Digital Marketing

Why Trust Matters to SEO (Even If It’s Not a Ranking Factor) – Here’s Why #86

Obviously, trust is an important issue in life but it’s also critical to long-term SEO success for your business. Here’s why!

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Transcript

Mark: Eric, let’s cut right to the chase. Since we’re talking about trust as part of SEO, there’s an inevitable question. Is trust a Google ranking factor?
Eric: You know, I really don’t think so, at least not explicitly. Here’s what I mean by that. There’s almost certainly not any specific trust algorithm or ranking factor that measures the trustworthiness of a site directly.
Mark: So why do people think that trust is a direct ranking factor?
Eric: The idea probably started with a patent filed by Yahoo in 2004. The patent described a concept called Trust Rank, which is a method of evaluating reliability or trustworthiness of a webpage. The basic idea is you start with a known set of good seed pages. Then the algorithm starts with those pages and looks for connections to other pages on the web. The farther those pages are from the good seed pages, the less trust is attributed to those pages.
Mark: So that sounds really hard to scale, though.
Eric: Indeed. And there’s still no guarantee that such an approach actually recreates all the complexity that goes with how and why humans trust a source.
Mark: So those and perhaps other reasons even, are probably behind why Google has told us to not use any kind of trust rank in their search rankings?
Eric: So far, we’re not really doing a very good job of supporting the title of this episode.
Mark: Touche. So let me share a few ideas I have on why trust is still an important matter to SEO, even if its not a ranking factor.
Eric: Please do.
Mark: All right. I go back to something you, Eric, have often expressed: that SEO doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s part of an ecosystem. Now an ecosystem in nature is an environment where everything is dependent on everything else.
The digital marketing ecosystem Eric: And that’s the way we look at digital marketing. If you are starting from SEO, you simply can’t think about SEO as an isolated practice. There are too many other things that feed into it and many other parts of your marketing that can affect the success of your SEO, even if indirectly
Mark: Right. So let’s think through a concrete example of that, although a fairly simple one. Now let’s say you build a reputation as a trusted expert on a certain topic. People start to share your content. They tell others about you and before you know it, other authoritative relevant sites are linking to you. See what happened there? The trustworthiness and reputation you built led to great natural links which we know to be a powerful search ranking signal.
Eric: And of course the opposite is true. If you start to develop a reputation for misleading or sloppy content, or if you get caught doing manipulative black hat stuff, trusted sites are going to be a lot less likely to link to you.
Mark: And that is why I have been saying that we’re moving into the age of audience, where what really matters is not how good you are at tricks or one-off manipulations. What really matters is that over time you’re developing a growing audience of people who know you, they know who you are, they know your brand, they trust you enough that they will tell others about you and share you and even link to you. Now that’s a lot harder to build but it’s also a lot, lot harder for your competition to beat.
Eric: Well said, Mark. Now I want to speak for a moment to the folks watching this. You’ve watched this far into this video, obviously, and maybe you are here because you’ve seen some of our other Here’s Why videos, or you’ve read our research studies or other content or heard one of us speak at a conference.
Mark: If you’re here because any of those reasons, then we realize in some way, we’ve earned your trust. That means a lot to us and we sincerely thank you. Now please know that we will work to keep earning that trust.
Eric: And if you are new to Perficient Digital and our content, welcome! We invite you to find out if we merit your trust for digital marketing advice and we don’t presume on that at all. Please feel free to check out all of our Here’s Why videos as a starter.
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Thoughts on “Why Trust Matters to SEO (Even If It’s Not a Ranking Factor) – Here’s Why #86”

  1. Google says trust isn’t a ranking factor, but wasn’t Page Rank essentially a measurement of a site/page’s level of trust? Yes I know it could be manipulated and untrustworthy sites could get high PR scores, but in general… that seems to be the case. No?

  2. Hi David – it’s a matter of terminology. Google considers PageRank a measurement of Authority, not trust. While they may seem nuanced, from a technical perspective, Trust is something that would be measured differently. You can see an example of how the concept of Trust is measured in Google’s TrustRank patent here: http://www.seobythesea.com/2009/10/google-trust-rank-patent-granted/. This may be semantics from your perspective, but this is why we don’t think of PageRank as being related to Trust.

  3. Hi Eric,
    I m first time on your blog, it’s really nice due to case studies on it. No doubt trust is not consider as ranking factor but not about or about on-page factor or off-page factor, generally trust depends on the quality, and quality of content or bank links , surely a ranking factor.

  4. It’s a great video! Trust factor in Google is a combination of many factors use to apply a value of how trustful a site is. On page, off page factor and social media activities greatly affects trust factor. It’s a great video! Trust factor in Google is a combination of many factors use to apply a value of how trustful a site is. On page, off page factor and social media activities greatly affects trust factor. Having higher trust ratings will increase likelihood of better page rankings and sites reputation so marketers must leverage this opportunity. Thank you for pointing it out! :)higher trust ratings will increase likelihood of better page rankings and sites reputation so marketers must leverage this opportunity. Thank you for pointing it out! 🙂

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Mark Traphagen

Mark Traphagen was our Content Strategy Director for Perficient Digital until February of 2019. He has been named one of the most influential content and social media authors in numerous industry listings.

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