If a pipe burst in your house, you’d want to work with a trustworthy plumber. Most plumbers in your area probably have the same skill set, so it’s trustworthiness that sets the good plumbers apart from the great ones.
The same concept applies to websites and brands.
There are likely a few companies that do the same thing your brand does, so how can you stand out? Trustworthiness. Trustworthiness can determine how your site ranks in search results, and it can also influence whether a prospect thinks you have the expertise and experience necessary to help them solve their problems. So much weight is put on whether your site is trustworthy that Google and other search engines employ TrustRank to help them analyze the quality of your site’s content and links.
The TrustRank algorithm measures trust signals that help Google verify the trustworthiness of a site. The more trustworthy your site is deemed by Google, the more authority it has, and the higher rank it will receive.
Though there are hundreds of trust signals, the two most evaluated are content and links.
A study by RebootOnline found that using outgoing, relevant and authoritative links (think educational institutions like Harvard or sites that end in .gov) on your site had a positive impact on site rankings.
It stands to reason that if you have a lot of high-quality links, then your site will be seen as trustworthy, right? While that plays a role, Google also looks at other factors like your site’s:
Google also takes into account your brand signals when assessing your site’s trustworthiness. But how does Google identify a well-known brand like Apple from someone running an affiliate operation in their living room? It can’t. That’s where brand signals come in.
For Google to identify your site as a trustworthy brand, it should have:
Content plays a vital role in nearly every factor mentioned above. Without strong content, your site won’t get traffic or build authority.
Here, we’ll take a look at what you can do to build trust with content.
Posting more content means more traffic, which will translate into a high trust score, which will put your site at the top of Google, right? The phrase “quality vs. quantity” applies here. Posting content on a regular schedule is important, but if it doesn’t provide value to your audience, your efforts are lost.
Think of it this way: You probably have a pretty full inbox. You’ve signed up for emails from a couple of your favorite brands. One of those brands probably sends you an email a couple times per month, but what if it started sending something a couple times per day? You’d probably start to tune them out. The same idea applies to the types of content you post. You want your audience to see your brand as a trustworthy expert, and posting content just for the sake of posting when you don’t have something helpful to say can tarnish that relationship.
One of Kuno’s clients — an HR services company — saw the payoff from this practice. Like many companies, this brand had a set schedule for publishing blog posts in 2017. In 2018, though, the Kuno team wanted to help the company get more visibility for highly searched keywords within its industry.
What We Did:
We wanted to increase this company’s visibility among people searching for HR services, so Kuno’s demand generation department looked at what keywords people looking for HR services commonly searched. Using the information they provided, we produced content around these keywords. To make sure the content was valuable and would rank for each keyword, the team changed the blogging strategy from posting shorter posts more frequently to posting longer (600-1,000 word) posts about three to four times per month. Each new longer, highly valuable post was strategically written around a particular keyword phrase, as well as semantically related keywords.
In 2017, the company posted 68 blogs, and in 2018 it posted 42 blogs. While blog views only decreased slightly from 2017, page views per post and subscribers increased dramatically thanks to the improved post quality.
The company’s online visibility also increased thanks to targeted content. From 2017 to 2018, it saw a 42 percent increase in organic traffic sessions and had 11 targeted keywords in the top 10 Google search results compared to just one keyword in the top 10 in 2017.
Chances are, your audience has a problem and they’re looking for a solution. You’ve done your homework, you know your audience’s pain points, you know the keywords they’re searching, you know the types of content they’re interested in. Now it’s time to tell your stories, and brand journalism can help.
Brand journalism is a combination of marketing, public relations and journalism tactics used to tell a brand’s stories from a different viewpoint, which means vendor-neutral, helpful content that lives up to journalistic standards.
Your content should:
Take a look at the comparison of two blogs’ headlines from Content Marketing Institute:
That’s what makes brand journalism so tricky. As marketers, we’ve been trained to talk about our business and products, but to keep and attract new audiences, we have to speak to them about what they want to hear (helpful, educational topics), and most of the time, it’s not our company.
For more of an impact, try creating original research. It has been shown to be an effective way to earn backlinks, it’s shareable, good for clicks and perhaps, most importantly, it’s a good way to stand out.
Before you break into a sweat thinking about creating original research, relax. You don’t have to have a stream of data and a team of data scientists at the ready to create something interesting and shareable — you just need to experiment.
If, for example, you work for a software company that provides email marketing software to a variety of industries, you could use the data on mobile email opens across industries to create original research.
Or, if you have access to a group of people — like surgeons, for example — you could conduct a survey about the most pressing issues they’re facing. You could also do some searching for recent surveys from your industry or find a question that has yet to be answered and conduct a survey around it.
When your research is complete, you have myriad content options. You could create:
You’ll want to promote your research, too:
A medical device manufacturer approached Kuno to help raise its brand awareness while also increasing leads and sales. Through the buyer persona process, the Kuno team found there was a niche where the company could become a trusted source for kidney care professionals.
What We Did:
We created a blog that centers around various medical specialties, including kidney care. Because we spoke with various kidney care professionals during the buyer persona process, we knew they were searching for specific information — like business news roundups and clinical advice — so we created posts around these topic areas. Like the Zendesk blog example above, you’ll see the content is focused on the reader’s interest, not the device manufacturer’s brand.
The blog and other resources have made the medical device manufacturer a trusted source for all things kidney care. Our 2018 blog topics continued to drive visits and net new contacts.
While Google may evaluate your site’s trustworthiness on the amount of credible links within your content and on your site, to cultivate trust with your audience, you have to know what interests them and provide the content (and the cadence for that content) that helps them solve their pain points.