With the days of meta tag stuffing, hidden text and all the wonders of “SEO” in the 90s and early 2000s well and truly behind us, search engines are investing billions of dollars into top secret algorithms to keep the search results for any given query spam free and relevant. One of those algorithms is Google’s TrustRank, a way of assigning authority to a website or domain. Aaron Wall has a nice brief rundown on TrustRank you can read to get you started. Based on that article and white paper, I am going to outline the five easiest ways you can increase your TrustRank, authority and hopefully general online visibility.
1) Get an SSL cert.
You might not need one but having an SSL cert for ALL forms on your site shows search engines that you are serious about security and reassures your users that the information they are providing is being sent over a secure channel. If you were a web spammer would you care about any security or privacy of your website visitors?
2) Register your domain for ten years.
At a cost of about $10 a year, registering your domain for ten years shows search engines that you are serious about your business and domain. Spammers are renowned for registering cheap .info domains to do whatever nasty business they are planning and then letting them drop when they are caught. If you were spamming would you shell out your money to register your domain for ten years if you knew what you were doing would probably get you banned from the search engines?
3) Get a dedicated IP address.
If you cannot get a dedicated IP, make sure you are not sharing your IP with any “less than desirable” websites. This is a widely debated topic but the general consensus among SEOs is that a static IP address is better. There are a few technical reasons for this and Barry sums it up pretty nicely here. Getting a dedicated IP address can be as simple an affair as calling up your hosting company and asking or at most paying a few extra Euros a month for the privilege and peace of mind.
4) Get listed in the top authority directories.
Quality paid and free directories show search engines you are willing to shell out sometimes big bucks to promote your business and market it online. Adding your site to the Yahoo Directory and Business.com are costly annual fees for the average webmaster but the authority gained by both listings can make a huge difference. Likewise, a DMOZ listing shows search engines that a human manually reviewed your site and deemed it to be worthy of classification among the best in it’s category (It’s debatable how much of a “review” a paid submission to Yahoo or Business.com gets you).
5) Use factual information for your Whois data.
It should be noted that after implementing all over the above there has been a noticeable increase in search engine rankings, quality score and overall online visibility for not only our own sites but our client sites also.
While there is no real way to test exactly what effect each has on how search engines perceive your site, they are common sense, real world methods to get that extra authority for your domain with very little effort. Many people have reported that using the above methods can dramatically improve SEO efforts and along with a general “site cleanup” get search engine penalties lifted. Try them for yourself, you have absolutely nothing to lose (except for a few extra Euros a year).
What other methods have worked well for you? What other methods are within the dedicated webmaster/business owner control?