What Are SEO Trust Signals?
Trust signals are anything that can be deemed by Google to make them believe that your site is a real authority. They have mentioned Trust Rank in patents. While Google hasn’t specifically mentioned these factors here are some that may be trust signals.
Potential Google Trust Signals
Domain age is a ranking factor as we mention later some domains will rank (in low competition searches) purely due to their age, even though their backlink profile is not great. This isn’t to say that they can’t be outranked by newer sites.
Backlinks from sites such as news sites, government sites and sites with high alexa ranking. As it is harder to gain backlinks from sites like this. Also linking out to these type of sites has previously been shown to correlate with higher google rankings.
Real Whois Information
Hiding whois information might indicate that they don’t want the website linked to them due to the activities on the website. As well this including a contact page with a physical address may help.
Is your website using a SSL Certificate? This is mentioned in previous lessons.
Google Safety Report
This tool detects if there is any ‘unsafe’ content on the site.
Good IP Neighborhood (Premium or Unique IP Hosting)
You don’t want to be grouped together with bad neighborhood websites. Like Matt Diggity has spoken about deindexing is more likely in bad neighbourhoods, so it may be safe to assume that this would be a trust signal.
Bounce Rate and CTR
If you have a high CTR (which is a ranking factor) and a low bounce rate this may indicate that people are looking for your business in the SERPs.
Brand Name Searches
This indicates that you have a following of your brand or business.
Social Following and Signals
If a website has a strong social following on social media platforms like facebook, twitter and instagram and a good amount of social signals coming from these websites it is likely to be seen as a trust signal. Also you will often gain referral traffic when used properly.
I think that social signals that actually drive real traffic will have an effect on rankings due to this increase in traffic as long as they’re not bouncing off the page straight away. Where as social signals by fake accounts with next to no real followers will have very little impact.
If you are getting 100 facebook shares for example but only getting 20 referral traffic from these I think it won’t seem genuine at all. Again not something that I’ve tested much but after the Manchester SEO mastermind most people agreed that blindly sending social signals didn’t seem to have any impact whereas shares by authority twitters for example, which drove real traffic increased rankings.
I think I for the most part the use social signals should be used before a backlink building campaign, but again it is better if you use signals which are giving you referral traffic as this then will look more natural. If you have 1,000 people visit your site you might gain backlinks from some of these people. Also with a new website it may be a trust signal which allows you to get out of the sandbox sooner. Social signals for the most part are very cheap and there doesn’t seem to be any harm in doing them while there may be a small positive gain.
That is the end of the additional SEO factors chapter, we are now moving onto chapter 6 where we will cover intermediate and advanced on-page strategies, starting out with on-page SEO auditing.
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