It has been mayhem in the Google search results in recent weeks, and really in the last couple of years. Another big change coming up very soon. Google has been incorporating AI into results as well as making up for a bad PR hit they had from updates in 2023.  It is easy to get caught in the weeds and be left in confusion as spammy SEO people tell you shortcuts and workarounds to fool the Google algorithm. Sometimes they work, albeit very briefly, before getting your site into trouble down the road. I try to simplify things a bit for my readers. Those small business owners just trying to “get Googled” for what they do and spend their day doing the thing they have a passion for.  So I’m going to dive right in and tell you the secret to ranking highly in Google. Credibility!

I recently shared with my audience an article about N-E-E-A-T-T, which is the latest algorithm evolution coming from E-A-T a few years back. It is all credible and true and if you want to dig into specific Google ranking factors and the algorithm, some of these sites are great places to go. But let’s get down to thinking about what Google, and its users, are looking for, rather than finding ways around the algorithm. If you do this, you will generally be “algorithm proof”, or at least penalty proof. Of course, the way Google moves things around, up, and down their search results can be frustrating to some, but generally, their job is to give users the best answer to their query, and more so than ever, they want to base that as coming from a credible source. So how can you show credibility digitally?

Show Off Your Credibility (Why Should People Trust You?)

  • Trust for SEO SuccessShow that you are real: Make sure you have good contact, location, and about pages that show why you are credible. Show your certifications, experience, and accomplishments. Show that you are reachable and responsive at your location or via multiple forms of contact.
  • Show You Know Your Specialty: It is said that it should only take 2 seconds for someone who visits your website to know what you specialize in. Make it clear what problems you solve with a great user experience and clarity
  • Show People Like and Trust You: Great reviews not only help people feel more at home and trusting when they visit your site, they help you rank and show up more for local searches. Reviews should be a part of every digital strategy, and feel free to show off your reviews and review score on your site.
  • Helpful Content: Write your content to be informative and helpful to your potential customers about your subject area(s).  Check out the People Also Ask in your subject area and write content that answers those questions. Explain who, what, when, where, why, and how your services should be used. Explain your process and answer the questions that may come up that would give people pause in hiring you. This shows you know your subject area. You’ve been there and you already know their concerns and can ease them.
  • Experienced Content: AI doesn’t have real-world experience.  When you write posts, show that you have been there before and know what you are doing. Don’t be afraid to say “I” and “we”. Don’t be generic like AI. the way to stand out is your real experience and examples. Talk about X project you did in Y town and how you handled the specific curveballs that were thrown your way.  Most likely other people have that issue, and you are showing you have already figured it out.  You are also showing that you really do this work every day and have a great track record that they can count on. Credibility!
  • Links from Your Market: Links still matter in SEO and those relationships can be tough, especially if you spend your time working on your business. But some easy links that build credibility and trust are links from the Chambers of Commerce in your market areas, industry associations, the BBB, charity sponsorships, schools you attended, etc. These are all credible sources that can vouch for what you do and get factored into rankings.  People are getting more and more savvy. A website alone with no proof that you are out in the world doing your work, isn’t going to show off much credibility.

Think of the Real Things that Should Matter to Customers

Again, don’t spend your time looking for shortcuts. If you find them, their windows tend to close quickly and then it is a long way back around when you are penalized or downgraded by Google. Think about what really matters to your customers and display that on your website, and it will always leave you in a better place. Helpful content is king.  Show you are credible and the search engines, and customers will come.