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Google, and other search engines such as Yahoo, place a lot of importance on domain trustworthiness when ranking websites in their search engine results. So, what is domain trust and how do you improve it? In this blog article we explore what you can do to influence your domain trust.
Domain trust is a metric calculated by Google to calculate how trustworthy a website (through its URL) is. A reputable website (such as bbc.co.uk or cnn.com) is considered much more trustworthy than yourmumsblog.com. Search engines, such as Google, then list the more trustworthy websites higher in search engine rankings compared to low trustworthy websites.
There are several factors that influence domain trust:
1. The characteristics of the domain: the older the domain is (how long it has been registered), the more trust the search engines might give to it. The rationale here is that websites that have been around longer and more likely to be reputable than ones set up quickly and don’t stay around long (as these are often used for spamming). If you are a start up, increasing your domain age can only come with time. So, one way is to purchase an existing domain e.g. through domain auction websites. However, this might not always give benefit, especially if content on a transferred domain differs considerably from the original.
Another signal on your domain that might influence trustworthiness is factors such as when the domain is registered to. In other words, if you have a domain that has paid up front for 10 years, versus paying for just one year, it might be interpreted by search engines as being more reputable as it indicates you are more likely to be around longer. Additionally, Google is a domain registrar who has access to domain registration information. So, if a person/company who has less trustworthy domain names registers a new domain name, they might consider this new domain name less trustworthy than say if Apple registered the name.
2. Sites that link to your website: the more reputable sites that link to your website, the more trust your website should have. This may be in the form of sites that have been established for a long time, have a high volume of traffic or receive many social book marks (e.g. in Google Plus One). In addition, having sites from domains where content is less likely to be spam, e.g. from .gov.au or .edu.au websites can greatly increase your domain trustworthiness.
3. Diversity in your links: if you have many links using the same anchor text pointing to your home page, that is likely to be interpreted by search engines as less natural and less trustworthy than a website that has a diversity of anchor texts pointing to many different pages (not just your home page) on your website.
4. Links to reputable sites: Google most likely considers that a website which links to non reputable sites (e.g. sites selling Viagra) a less trustworthy site. So, make sure links from your website are to reputable sites.
In summary, having a trustworthy domain in the eyes of search engines can greatly increase your search engine rankings.
Written by Matt Cooper