The Best SEO Tip – Search Engine Optimization is All About Trust

This is the most timeless piece of advice that you’ll ever need in the world of SEO. You don’t really need to know how search engine algorithms work, since they constantly change. You also don’t have to seek for the perfect link landscape and super advanced techniques to use for your campaign, knowing that everything is temporary in this line of industry.

But there is one thing that never expires in SEO, and that is trust. With trust, everything is within reach, and that certainly includes top rankings and surge in specifically targeted traffic. To begin with, this is just a recap of the principle I’m enforcing in most of my previous SEO strategies and campaigns.

I’ve done several guest posts recently, which mainly emphasized this principle – Trust building – without me noticing it. And you may want to check them out here:

The New Age of Link Building – How to Build Trust

How to Rank #1 For Highly Competitive Keywords on Google SERPs

10 Risk-free Link Building Methods

In-depth Recap

The Mindset: You don’t want links, you want trust!

You can never convince search engines through the amount of external links you have pointing to your site to make them believe that you are the real deal. What really matters is the trust they see through the relationship of the linking page and the destination page.

Many are saying, why bother building links the hard way when you can automate it, seeing as it works for many other sites. But do you think their high rankings would last, when search engines get much smarter in detecting those cheap shot techniques? Search engines constantly upgrade, and soon enough they’ll be able to track these low class links that might put your business at risk.

How to know if you are aiming for trust?

There are risks in link building and a lot of high quality sites are getting penalized as well when Google starts to suspect them. And believe me; no matter how trustworthy your site looks like to people, it’s not enough! Just think of how hard it is to earn someone’s trust, right? Double that on Google’s case, since they had slapped me too many times before getting to this philosophy.

I’ve been doing the trade long enough, and I’ve been optimistic, futuristic as well as traditional with most of my campaigns, but the concept of trust was always present. Let’s get back to the question – how would you know if your link building campaign is aiming for trust? Simple, get links from high quality sites (that’s pretty basic, sheesh, sorry for the exaggeration).

What highly reputable, authoritative and quality sites look like?

  • Topically relevant to your site
  • Have high Pagerank (at least PR 3)
  • Alexa ranking of at least 200,000
  • Have high keyword rankings on SERPs
  • Good web design, site structure and active community
  • Allow dofollow attributed links, if possible.

Benefits of Trust Building

  • With trust, search engines are more to reward you with higher rankings, knowing that you’re offering valuable information with other quality sites vouching for your page.
  • It’s much easier to have other sites link to yours if your site is trustworthy, authoritative and reputable.
  • It’s easier to sell when both real people and search engines trust you, which means more profits.
  • In trust building, you’re not just boosting your keyword rankings, but you’re also improving your business’ reputation, visibility, pagerank, community engagement, relationships, readership, revenue and potentials for growth.

Trust Factors:

  • Age of site and backlinks
  • Amount of quality external links from highly trusted sites (standards as mentioned above)
  • Anchor text variations of links pointing to your site
  • Link positioning from linking pages (the best ones are those that are included on the body copy of the page, or what we simply call “special mentions” or “awesome recommendation from a real satisfied users/readers”)
  • Thematic link building or link relevancy (connecting sites have similar theme)
  • Frequency of links built throughout the campaign (making it look natural and not automated). 25 high quality backlinks per week are enough to boost your keyword rankings, so don’t haste on it. Nevertheless, there are cases in which your contents may get out there in the open and get hundreds of people linking to it in a day (link bait materials), but those are natural links, so it just proves that there’s no perfect or rather preferred link building frequency as long as links built are natural and ethical.
  • Balance of link attributes such as dofollow and nofollow pointing to your site. There’s no required amount for both and having both on your campaign doesn’t really matter, as long as you are getting your links from authority sites! Just remember that these 2 have their own unique advantages; dofollow passes through Pagerank and nofollow is capable of passing trust, and both can serve as a vote for your keyword rankings (though dofollow links have higher value).
  • Methods used in getting outbound links. Content-based and non-paid links are the efficient ones, because they provide real value to people through information (and search engines give a high score for those types of links).

There are no systematic link building patterns, frequency and landscape (nofollow, dofollow, amount and methods) in SEO. It will always differ depending on your site’s competitors and industry, given that there are some niches that have inadequate source of possible link opportunities. The important thing is to focus with quality, always, it’s the new king!

On-page trust optimization through user experience

Make it believable to everyone (not just to search engines) that your site is truly deserving of the position. Make your pages absolutely relevant to the search terms you are aiming at. SEO is a 2 way street, wherein 50% comes from the on-page part of the campaign (relevance to the targeted keyword) and 50% from the off-page optimization side (popularity of the optimized page).

Always keep in mind that you need to give value or better yet, something that that your visitors don’t expect to gain from it in order to earn the trust of those who are landing on your site. Education is the best way to earn their trust, offer something they don’t know to really fulfill the experience.

Improve your Pagerank to earn Trust

This one’s pretty basic. The best way to build your site’s PR or importance as seen by search engines is through dofollow link building, a well-staged internal linking structure and deep linking to enhance the flow of pagerank juice on your site’s pages.

Advantages of having a high Pagerank:

  • Crawlers will be visiting your site frequently (higher crawl rates), which allow your new pages to get indexed faster.
  • Helps in getting higher rankings for your targeted keywords.
  • Higher chances of getting links from other sites, since it’s obvious that your site is of high quality.
  • You’ll definitely massive attention from bloggers, webmasters, SEOs, etc., given that your site is seen as important by search engines. This opens a lot of opportunities for your business through partnerships and/or business expansions.

10 Risk-free Trust Building Methods – Content-driven links are the most effective ones

  • Link baiting
  • Guest blogging
  • Article submission/marketing
  • Web 2.0 contents
  • Build/buy quality sites
  • Sponsorships
  • Contests
  • Social media profiles
  • Widget bait
  • Resource link request

How about community engagement through Blog Comments?

Blog commenting is a very powerful link building technique, since it’s the easiest way to sculpt your site’s Pagerank. Though, the risk from this artificial method in getting links to your site is very high as well. To give you a much clearer view on how to really utilize blog comments on your SEO campaign, you first need to know where it’s really best to be used.

Blog comments’ purposes in your campaign should only be:

  • To build relationships with other related site/blog owners.
  • To pass through Pagerank juice from dofollow blogs with high PR.
  • To have your pages indexed by search engines.
  • Do not use this technique in hopes of getting your keywords rank higher on SERPs. Use your name or your brand as anchor texts in leaving comments, to avoid from being flagged as spam. However, whenever there’s an opportunity to use your keywords as anchor text, then do so (through KeywordLuv and Commentluv enabled blogs), but don’t overdo it!
  • In getting your brand recognized in the community as an expert.
  • To neutralize the balance of your dofollow and nofollow external links. If you’ll try to get nofollow links, it’s best to get links from 100% relevant pages with PR 4 and above (your targeted keyword should be mentioned in the title page and body as much as possible to get better scores from it).

Personally, I gained a lot from this method since I’ve built good relationships along the process, which allowed me to grow professionally. Here are some of those that I really trust when it comes to this business, and I am sure that you’ll also learn a lot from them:

Gail of Growmap

Udegbunam of Strictlyonlinebiz

Gary of Lawmacs

Rob of Robsellen

Lynn of Clicknewz

Kristi of Kikolani

Stephen of Thebloggingacademy

Alan of Replaceyoursalary

Andrew of Webuildyourblog

Alex of Blogussion

Ari of Ariwriter

By the way, they are all dofollow blogs, but don’t spam them, LOL.

Bonus Tricks

Ebook bait

This one is very effective especially in getting links from your competitors without them knowing it. Is it black? I think not, since you own the PDF file and you’ve just allowed people to download it and put it on their website. Ok, so how does this works?

First is to make an extremely informative/useful Ebook (price lists for physical products are usually the easiest to have as bait), then submit it to several PDF directories. You can also post it on your own site/blog, though your competitors will be certain to think that you have links to your site in it, so I suggest doing the first one instead.

On your PDF, include links pointing to your site (you may use keywords as anchor texts here), and then hide them. You can just hide them by just removing the underline and changing the text color into black when making the content. Once you publish it into a PDF and have submitted it to PDF directories, crawlers will be able to fetch those hidden links through the source code, well that will also work on the sites who’ll be unfortunate to download your PDF (your competitors, most probably).

Do you think it’s black? You decide. But as for me, by only submitting it to PDF directories, it’s clear that the intent was to build trust through information to those who’ll be able to read it (hypocrite!).

Dead-link bait

Warning: this task is time consuming.

Step 1: Pick an authority blog on your niche.

Step 2: Scan their pages for dead links (links on their blog posts/pages directing to dead pages)

Step 3: Create some content on your blog/site that’s very relevant to the dead link.

Step 4: Email the site owner/manager of the authority blog/site to notify him/her about the dead link

Step 5: Wait for the response before suggesting your newly created page as an alternative for the dead link.

Well, as you can see, you have first tried to earn the site owner’s trust by letting him know that something is wrong on his site. The crucial part is getting that link replacement, so you still need to be patient on this one.

Link Magnetism

An advanced search marketing concept in which you emotionally reward or give incentive to the linker. Trust, image and personality play a huge part on this tactic. Strategic preparations are also needed to be able to attract people to this new length of bait.

You can read more about this strategy here – How to become a link magnet.

Hint: That’s a form of trust building as you can see. I’m directing you to a highly informative and trusted content.

Author Bio PR Sculpting

Include other external pages/posts (interview, review, special mention, contributor, sponsor, etc…) wherein your brand or name has been mentioned when making your author bio for guest blog posting and/or article marketing. This is exceptionally advantageous in improving your site’s Pagerank – as explained by Rand Fishkin of – particularly if the external pages you’ll include are from authority sites that can gain its own page rank.

Of course, when these pages where you were mentioned are getting the link juice from your guest posts, it will in turn pass the pagerank juice to your own site (given that you have a link to your site from those mentions).

Advantage: You’re already showing how other people trust you through special mentions, and of course it adds up the trust level that your new readers/customers will see in you.

Learn More

If you want to learn more about Search Engine Optimization, we’ll be having a free 28-lesson basic SEO course at that starts this December 1, 2010. Enrollment is free and real-time consultation is provided in the SEO Hacker Forums.

Call to Action?

When there’s quality, there is trust. If you are in need of a solid trust building campaign, I’ve got two words for you… Hire me.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is the Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive - a digital marketing agency based in the Philippines. He's also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre.

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19 replies
  1. Derek@SEO in California
    Derek@SEO in California says:

    What a great list. I especially like the section about commenting. Too many people see it as an opportunity to just get a link back, instead of reading the post and maybe even gaining some insightful information on it. Part of the reason to leave the comments on in a blog is the community and the interaction. I think that’s key.

    Keep up the great work.

  2. Kent
    Kent says:

    As I always tell my customer, internet is about human relationship, it is not about machine. Link building is the best way to build relationship online, e.g guest blogging. I love to do link building because I know while I am doing link building, I am actually building online relationship.

    Thanks friend, nice article! 🙂

  3. Thomas Jackson
    Thomas Jackson says:

    Thanks Jason for a highly informative and detailed read. I wonder how many of us forget about building trust, when we strive hard to build backlinks. Majority of people get on the very aggressive link building campaigns but never think about building trust along the way. Your post is very useful for such people.

  4. Steve
    Steve says:

    There are a lot of changes with search engine techniques since the panda update. However, these tips are still applicable. Guest blogging is really effective when it comes to generating site traffic. It will definitely give you a boost with your rankings and more exposure to blogosphere as well.

  5. Ella Harris
    Ella Harris says:

    Great information, Search Engine Optimization is a good technique in getting a lot of traffic of your site but then trust is very important as an SEO. You made a great information here and I really appreciate it!

  6. Rico
    Rico says:

    I much prefer the trust view of it as opposed to the hat distinctions. You are either gaining popularity in a trustworthy way or you’re doing it in a shady way.

  7. Jacob
    Jacob says:

    Would you mind writing up a post on dead link bait? It sounds great, but I’m not completely sure I understand the concept.

    Thanks Jason 🙂

  8. Val Adams@Charlotte computer repair
    Val Adams@Charlotte computer repair says:

    Definitely the best SEO tip. The old school link building or SEO didn’t give much attention to trust. Gaining trust is definitely the best way for link building.

    Regarding the “10 Risk-free Trust Building Methods”, it’s better if you have placed an link to those. Even so, this post is really helpful. I learned a lot from this one. Thanks

  9. David Etherington - Adsengine
    David Etherington - Adsengine says:

    I had one site that got a real kicking from panda, my own fault and a lesson learned although I have done nothing with it since its creeping back up again and generating a couple of leads a week. I’m still seeing so called experts taking risks one I noted this morning has a HUGE and I mean HUGE amount of inbound links and a great SERP for a very competitive key phrase. However the quality sucked im sure this site, a UK SEO company will be kicked by a future update as will most of their clients. Are we going se see lawsuits from site owners who’s SEO companies have gone for the easy option. Anyone can build links, I could very easily go out and post a thousand “thanks for the info” blog posts. It might provide a quick win but long term its Google suicide its not a matter of will my site get a kicking but when.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] et cetera – Gary, by very nature, is practicing the most valuable SEO lesson that there is: SEO is all about trust. Kaiser The Sage explains it perfectly on his […]

  2. […] trust! I’ve written several posts regarding this principle in the past. You can check them out here, here and here.  Build trust, not […]

  3. […] sought for my advice that the most efficient way to get your site known over the web is through trust. And getting natural editorial links can simply emphasize trust between the relationship of the […]

  4. […] have been stressing this for the past few months – search engine optimization is all about trust! And it seems that search engines already trust what my domain continuously excretes, seeing as […]

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