SEO for Google Part III: Google TrustRank
There is no official definition from Google yet about their Google TrustRank (nor is there ever likely to be one), but they did just register the trademark for the name “TrustRank”. They might be introducing it to the public in the near future, and perhaps the introduction of the Sandbox is just an extension of the TrustRank implementation.
With this new system, Google will only give high search engine positions to those websites who are deemed trustworthy and legitimate. The system will also seek to eliminate any websites using blackhat or spamming techniques to get a higher search rank.
So, what could affect your website’s TrustRank score? Getting a high TrustRank should generate more hits to your site so this is something you should start working on, if there are aspects of your website that can be altered to hit a higher TrustRank score.
First thing to consider is your domain age. Websites now are currently getting filtered through the Sandbox Effect, so it seems that the older the website is, or its domain name, the more trust is placed in it by search engines. The Sandbox effect is a theory formulated by some people who observe the ranking of websites by Google. The theory claims that Google reduces the PageRank of certain domains, and placing them in a “sandbox”, to prevent websites using blackhat or spam techniques from obtaining high SERP placements. There is also a so-called “reverse sandbox effect”, wherein new pages with really good and reliable content but lacking backlinks are increased in rank.
Another thing to consider is the length of your domain registration. It is advisable to register your domain for a longer period of time because this may show that you plan to be in business for awhile or you plan to keep the website running for as long as possible. Registering your domain for 10 years is actually cheaper than registering it for 2 years, so if you plan to be in business for at least 10 years, go ahead and register your domain. (You can go to GoDaddy.com and a 10-year domain name registration is only $70.00.) You should also regularly update your website’s content. By doing this, you let Google know that your website is active and give up-to-date information and encourage it to crawl your site more frequently.
A backlink campaign is also a good idea to implement since the whole concept of the World Wide Web is for websites to interlink with each other. Just make sure that you integrate “good links”, which are one-way links from other websites that have similar content or themes to your website and most of the time these links are inside a body of text, just like in a forum or blog, or another company’s website referencing your website as a resource.
Reciprocal links or backlinks from off-topic websites, like advertising or by using Blackhat optimization techniques and spamming will not do any good though. Blackhat is a term used to describe SEO techniques that purposefully use underhanded tactics to trick the search engines in giving them good rankings. Blackhat techniques include keyword stuffing, using hidden texts and links, link farming and Spamdexing.
It is also best to get a unique IP address for your website as this might show that you have a real business and very serious with your website’s security and that you make sure that your IP address is not shared by bad websites or is possible to mask. Also, if you have a dozen sites all linked to the same IP it makes Google suspicious of the seriousness of your business venture.
Including a sitemap, which helps your site be accessible to search engine crawlers and spiders, is also known to increase your website’s TrustRank. It also helps visitors find what they are looking for. It may also build trust since you are considerate enough to help the viewer find what they are looking for. Including this in your website make your site very user-friendly as well, as it gives some sort of table of content to your visitors, and will make it easier for them to navigate around your website or go directly to the page where they need to go.
Your website also has to have a reliable uptime, meaning having a reliable web server that is up 99% of the time. It is said that being unable to connect to your website or having broken links may lead to lowering your site’s TrustRank. Again, do not use any kind of Blackhat technique and spamming that could lower your TrustRank and worse yet get you your first taste of a Google penalty. Using doorway pages, cloaking, duplicating content and pointing multiple domain names to the same landing page, keyword stuffing and other Blackhat techniques will jeopardize your Google ranks.
Cloaking is a tricky method used by web developers to display different types of content that is based on what the user searches for. Regular visitors of these websites who use cloaking will see different “pages” and it will depend on what they are looking for. Duplicating content in this context doesn’t refer to duplicate across the web, but rather using the same content on multiple pages on your site with just a different page title for example. Doorway pages are individual landing pages of the same website that are search engine optimized for one specific keyword or stuffed full of a whole laundry list of keywords. Keyword stuffing is over-using your targeted keywords or key phrases on your website. This tactic is usually employed in doorway pages. Make sure that your domain names do not contain too many keywords. Google will recognize this as keyword stuffing.
These are a few of the many ways that Google observers believe may increase your Google TrustRank. And although the TrustRank system may or may not have been implemented, and may be just hearsay, these suggestions are proven by observers to increase your website’s reliability and search engine rank, not only with Google but with other search engines as well. There is no harm in using these techniques and some of these may actually help your visitors navigate your website with more ease and comfort. Making your website user-friendly and reliable will surely increase anybody’s trust in your website. So, give these suggestions a shot, it might not just increase your TrustRank, but your visitors’ trust as well.