There's no two ways about this, Google and the other search engines have their favourites. I'm sure you've seen it all before, either working for your client or evaluating your competition. There are a number of sites in every niche, whatever content they publish they rank well whether or not the content is optimised, has any inbound links and without really trying too hard.
You, on the other hand might have worked hard to rank for that content, have got some great natural links, lots of buzz but you've got little to show for it. What you don't know is that these websites have managed to reach a high trust level with the search engines which helps their content rank highly.
Building trust with the engines takes time (and patience) here are 25 essential SEO tips that will help:
1. Update your whois records and ensure there's a visible record of the person or company which owns the domain, address, telephone number and email address.
2. Although this might raise some eyebrows, I've had better results with top level domains so consider .com, .org, .net etc domain tlds (even if .tel domain does look cool).
3. The domain age is very important to Google, so when starting a new online business consider purchasing an exciting domain rather than registering a new domain. Sedo is a great place to start your search.
4. If the domain has more than 2 words, don't use hyphens in the URL otherwise it might look spammy so www.PremiumBlueWidgets.com is better than www.Premium-Blue-Widgets.com.
5. Google is assuming that if you've started your online business you're here to stay for the long run, therefore whether you're purchasing a new domain or renewing a domain, go for a longer renewal period of 2 plus years.
6. Get a fixed clean IP address and stick with it for the long run.
7. Verify your site with Google Webmaster central to learn about issues on your site which might affect your trust such as spyware infestation.
8. Place your contact details including phone number, address and even pictures of your office clearly on the site.
10. Don't over-optimise your site because it could be an indication of some artificial work going on.
11. Don't repeatedly cross link between other sites you own as it might be a sign of trying to 'game the engines'.
12. Don't update existing content too often as it might be seen as a sign of manipulation.
13. Don't use doorway pages , it frustrates both the users and the engines.
14. Your links should come organically and the acceleration of link popularity should reflect that, so 1000 backlinks to a new site in one day is a bad sign.
15. Backlinks should include unoptimized anchor text as well as optimised text for example conversioncounts.com rather than conversion rate optimisation because that's how most people link naturally.
16. When linking to you, the referring pages should have as little out going links as possible.
17. Keep your pages below 100K to ensure they're easily crawled.
18. Use Google's XML site map generator to create a site map and keep it updated whenever you add or remove pages.
19. Analyze your robot.txt file to ensure you're not blocking certain parts to your site. SEO Book has an excellent tool to analyze your robot.txt file.
20. Build on your great content to create natural links and avoid paid links so counting on social bookmark links.
21. Your content should have very low bounce rate as higher bounce rate is an indication of less relevant content.
23. Limit your dofollow links to 100 (you might get away with 200), though this is very hard to maintain simply because the nature of the web is sharing.
24. For new domains, limit your dofollow links to trusted sites within your industry for the first 6 months.
25. Google likes fresh new content and even rewards using its fresh content algorithm so the more fresh unique content the better.
Start building your trust today...