How Google Decides Which Websites are Trustworthy

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Ronn Torossian, CEO, 5WPR

Any time a company tries to improve its business website – whether that means sharing brand new content or optimizing for SEO – it’s working under the assumption that Google actually trusts that website. It’s something that most companies take for granted, thinking that as long as a business is using the white hat SEO techniques and following all the rules that Google has set, there shouldn’t be any issues. However, there are several different factors that come into play when the search engine assesses whether a website is trustworthy. 

One of the main deciding factors on whether a website is trustworthy according to Google is security. Living in an era when security leaks are practically occurring every week, websites have to be more secure than ever before to be considered trustworthy by Google. However, security isn’t the only factor when a decision is being made, because there’s also the element of quality. 

Google has a PR problem, and it’s standing right outside the corporate offices waving signs and wearing Google ID badges. The optics of thousands of Google employees worldwide stepping out to protest for any reason will generate challenging headlines. The fact that what these employees are protesting connects directly to a prevailing cultural trend guarantees widespread media attention. As marketer Miami based Marc Roberts notes, “Although a company’s business website doesn’t have to be the biggest industry authority, the company still has to take the right steps toward making the website content the best it can be. That means making content that’s valuable, accurate, and trustworthy. Since Google considers trust to be a long-term venture, companies should work towards building trust one day at a time.” 

Although there isn’t any written documentation of this, over the years, SEO professionals have figured out a few important factors involved in  whether Google considers a website trustworthy or not. However, those factors are important when ranking a website on other search engines as well, not just Google. 

Main Pages

When Google is indexing, and ranking a website, the search engine takes everything into account. That means that it’s able to analyze every single webpage on a website, as well as its quality. That’s why the most trustworthy websites have the four main pages that Google refers to when deciding on whether a website is trustworthy. Those pages are the About page of a business, the Contact page, the Privacy Policy, and the Terms of Service page. 

Those pages should be a staple for every single website, and most businesses already have them. While they might not be getting the majority of traffic from users, they’re vital when ranking a website on search engine results pages. 

Activity

Another essential factor for website rankings is the amount of website activity, including how often a website is updated. There are plenty of websites online that are filled with spam that is simply used so people can generate some easy backlinks for other websites.  Some spam sites are even completely abandoned. Having an active and frequently updated website means that the website is high-quality, and Google trusts those websites a lot more than  others.


Ronn Torossian - How PR Firms Can Lead by Example with Diversity and InclusionAbout the Author: Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, a leading PR agency.