Trust Marketing in SEO – The Green Hat SEO Strategy

by Jason Acidre on February 27, 2011 · 23 comments · Search, Social


Trust marketing is a concept wherein the promotional approach is focused on providing unbiased and trustworthy information to assist targeted consumers in making appropriate dealing decisions. Using this concept to draw a parallel connection with search engine optimization would mainly be comprised of relationship-based and content-driven methods in order to achieve long-standing results.Trust Marketing in SEO

However, employing a trust-based marketing strategy in SEO is a much complex action, given that the campaign has to obtain trust from two separate entities – search engines and online users.

To begin with, this is an actual blueprint of my own SEO strategy and I will give every single detail below on how to build trust through your SEO campaign. But first, why I called it Green-Hat SEO?

  • It pertains to organic/natural linking.
  • It aims for your site to be trustworthy on both on-page and off-page.
  • Lastly, it brings you more money (when people trust you, they’ll buy from you; and when search engines trust you, you get higher search rankings, which means a green light for your traffic).

Key Factors

  • The undisputed king – “Content” – because it’s the primary reason why linking occurs on the web and why people as well as search engines should trust your site.
  • The strongest form of link there is on the web – “voluntary in-content dofollow links”.
  • Internal linking – they are as equally strong as your backlinks.
  • Profile optimization – it can provide your site massive amount of link juice, hard to replicate and can serve as a huge vote for keyword rankings if the page is well optimized.
  • Strategic link search – knowing the right targets or finding solid link opportunities is very crucial in link building.

Goals

  • Produce hardcore, exceptional, compelling, informative and educational contents and know where to promote them effectively to acquire highly relevant links (through information-based link building, which I will explain later on).
  • Network with relevant and influential people in your industry to generate voluntary in-content links from other websites pointing to your site.
  • Obtain trust from search engines to achieve higher search rankings by using highly trusted link building methods and offering a solid landing page to be crawled and indexed.
  • Gain trust from online users for better conversions and more voluntary or natural links.

Scope

  • Brand and online reputation development/management
  • Information-based link building
  • Content strategy
  • Social media engagements and relationship building

Orientation

The ultimate basis of trust for search engines is through the authentic popularity of the site in which other people are willingly linking to it and not through links that you’ve built to manipulate search results.

The Question: How Do You Drive Traffic through Trust

As I’ve mentioned before, when search engines trust your site they are more to place your pages on higher positions for their targeted keywords. We all know that links are the currency of the web, but if links pointing to your site were made by real people as a sincere recommendation, then you’re not just getting the trust of search engines, but real users as well.

It’s also given that there are two main factors for links to really have substance these days:

  • Link placement
  • Link’s relevance

Furthermore, in-content links offers more value in improving search rankings (especially if the links use your keywords as anchor text), and the fact that it also gets more clicks when readers see it from authority and high traffic sites. So how do you build more voluntary in-content links directing to your site?

The Blueprint

Cornerstone Content Creation

Everything in the world has to start from something, and with SEO, it all starts with content! Content is very vital to any SEO campaign because it is where acquisition of links starts (given that the reason why other sites are willing to link to you is because they found value in your site) and it is also where the links ends once they are already built on other websites, wherein if you have provided value, visitors would more likely share your content or purchase from you.

In creating your site’s contents, it’s important that you plan ahead and do an extensive research on topics that will eventually act as your site’s cornerstone content (through blog posts or independent web pages that contain extremely useful information). There are several important elements that should be included on your prized content:

  • Targeting important keywords for your website’s SEO campaign through your content’s topic title, URL and body copy.
  • Focus on educating your readers/traffic/target audience by making it as detailed, timeless and comprehensive as it can be (can be composed of 1,000+ words to make it sticky – for your readers to bookmark it for future reference in other words).
  • Create content that no one else has, if ever you’re in an oversaturated industry, and then make your content somehow unique from the others (can be case studies, personal insights, etc).
  • Unexpected hook – a portion of the content that will surprise your readers or exceed their expectations upon reading your content or the classic “aha” moment.
  • Put a strong call to action in your content’s closing part to get the most out of your satisfied readers.

Some of the posts that I’ve recently created to stand as this blog’s flagship content:

Trust Factor (users) – When you’re useful to your industry, people will trust you. The best as well as the easiest way to be useful to your community is to provide solid information without the intent of gaining something from it.

Trust Factor (search engines) – We all know that search engines love content, but in this modern age of online marketing, their love for an average content is not enough, your content needs to be trusted in order for it to truly deserve higher search rankings.

Cornerstone Content Promotion

Once your content is live, it’s not sufficient to just let it stand in its place and wait for it to be discovered by people. The real strength of link baiting doesn’t rely solely on the content, given that the real secret to intensify your link bait is concealed in its marketing side. There are several ways to promote your cornerstone content with the seal of trust as its edge.

  • Information-based link building – I believe that the best way to artificially promote your content is through this method, in which you provide information when building links by answering questions related to your content posted on forum threads, blog discussions and Q&A sites such as Quora and Yahoo Answers. Constantly promoting your content through this method, whenever there’s a chance, will help your page achieve higher search rankings along the process.

Trust Factor (users)It will be seen as a trusted resource that offers a solution and in turn can be shared or attract more business as you display your expertise around the field.

Trust Factor (search engines)Links obtained through this method are highly relevant, seeing as the link is used as a resource to answer questions related to the content’s topic. It passes through high amount of trust as the link is seen to be genuinely helpful to the community.

  • Internal Linking – Internal links are capable of giving the same amount of value (link juice) that backlinks or inbound links are capable of doing to your site. Promoting or linking to your important pages or flagship contents through your other pages or newer blog posts using targeted keywords as anchor texts can help boost its rankings as well as in getting your important pages visible to your site’s new visitors.

Staging a good internal linking structure will reduce the need of excessive external link building, which can resist the waste of link equity, given that you have full control over these links

Trust Factor (users) – Leading your readers to relevant contents within your site will enhance their experience as they can find more helpful information easier without digging to your inner pages further.

Trust Factor (search engines) It helps search crawlers find and index your site’s pages and it develops trust as it can retrieve data from your site faster through these routing internal links.

  • Link Requests – If you have a solid, original and very informative content, sending email requests for link placements to .edu, .gov and other resources pages from authority sites related to the topic have higher response rate, knowing that you are offering them a highly resourceful page to be added as a resource on their page, which will definitely be useful to their visitors.

Trust Factor (users)It’s given that having your content listed or mentioned as a resource on educational and authority pages will display an image of a trusted source to those who’ll be able to see it.

Trust Factor (search engines) – Search engines see high amount of trust and gives great value to links found on .edu and .gov sites.

Profile Page Optimization

Creating and optimizing your own profile pages is very vital in maintaining a trustworthy image on the web and it also helps in developing your site’s marketing campaign in so many ways. Here are several reasons why:

  • People will always search for your name and you want to show them something presentable once people start seeking for your personal and professional information.
  • Your site needs a face, personality or a representative in order to be trusted, it’s easier that way.
  • If you’re working on a big company, encourage your staff members to build their own web profile pages that links to your company’s site.
  • Profile pages contain links that are hard to replicate (by your competitors), particularly if they are optimized and already have link juice.
  • Dofollow profile pages such as About.me, Google Profile, Squidoo Lensmaster, Youtube Channel and even your site’s about page are capable of passing through Pagerank, trust and domain authority.
  • Links from these pages have high relevance scores and are placed within the body of the page, which puts more emphasis on the link.

How to optimize your profile pages?

  • Build links to your About.me, Google Profile or about page when networking with other bloggers which I will explain further below.
  • Build internal links pointing to your Squidoo profile, Youtube channel or hubpage profile through community participation (by commenting on pages from these domains that already have pagerank). I’ll be explaining this method on my next blog post.

Trust Factor (users) – Using a bona fide persona to represent your brand increases the trust that people sees in your site.

Trust Factor (search engines) – Link building through optimized profile pages is one of the best ways to hint search engines that your site is trustworthy, and it’s not because you are getting hit-and-run links through external profiles, but for the reason that you are stuffing these pages with huge amount of link juice, which can make it a very significant vote for your site.

Networking and Relationship Building

Networking is one of the most powerful link development techniques today, and seriously, links acquired through it are the hardest to defeat. To begin with, the reason why there is so much power in building online business relationships is that it’s very capable of producing massive voluntary in-content links.

If you are connected with people in your industry and have a good working relationship with them, there are chances that they’ll be mentioning your site on their blogs, willingly share your content through their own networks and refer clients to your business without you initiating the deed. Well, that’s how friendship works on the web in the first place.

Engaging with people around your niche is not that hard, especially if you can be trusted, but it’s also important that you target the right people/bloggers to help uplift your business, preferably those that who will stay in this business for a while. So, how do you use trust with the aim of building relationships on the web?

My simple SEO guide to building relationships:

  • Find good blogs/bloggers that offer high quality content related to your site’s theme. The Pagerank and Alexa traffic rank of the target blog doesn’t really matter because it’s only temporary, what’s really important is the quality and the relevance of the content they are providing since you’ll be sharing them to your own network as well.
  • Read and leave sensible comments on blog entries that you find really interesting. When leaving a comment, never use your keywords as your name to display as anchor text, and it’s best to link to your profile pages to let them know who you are first (plus you get to optimize your profile pages).
  • Share their content through your own network (Twitter, social voting and bookmarking sites, etc…).
  • Engage through social media, email or instant messaging along the process. And when they have questions, it’s best to respond through these channels, because it takes you on a more personal level of interaction. Also, it’s good to offer a helping hand whenever they are in need of something, without the intent or motive of gaining something from them.

Getting the links is the easiest part of the process once you are connected with other people within your industry, particularly if they can get to read your cornerstone contents as they’ll more likely share it on their own networks (through Twitter, mentioning your content as a resource, submit to social bookmarking sites, etc…) without the need to persuade them in doing it.

The best thing about this is that it also gets your content in front of a wider range of audience, as it gets passed through your network’s followers, in which you are getting more chances of obtaining in-content links from other people who found your content to be very useful.

In my recent experience in blogging (since I still consider myself new to blogging), I had several opportunities to have my blog entries mentioned by other bloggers on their blog posts (both by blogger friends and bloggers I didn’t really have the chance to talk to before) in this niche without sending any requests for link placements. And that’s because of the people whom I’ve engaged with and have supported this blog’s “contents” through voluntary in-content special mentions and social sharing that really amplified its visibility.

And perhaps this is a good opportunity to thank the people who have voluntarily linked to my posts recently like Gary Lawood, Kristi Hines, Udegbunam Chukwudi, Rohan Pawale, Lee Ka Hoong, Ana Hoffman, JamestheJust, Danielle McGaw, Fred of SoloBizCoach and many more…

Trust Factor (users) – It has a solid impact to people’s judgment when they see other authority blogs mention your blog or site as a resource or recommend it to be something of use to their own followers.

Trust Factor (search engines) – They certainly give higher value to these links as they see these as genuine recommendations from real people or satisfied users.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is perhaps today’s most effective artificial link building technique for it benefits a site in so many ways, such as:

  • You have full control over the article to be submitted as well as with the anchor texts of the links that will be directing to your site that’s usually placed on the article’s author bio, which can help boost your targeted keywords’ search rankings.
  • Passes through a lot of link juice (Pagerank, trust, domain authority, relevance and vote for search/keyword rankings) to your site, given that your links are the ones to be prioritized when the page is crawled by search spiders.
  • Allows you to generate highly relevant traffic by absorbing the hosting blog’s visitors.
  • Incoming traffic are well aware of what your site’s theme, products or services is all about, given that you have already acquainted them through your guest blog entry, which works great for conversions and lead generation.
  • Helps in developing your brand as an industry expert, as you display your expertise through providing relevant information on other authority blogs that are being followed by your target market.

This method is almost your all-in-one jetpack to online marketing as it can boost your site’s SEO, brand development, social media, lead generation and online reputation as someone to be trusted.

How to make the most out of your guest blogging campaign?

I’ve been experimenting with my own guest blog postings recently, particularly with keyword targeting and here’s what I’ve done to fully optimize my guest blog entries.

  • Choosing blogs to submit your guest blogs – always aim for blogs that are relevant to your site’s theme, have high traffic and have high Pagerank (optional).
  • In choosing the topics to write, I recommend to use your main targeted keywords in the title of the guest article, included on the page’s URL and used as anchor text directing to your targeted destination page (or the page you’re optimizing).
  • The concept behind this strategy is to create high quality links from pages that will be competing for the same keywords you are aiming at. Why? It’s because having links from competitors are of high value, given that they are topically relevant and these competitor pages are using the targeted keywords to describe its destination page – which is your own web page.

Ex: I’ve been aiming to rank for the keyword “SEO strategies”, and I’ve done some guest blogs recently that were strictly about the keyword – “15 SEO Strategies for Newly Launched Websites” and “6 SEO Strategies that can Generate Highly Targeted Traffic”. I’ll be explaining more about this strategy on another post maybe next week to discuss its results as well as the changes I’ve made to intensify this guest blogging on steroids strategy.

Trust Factor (users) – People are more to trust you when they see how you showcase your expertise through other authority blogs in your niche.

Trust Factor (search engines) – Links obtained through guest blogs are one-way links, and search engines do trust these links, seeing as it’s offering valuable content.     

Google Alerts

Setting up alerts via Google Alerts for your brand and name allows you to track and monitor mentions about your site that have no proper link attribution. This is one of the best ways to acquire in-content links, since the mention was specifically pertaining to your brand/name.

It’s also best to engage first with the site owner before requesting for a link placement (for mentions without links) or for your preferred anchor text to be used as links instead when you see pages mentioning your site/name.

Trust Factor – There’s no need to further explain this, because you truly deserve the link if the remark was really intended for you. But it’s also important to be wary about the sentiments of the statements you find about your brand/site/name to protect your online reputation.

Summary

Focus on generating more natural in-content links as much as you can to truly develop trust in your SEO and marketing campaign through solid content and building relevant relationships.

Let’s inject some trust in your existing campaign. See my Search Engine Optimization Services page for more info.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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