Remember when you were young, naive, and trusted everyone? You gave all people the benefit of the doubt, because no one would ever do anything to hurt you, right? Right — until one day, when you’re proven wrong and have to learn to be more selective with whom you trust. Google knows the feeling.
Back in its younger days, Google used this thing called PageRank, which was basically a little meter on a browser’s toolbar that displayed the “ranking” of a website from 0 to 10. This feature was awesome for SEO experts, as they could easily see the ranking of the website they were optimizing. In general, a higher rank typically equated to a higher position in the search results. A website’s rank depended on the quality and quantity of inbound links to that site. Thus, the more links from other websites you had linking to your website, the higher your score would be. This worked well for a couple of years — until it didn’t. See, SEO experts found a way to “cheat the system,” and businesses emerged that sold links to websites in order to increase a page’s rank. Instead of earning links naturally, you could buy them with a couple clicks of a mouse. So, cue a bunch of spam, wack search results, and Google’s trust issues.
Since then, Google has rolled out several adjustments to its algorithm with names like Panda and Penguin in order to get rid of spam and shortcuts. Now, there’s no shortcut to ranking on the first few pages of the search results. Google doesn’t trust your website at first. You have to earn its trust — and it’s a slow process. Here are some factors you need to consider if you’re trying to build up trust with Google:
The age of your website holds stock in how Google views it. Think about it like a healthy relationship — the longer the relationship, the more time you have to build trust in your partner. In the world of Google, it’s difficult for a brand new website to make its way to the top search engine results pages (SERPs). Google refers to this as “indexed age,” or the date that Google discovered the domain. Google trusts websites with a higher indexed age, therefore making it easier for those websites to move up in the search results.
This is where a little bit of the link stuff we talked about earlier comes in. Google still cares about the quality of and quantity of a site’s inbound links. It takes into account the websites that are linking to you, but also the quality of the content on those websites. In addition, Google wants to make sure there’s enough diversity in links, meaning they shouldn’t all be coming from the same place. This is Google’s way to ensure that each link is legit and not spam.
The content of your website is paramount for SEO purposes. Above all else, content is something you don’t want to skimp on. You can’t just repost content from other websites or write blog posts just for the sake of writing blog posts — your content has got to be well-written, keyword centric, engaging, and relevant to your audience. Having high quality content is key to driving more people to your website and building more trust with Google. For more information on how to create stand-out content, check out our guide.
Like most people who have been hurt before, Google has trust issues. Now, instead of taking shortcuts to rank higher on SERPs, you have to put in the work to earn your spot. Building up trust with Google is a slow and steady process, but those who know how to do it right will be rewarded — eventually.
Need help with SEO, but don’t know how to get started with getting Google to love your site? Smarter Searches can help.