Credibility is now an increasingly important search engine ranking factor. The more credible and trustworthy your website is, the higher it will rank in Google. In this post we will look at how Google and the other search engines measure the credibility of a website and how you can improve the credibility and organic search engine ranking of your own website.

A) Traditional / established factors that influence the credibility of your website

Here are the main factors considered by the major search engines to determine the credibility of a website:

  1. Back-links: the links that point to your website are the single biggest contributor to the search engines calculation of the trustworthiness of your website. If your website has mainly automatically created low quality links then this won’t have a positive effect on your rankings – indeed the reverse is more likely!
    Links from high authority, reputable websites will, however, still have a positive effect on the credibility of your own site.
  2. Links to other websites: if your website contains a lot of links to irrelevant websites then this can have a negative influence on the credibility of your site. If your website mainly offers affiliate links or if many of the links to other websites are broken then this could also have a negative influence on the ranking of your own website.  You should never give a link to any website that you do not know or trust yourself.
  3. Error-free pages: search engines will not see your website as a trustworthy source of information for its searchers if it contains crawl errors. Your web pages shouldn’t contain broken links or missing images. In addition take care over the quality of the content on the web pages themselves.  Spelling mistakes are also viewed by the search engines as signs of a low quality / low credibility website.
  4. Website traffic (visitors): Google has many ways of tracking the number of visitors to a website (Chrome browser, Google Analytics, etc.). A website that attracts high traffic volumes is seen as being more credible and trustworthy than a website with few visitors.
  5. Easy web page navigation: Clear website navigation that makes it easy to find pages quickly is an indicator of a good website. If people find what they’re looking for on your web pages, search engines will give these pages a boost in their search results. In addition, a good website structure helps to ensure that the search engines index all of the pages in your site.

B) New factors that can influence the credibility of your website (post Panda / Penguin)

In addition to the proven factors above, there are some new elements that now influence the credibility of your site.

  1. The number of social mentions – ‘Social Signals’: the more often your web pages are mentioned on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and other social media websites, the more credible your website and your business will be viewed by the search engines.A word of warning however, social mentions must be genuine i.e. be real mentions from real people to have a positive influence on your search engine ranking. Fake likes and mentions are likely to have a negative influence.
  2. Fresh Up to Date Content: The regular publication of good quality, fresh unique content on all your web properties is essential.  The best way to achieve this on your website is by including a blog on your domain.  Google particularly tends to favour new content over old dated content.  The creation and publication of good quality relevant blog posts on topics around the primary keyword phrases for your business will help improve your organic search position for those keyword phrases and also help establish your blog (website) as a trusted source of information on those topics.

A credible website is vitally important if you want to generate leads for your business online. In addition to higher rankings on Google and other search engines, people tend to buy and engage far more with trusted, credible websites.

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Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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