Today it’s vital that your business has a website that Google respects. With this respect comes trust and Google, along with all of the other search engines, will rank your site  based on the trust you build – more trust means a higher ranking.

To dominate your target keywords there are plenty of signals that search engines look for to determine how trustworthy your website is, and to gain more authority you have to work on sending as many good signals as you can.

To get you started here is a list you can check off to make sure your website is a trusted authority in your niche.

  • Spend energy on building a strong brand – Search engines love good brands because of the associated trust. Good brands are talked about and have a higher chance of getting mentions, social votes, back links, etc.
  • An old domain is a good domain – It’s obvious: search engines figure an old domain is trustworthy, it means a business has stood the test of time. The length of time your website has been live and indexed plays a big role in rankings.
  • Play close attention to site structure – Search engine spiders like to crawl through a neat well-built site – it tells search engines you’re using current technology and also adds to the user experience.
  • Get onto Google Analytics and study your data – the best free analytics software available is invaluable and by loading it onto your site you also add a layer of trust between you and Google.
  • Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools – Google Webmaster Tools (Bing also have their own webmaster tools) can provide you with vital information to improve your site. Use it to alert you to any broken links and 404 errors.
  • Grab your Google Places page for local exposure – currently (Google is always tweaking its algorithms), ‘local’ is a major part of SEO and I predict it will continue to grow in importance. It’s easy to claim your Google Places page and start increasing free local traffic!
  • Yes they do dominate, so you’d do well to get onto Google Plus as well – Google Plus is their answer to Facebook, a new hot social network. You can bet that Google is going to use it to help decide which sites to trust and which not to trust. It’s also important to be active on the other social sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
  • Create an About page – it’s easy and important – Most people and search engines expect to find an About page. Don’t go overboard, just remember your keywords and the fact that Google loves a nice neat amount of content
  • Often tedious, but make sure you have a Privacy Policy and TOS page –  This is extremely important. Make sure it’s a custom Privacy Policy and Terms of Service page relevant to your website.
  • Create a Contact page that’s easy to find – A working contact form is a must. It should be easy to find the Contact page; hiding it or not having one can send bad signals to search engines.
  • Work on getting lots of back links– Currently (and I stress currently) back links are the most important signal to search engines in terms of whether your site is an authority and what it is about. Build natural back links and stay clear of any company that promises fast, quick and cheap back linking services.
    Aim for really valuable ones that come from other highly trusted websites such as .gov domains, .edu domains, major news sites and exceptional sources such as Wikipedia.
  • Get active online to gain social votes – If I’m right the new search engine ranking trend is towards social votes. They love it if you’re active on all social sites and gaining comments from your blog or commenting on other peoples social sites.
  • Blogging will pay big dividends – For at least the near future content will remain an important part of your online marketing strategy. For that reason alone think about starting a blog. Blogs also help with achieving more social votes and back links.
  • Improve your traffic by building a big site – Bigger sites have more flex with search engines. Building a bigger brand naturally attracts a lot of traffic and  it will become more important in the eyes of the search engines.

About the author

Peter Engelhardt - Director Creative Brew

Peter Engelhardt

Peter has a ridiculous amount of marketing and communications experience. He is an inbound marketing advocate and a new media enthusiast with a passion for spreading his knowledge and blogging. Above all he is the driving force behind Creative Brew and a proud dad.