about how you can leverage modern tools in your content generation pipeline, and most importantly, be sure to deliver genuinely excellent content at every step of the way. By keeping these techniques in mind, you’ll be sure to put your websites on the best path to success in 2021.