Relevance, Authority, and Trust – the Three Essentials of SEO
If you would like to use the power of Search Engine Optimisation to your advantage, you need to understand the importance of relevance, authority, and trust. These three aspects of SEO are essential and without one or all of them, your SEO work is unlikely to be as fruitful as you’d hoped.
The good news is you don’t have to be a digital marketing wizard to understand the three essentials of SEO. So, let’s take a closer look at the importance of relevance, authority, and trust.
Relevance is an essential component of SEO. Specifically, the relevance of links to your website from other sources is essential.
For example, let’s imagine you sell kitchens and want your website to appear at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) for keywords relevant to your industry. If all the backlinks to your website are from gardening-related websites, however, you will find it difficult to rank well for your targeted keywords.
Instead, let’s say you have a backlink from a well-known national kitchen magazine. As this link is relevant to your business, it is more likely it will help move your website up the rankings for your targeted keywords.
Now let’s imagine that a high-quality and very popular music-related website creates a link to your site. While Google will like the fact it is a high-quality and popular website, it is unlikely to treat the link as a relevant link. So, the link may help improve your website marginally, but it is unlikely to be a significant help.
In other words, the more relevant links coming into your website, the better your website’s ranking is likely to be.
When we use a search engine, we connect with sources to get answers to our questions and queries. These questions and queries can relate to anything from local restaurants to the products our competitors sell. Google doesn’t just want us to connect with any source, however. Instead, it wants us to connect with authoritative sources.
Search engines use algorithms to achieve this. These algorithms hunt for and retrieve the content of web pages. Google then matches web pages with search queries. In plain English, this means the search engine looks for the most relevant and authoritative sources it can find before displaying them to you – and your customers.
When you input a keyword to Google, there could be thousands if not millions of web pages that are relevant. Therefore, it assesses website authority on a massive scale.
Google uses many different signals to evaluate a web page’s authority, among other things. These signals, known as ranking signals, fall into two main categories: content and links. When it comes to authority, links are all important.
Google treats links as a vote of confidence in your website. After all, it does not use human analysis of the pages on your website to evaluate how good they are. Instead, it needs methods for doing this algorithmically, i.e. automatically and without the need for human intervention.
It does this with links. Specifically, it does this by looking at the quality and quantity of your links:
- Quality – whether the source linking to your website is authoritative. The more authoritative, the better. In other words, if a website that Google knows about and trusts links to your website, Google treats this as an indication that your website is likely to be authoritative too.
- Quantity – this is a simple equation: websites with a higher number of authoritative links usually rank higher than their competitors.
One other factor Google looks at in relation to links and authority is time, i.e. recent links from authoritative sources are more valuable than older links.
- PA – a metric that helps predict how well pages will rank for relevant search queries. Normally, the higher the page authority, the better the ranking.
- DA – a metric that uses the size, age, and popularity of domains to determine its ranking. As such, every page on your domain will have the same ranking.
Google’s official position is that it doesn’t use a “trust” metric as a ranking signal. This could be because Yahoo owns a patent on a metric called TrustRank.
We do, however, know that Google does not like things such as:
- Link farms
- Buying and selling links
- Website pages that deceive visitors
- Website pages that contain viruses or other malicious software
- Websites and web pages that contain thin content
How is this relevant to your website if you are not engaged in any of the above? This comes back to the topic of links again.
In other words, do you have links to your website from sites involved in any of the above? If you do, those links might damage your ranking in search results pages for your targeted keywords.
To understand this, think of it from the perspective of Google and other search engines. For them, trustworthy websites link to trustworthy websites while the opposite is true for untrustworthy websites.
You can’t control who links to you, though, right? Unfortunately, it is not quite as simple as that. Google spends a lot of time and money combating spam, i.e. low-quality, fraudulent, and malicious content on the internet. However, it also regards tactics that try to trick its search algorithm as spam.
This means previous efforts to search engine optimise your website will have to be reversed by taking steps to deal with low-quality, untrustworthy backlinks.
Even if you don’t have this problem, it is good to understand the importance of trust to SEO.
Where Do You Go from Here?
The common thread through each of the three essential elements of SEO was links. In other words, you need links to your website that are:
- Relevant to the content on your website
- From authoritative sources
- From trustworthy sources
How do you achieve this, though? Well, that is the challenge of SEO – a challenge a good SEO agency in Auckland will be able to deal with. However, here is a short summary of what you need to do:
- Ensure the products or services you offer are as good as possible
- Make the content on your website top quality
- Engage in brand building and PR exercises both online and offline
- Build and engage with your audience on social media
- Network and build relationships with other companies and individuals connected to your industry
All the above will generate backlinks to your website that have relevance, authority, and trust. It takes time and effort, plus the process is ongoing, but you will get the reward of higher search engine rankings for your targeted keywords over the long-term.