With over 400 million active websites online, and more websites going up by the minute, search engines like Google and Bing have a lot of work on their hands. They need to crawl information spread across hundreds of billions of web pages, organize this information in their search index, and show the best results to search engine users.
With all this content, how do they decide what websites and pages to show at the top of results? Google’s SEO Best Practices provide insight on what a quality website looks like to them, and all their criteria share a common goal: Google wants websites to have authoritative, helpful content, displayed in an accessible way for search engine users.
Because search engine algorithms pay close attention to how authoritative your website is, making your website trustworthy and authoritative should be one of your main goals when building out your website’s structure and content.
In this guide, we’ll explain design and marketing techniques that can help you tell search engines (and their users) that your business is one they can trust.
How To Create An Authoritative Website
- Create Great Content
- Secure Your Site
- Embrace Social Proof
- Get Links From Authoritative Websites
- Display Trust Icons
1.) Create Great Content
In Google’s own words, it’s important to “provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do.”
This clearly illustrates that Google wants website owners to focus on quality content when creating their website. To create great content, think about what questions your potential customers have, and create clear, authoritative content that addresses those FAQs. It also helps to perform keyword research to see what kind of terms your customers are searching online. By creating quality content around these popular terms, it gives your website a chance to appear in search results.
How you display your content is important as well. Easy-to-use navigation bars and internal linking can help users and search engines easily find the answers they’re looking for. If you’re planning on writing many articles, consider organizing those in a blog. Or, if you plan to add FAQs to your website, place those on an easy-to-find FAQ page.
2.) Secure Your Site
Google takes security seriously. They want users to have a safe browsing experience using their search engine and favor websites that have strong security precautions in place. The backbone of website security is having an SSL (secure sockets layer). In fact, Google shows a warning to searchers when they try to visit a website without this secure technology. Even if you have great content, if you have an unsecured website, Google will likely not show your website in search results.
3.) Embrace Social Proof
Social proof is based on the idea of normative social influence, which states that people will conform in order to be liked by, similar to, or accepted by the influencer (or society). Online, one of the most important ways Google can determine social proof and authority is by looking at online reviews.
This is especially true for local businesses. When deciding what businesses to show in the Local Pack, Google looks at three things: distance, relevance, and prominence. Prominence takes online reviews into account, and as Google says, “High-quality, positive reviews from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Having a review generation and management strategy can help you gather more reviews and respond to new reviews in a timely manner. In turn, more positive reviews can improve your local reputation and give your business a competitive advantage in local search results.
4.) Get Links From Authoritative Websites
Another way Google determines online authority is by looking at what other websites link back to your website. Think of a link as a reference, or a recommendation — if high-quality websites link back to your website, Google will see this as a positive recommendation. However, if your links come from low-quality sources, they won’t be as beneficial.
There are a few different ways to get these kinds of quality links:
- Create Great Content: Going back to our first point, if you publish quality, relevant content, chances are, other websites will want to link to that content. Or, people will share the content on social media. This is another way having great website content can help grow your online presence.
- Ask for Links Back From Associations: If you’re part of a local or national association or group, ask for a link back from any online directories they may have.
- Build Profiles on Local Directories: Create up-to-date local profiles on online directories such as Google My Business, YellowPages, Top Rated Local®, and Bing Places. Not only is this important for overall SEO and online authority, but these directories often feature a website field where you can enter your URL, which creates more backlinks to your site.
Overall, the more inbound links to your site from other trustworthy sources, the more likely Google will recognize you as trustworthy in return.
5.) Display Trust Icons
For many potential customers, their first impression of your business will be when they land on the homepage of your website. As mentioned in our first point, it’s important to have quality content on your homepage, so users will quickly know what your business does and what your mission is all about. Your homepage content should also show potential customers that you’re a trustworthy business. One easy way to do this is by utilizing trust icons.
Trust icons can include things, like the logos of clients you’ve worked for in the past, a badge from an association you belong to, or a badge that displays your online reviews (like Top Rated Local®).
This is another example of social proof at work. If you’ve worked with high-caliber clients, have met the requirements to join a prestigious business association, or have great online reviews, highlight those achievements on your website. Seeing these kinds of trust icons will signal to users that you are a professional business with industry experience.
See How Marketing 360® Can Help
At Marketing 360 we offer a wide range of marketing services that can help you grow and establish your online presence. From website design to paid advertising, our professional team of designers and marketers are here to help your business succeed. Learn more about our services by giving us a call at 970-541-3478.