Back in March there was an update in Google which changed the algorithms and incorporated the concept of ‘trust’ into the rankings. If you missed it, have a look at the video from Matt Cutts, Google talking about the changes.
Brands / websites which have a higher perceived trust and are deemed an authority on their niche would appear higher in the rankings. The effect of these changes has been most felt by the larger brands and on the more generic phrases such as ‘credit cards’ or ‘holidays’.
So in Google terms – what is ‘trust’ and ‘authority’
You can build your trust and authority over time, it is not something that can be bought or installed on your website. It is about the long term commitment to being involved in the community around your product and services. It’s about participating in the conversations which are already going on about your products and services and placing yourself as the centre of authority on the subject. It’s not about using these opportunities for selling but assisting the individual so they have a positive experience of your brand.
Becoming involved within sites such as getsatisfaction, facebook, twitter, you tube, forums, (and all the others) means that you are aware of the conversations going on and can directly influence these. Most importantly you can build your trust and have an opportunity to develop your brand as an authority on your niche.
It is about building your online profile of your brand through the various different sites and channels. Over time users of the sites will grow to see you as a resource and you will become more powerful and recognised within those communities.
The trust of your postings, bookmarks, articles and comments will grow, with the ultimate goal of gaining the respect of the community so you are perceived as an authority on your niche subject. Once you have a voice in the community, you then have influence. So therefore people will be more trusting and hence any selling would be a soft sell.