Site   Web

July 29, 2011

Understanding TrustRank and How to Use It

Some people say the mysterious Google TrustRank is what really determines SERP positions on result pages. It was obviously created to decide how trusted a website is by looking at various factors including security and the length of time a domain has been around on the web. They have never made an official explanation on this and have never spoken of it. However, there is no doubt that there are two elements that determine trust; user perception and trust ranking.

If you’re serious about website design or online business then this should be your number one priority. If not, you shouldn’t be looking too far into the future of your empire because you won’t be able to build up good relationships with leads or customers.

Why is It Important to Build Trusted Relationships?

Well first of all, you’re probably going to lose more than 80% of your potential buyers because the internet is well known for scams and spam. People don’t like to take a chance, especially when the online market is so competitive. The other reason is your best mate Google – if Google doesn’t trust you, people won’t find you, and if people can’t find you then there’s no point in running an internet business at all. Becoming a trusted site in their eyes will not only make you more visible to the online world, but to many others too.

How to Build Trust with Search Engines and Visitors

As mentioned earlier in this article, there are two main factors that will affect your business relationships, user perception and trust ranking. User perception is how a visitor understands a site in their eyes so doing the following will help gain trust quickly:-

Blogging – Shows visitors that you are posting quality content on a regular basis and talking about relevant subjects to keep them interested.

Tweeting – Shows that you are active, especially if you post tweets every couple of hours which is what you should be doing with Twitter anyway.

Quality – People will trust you if it looks like you put time and effort into making your site look stunning as well as professional. It should be tested by humans for humans and have a good user experience. Make sure everyone gets a great first impression.

Being Real – Make sure you have a telephone number along with other contact details including an address if there is one so people know your business is real.

Simply put, people who have had bad experiences with dodgy sites are careful about the sites they trust and purchase from.

The second element is TrustRank, the unofficial set of factors that determine how trusted a site is by using sophisticated algorithms affecting the Search Engine Ranking Process (SERP) rankings:-

Legal Issues – In the EU, you must have a Privacy Policy explaining how cookies are used and handled if they are collected. People have seen better positions in search results by placing the policy link in their footer.

SSL Certificates – This is a definite factor for online businesses. Major search engines can tell how trusted a site is by a Trust Authority. Companies such as VeriSign provide secure and trusted certificates with EV (Extended Validation – the green bar that appears with the HTTPS in the URL) features which is instantly recognized by visitors, spiders or crawlers.

Domain Age – Even if you use paid services to hide WHOIS data, its been said that Google can see the actual data anyway so the data should only be hidden if really needed. The age of a domain name can show that you’ve been around a while and it can be a good idea to have at least 10 years registered on it.

Links – The sites that link to you and the sites you link to yourself can tell a lot about an organization. It not only determines your PageRank, but if you have links to sites Google may consider spam or junk, it can affect your authority too. Make sure all your links are of good quality and are completely relevant.

There are other factors, but Google will probably never tell us. An interesting fact is that TrustRank was actually registered by the corporate giant in 2005 along with a patent to go with it. So it’s definitely real and it could mean more to the SERP than PageRank. Give it a try and see if it makes any difference because it’s definitely worth it.

West London based freelance web designer Sohail Amir, providing bespoke web design and development solutions.