Why Should A Search Engine Trust You?

@infohome (1222)
India
March 29, 2007 8:57am CST
Because search engines are getting thousands of new pages a day - and who knows how many authors - they tend to be skeptical about new content unless it’s from a source that they already trust. Website authors are all screaming, “Hey I’m the best, rank my site number one”. Your job is to convince them that you are a trusted source of reliable information (whatever your information may be). The best way to build a reputation with the search engines is to have some high ranking, reputable sites point to your own site. This sounds easier than it is since large, powerful sites generally don’t give out links to small or new sites. (It does happen occasionally, which can cause another problem altogether. I have seen sites overwhelmed with traffic due to a well-placed link. That's a good problem, though.) Here are some things that I believe you can do to improve your standing in the eyes of the search engines. I have to say this again (and again) - you need to have good quality content and lots of it. I find that, over and over, people come to my sites using keywords that I wouldn’t have predicted. Writing articles, adding a blog or sending a newsletter that is posted on your site are all good ways to increase your site’s content. Try to concentrate on your own unique content. The best thing that you can do is to keep adding new information on a regular basis. Consistency is good as you don't usually want to be seen as chaotic, but I don't believe that is as important as simply adding new content (again) on a regular basis. This is where your visitor logs can be very valuable. Look to see where people are going in your site, where they are coming in and where they are leaving. Add content accordingly. Make sure that the search engines can easily read your navigation. Having text links to all of your pages that say where they are going is the preferred choice. Stay away form JavaScript and Flash menus. If you must use them, include text links to all of your pages as well. A complete site map is also a good idea. Google offers a free sitemap maker which can be found in their “Webmaster Tools” section. Include detailed contact information. People feel much more comfortable dealing with you on any level when they have plenty of information about you that they can trust. Search engines are trying to do what their users want, so they also will lean to sites with verifiable information. This includes contact information. Like it or not, you or your company’s identity can be pretty easy to verify these days. If you’re not willing to provide your contact information, everyone may wonder if you have something to hide. Time. That's a hard one if you’re just starting out. The longer your site has been in existence, the better for you, but unfortunately there's nothing you can do about that except wait. I have also found that it looks good if you renew your domain name for as long as you can (up to 10 years). This shows that you plan to be around for a while. People won't easily see that information, but I believe search engines do consider it. You should include a Privacy Policy on your site. Make sure there’s a link to it from every page and try to keep it as simple as possible. Tell everyone how much information you collect and what you will do (or won't do) with it. Then stick to it. Many people understand that you can change your policy as easily as you can change your page. Sometimes it is necessary to change your policy, but consistency is always your best bet. I feel that these ideas will help you the most to start with. These are simple and straightforward things that will probably always help you no matter how many times the search engines change their algorithms. About The Author... Jim Lillicotch is a website designer and marketing expert based in Pittsburgh, PA. Jim is the owner of Lillicotch.com. He has worked as a Website Designer and SEO for over 10 years. His passion is helping people start or improve their own sites. He can be reached through his website http://lillicotch.com
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