Google TrustRank: How to Use Trust to Rank #1 on Google
"Does *trust* affect search result rankings?"
This is one of the most perplexing questions in the SEO sphere: most website owners do not know whether or not trust does affect rankings. For those who do, only a few know how to improve the trust factor on their website.
But here's what:
Trust does have a significant impact on your search rankings. In fact, trust IS a search engine ranking factor in itself. Anyway, you're in luck today because we're about to show you exactly how the search engines use a trust to rank your website and what you can do to maximize your site's trust signal and push your site to top ranking. Let's start with getting to understand what trust is in the context of online search.
WHAT IS ONLINE SEARCH TRUST?
Trust, in the context of the online search operation, is the reputed quality of credence and authority that a website has, which the search engines use to rate how trustworthy, dependable, and safe the site and its content is.
This quality is often measured by several elements, which we will talk about later in this article, and is used by search engines to determine how high to rank websites.
WHY TRUST MATTERS
Before we look more closely at individual steps that you can take to increase your site's trust level, it's important to be clear on why trust matters.
The ruling concept at stake here is simple:
People only do business with whom they like, know, and most importantly, trust. The guys behind the Google search engine understand this very clearly. And Google's number one priority has always been to provide the searcher with the best possible user experience ever.
If a website does not have a good enough trust signal, Google would not want to present such a site to its users in the search engine results pages (SERPs). They want to offer users a top experience by displaying trustworthy websites so that these users can keep coming back to the search engine.
If they display non-trusted websites in SERPs, users will not come back, and by extension, nobody will be there to click on the ads. That would mean a huge loss in ad revenue for Google. Remember, Google makes over 85% of its total revenue from ads alone. To put things in perspective, in 2018, Google made about 136.22 billion US dollars out of which 116 billion came from ads alone.
That's why building trust for your website matters: you want Google to rank your site higher. Now, how do you actually improve trust? It starts by knowing what Google TrustRank is and how Google uses it to rank websites.
So Google has this thing called "TrustRank." It is basically a site analysis tool used in combating web spam, and it is what Google uses to measure sites' trust signals.
Although TrustRank was initially built by Stanford University researchers, Zoltan Gyongyi and Hector Garcia-Molina, in collaboration with Yahoo!, Google has revealed that they also use it in their algorithm. Here's what Google said about trust and ranking in one of their patents:
In fact, TrustRank is based on Google PageRank, which was originally created by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1998.
HOW GOOGLE USES TrustRank TO RANK WEBSITES
Heads up: The higher your TrustRank, the higher the ranking of your site.
Specifically, Google TrustRank measures the “trust signals” for your website. These trust signals allow Google to evaluate the core ranking signals (content, links, etc.) to determine how legit they are. So for instance, if a site is detected to be harmful (for example, it uses HTTP instead of HTTPS), or has low-quality content, or its backlinks are coming from low-class sites, the trust level of the site will below.
When Google perceives a website to have low TrustRank, it is likely to rank such a site lower on specific search queries and vice versa. Apparently, you want Google to see your website as trustworthy. To achieve this, you'd have to max up your site's TrustRank. Let's begin by measuring your TrustRank to see where you stand.
HOW TO MEASURE TrustRank
To measure TrustRank, you can use Moz's MozTrust metric. This is not the official tool for measuring Google TrustRank as Google hasn't made any provision yet, but MozTrust is a good place to start.
MozTrust is a global link trust score, which shows the level of trust your page has on a scale of one to 10 based on the number and quality of trusted sites that link to it. While MozRank measures link popularity, MozTrust measures link trust. Since MozTrust is measured on a logarithmic scale between 0 and 10, it is much easier to improve from a MozTrust of 3 to 4 than it is to improve from 8 to 9, for example.
To improve your site ranking, improve trust.
HOW TO MAXIMIZE YOUR SITE'S TRUST
Below are the elements you can work on to improve your site's TrustRank. These elements are some of the factors that affect your TrustRank.
Quality of backlinks: If you have strong, high-quality links coming from authority sites to your site, Google sees them as trusted third-party votes giving your site "thumps-up." But if those links are coming from cheapjack, low-grade sites, Google thinks you're sleazy, too. Links from industry A-list blogs, .edu sites, gov sites, etc. are often considered respectable.
A number of backlinks: The more quality sites that link to you, the more Google thinks "Wow, this guy is popular. So many other sites know him. He's gotta be a trusted resource to get this much love."
PageRank of the websites that link to you: Of course, this still hangs on the quality sites over low-rate sites paradigm. If you're going to get links from other sites, check their PageRank first as Google TrustRank is directly dependent on PageRank.
TrustRank of sites linking to you: Also check their TrustRank as links from pitifully low-trusted websites can debase your site's TrustRank.
Linking out: Equally, you have to link out to authority sites, especially .edu and .gov sites. This places significant weight on your trust.
Be consistent: Google likes to see some consistency. Don't post today, go away for four months, come back to post another blog post, and expect Google to rank you number 1. Keep publishing new posts and updating old ones regularly. You can use this Keyword Rank Checker Tool to check your website's keyword position in SERP.
Controversial topics: Topics such as pornography or gambling are only going to hurt your TrustRank and get frowned at by the search engine. You'd want to as much as possible avoid bad topics like these.
Domain age: This does not only refer to how old your domain name is but also how many more years it'll live. So if your domain name has been registered for the next, say, 2 plus years, then that tells Google that you are going to stick around for a while compared to someone who registered theirs for 1 year. It's a way of showing Google that you are committed to what you have created.
Make your Whois public: This is about being transparent because if you're trustworthy, you have nothing to hide. Use Whois privacy only if you have to stop spammers.
Blockings: If a site gets blocked by a lot of users, you'd think that the site is just bad, right? To avoid your site getting blocked on users' browsers. Google goes as far as considering how many Chrome users block your site.
Length of your domain: If you thought you could use "WWW.BUY-THE-BEST-BACON-FLAVORED-FLOSS-HERE.COM" to rank number 1 maybe you should think again. Google even stated that part of the way to offer a great user experience is to make your URL short and memorable.
Brand signals: If you get a lot of mention on external sites, the search engines will automatically think that you are well known and therefore trusted.
Spam on your site or sites that link to you: If your site has trust issues already like spammy content, it's an automatic low TrustRank for you. Google bots are also able to trace links from spammy sites that link to your site.
Security certificates: If your site still uses HTTP, then you're screwed. Google already started flagging non-HTTPS sites as "NOT SECURE" in October 2017. And that means losing traffic. But not just that, Google does not trust non-HTTPS sites.
The unique IP address/dedicated server: If your website is hosted on a public IP address that is also used by thousands of other websites, there's the chance of some of the sites on the IP being involved in shady online affairs. Shared IP or shared hosting like this can harm your site's reputation. That's why dedicated/unique IP and hosting are the best option for SEO. Even if you don't have enough money to pay for dedicated service, try going with a web host that is at least trustworthy or has fewer websites per server.
Contact details including a physical address: This is especially important if you sell stuff on your website or by any means ask users to enter their credit card information. Displaying your contact details and physical address tells both search engines and users that you're not some robot behind the computer but actually human.
About Us page: Just as a physical address, the About Us page tells Google that you are committed to what you are doing. But remember to make your About Us page thorough and you can even add headshots of your team.
Sitemaps: Provide sitemaps to give the search bots access to all the pages you want to be indexed on your site.
If you've ever wondered what one thing you can do to ramp up your rankings, it's maxing your site TrustRank. You see, content and all that technical SEO staff are great. But without TrustRank on your side, the only competitors you'll be beating in the SERPs are those whose trust is pathetically lower than yours.
And since TrustRank is really about Google’s way of combating web spam, if your TrustRank is low and you make a mistake, your site immediately plummet away from the first page. But if your TrustRank is healthy, you are pretty much bulletproof in times of penalties.
Use the details we've shared above to put your site steps ahead of the competition. And remember there's no gain in consuming information without actually implementing it. For more SEO strategies and tactics, see our blog. For the best tools that can completely send your SEO strategy through the roof, access our premium SEO tools for free.