Archives for November 2006

In Link We Trust

Trust: Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something b: one in which confidence is placed.

There are a handful of major factors that the search engines look at when deciding which sites to include in their results. One of the biggest factors in the website vs. search engine relationship in the trust factor. Yes trust.

Google is under no obligation to include any website in its search process. They are even more cautious about the sites that get listed near the top of the results. They want to deliver sites that are relevant to the person that plugged the search phrase into their browser.

How can Google tell if you are trustworthy? They use the very same method that creditors or the police use – your permanent record. The search engines have a profile of your sites history. How old it is, where your hosts server resides, who owns it, the amount and type of content, and the percentage of your site’s links that are reciprocated. They know how many countries are linking to your site. They even know if you have 10 domains all pointing to the same content.

Most importantly they know your link history. The search engines know how to count your links. They do it all day, every day. What they have perfected is determining which of the links they have already counted can be trusted. If your site only has inbound links from .biz domains or free directories, that’s not a very trustworthy link profile. It would be preferable to have just a handful links from relevant sites and some select sources like major directories, useful content releases, a few .edu and .org sites, and other countries. Why? That’s a much more trustworthy link profile. If your site is linked to by a variety of different sites that have a high trust factor, your trust profile will go up, and so will your results.

Some things to consider when linking:

Don’t ever link to sites that include and/or link to content that is questionable. This includes gambling, media piratacy, adult content, or sites that are pure link farms.

Don’t include your site in link pools, link co-ops, or link free for all.

Don’t use any automated link marketing software.

Don’t Link all of your sites together.

Don’t bulk purchase links.

Never purchase links for, or sell links from your site just for the sake of link value. This does not include “pay for inclusion” directories like Yahoo or advertising that naturally links back to your site.

You need to protect your link history as cautiously as your credit information. Just like identity theft can be devastating to your FICO score, a poor website identity profile can kill your SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages.) Ultimately, you are responsible for every action on your sites behalf.