From the Tinder Swindler to misinformation spread during the COVID-19 pandemic, the internet is full of fake news. Company executives who have lied have been sent to prison and some companies have gone out of business. Failing to fact-check your content can cause damage not only to your marketing efforts but also to your reputation. In order to build trust and credibility amongst your target audience and improve SEO rankings, you will need to be truthful in your content writing. So, let’s dive into how to establish credibility in SEO.
If you want to improve your website’s SEO rankings:
The pitfalls of inaccurate content
Anything that isn’t corroborated by another source is unreliable, however much you want to believe it. Fake facts are cropping up all the time at the moment, especially on social media where they spread like wildfire.
Yet just because there’s a photo of someone famous and a great quote written next to it, it doesn’t mean to say it’s true in any way. In fact, these urban myths are so prevalent, they’ve generated fact checking websites, such as snopes.com, which only exist to show what’s true and what’s false. These websites are exceedingly busy in the current political climate.
Joke/satire news sites: understanding the line between humour and deception
The internet has bred a new genre of website that publishes openly made-up joke news stories, usually as a reaction to real news. The Daily Mash, News Thump, Daily Squib and The Poke are a few of the popular ones, but there are many other satire blogs and websites and they can look very much like ‘real’ and credible websites. So, make sure you don’t quote a story written by one by accident!
Clickbait: the allure of catchy headlines vs. misleading readers
The people who write clickbait headlines are very clever. However much you try to avoid them, you can’t help but be drawn to their sensationalist temptations. But all they want you to do is click through as every click results in advertising revenues – the more clicks, the more revenue; therefore, the greater the pressure on companies to churn out more and more outrageous stories. And the more popular as a revenue stream clickbait becomes, the less important it is that the stories are accurate or even true, leaving you with the question, how can you trust what you’re reading?
The consequences of spreading misinformation through Search Engine Optimisation
Misinformation is information that is simply inaccurate or incorrect. Not only does this give your customers a false impression of the topic at hand, but it can also be detrimental to your SEO efforts and, more importantly, harm your business’s reputation altogether. Any good SEO strategy depends on keyword-focused content and trending topics. However, this can lead to significant issues of misinformation, especially if the content writers aren’t conducting thorough research from trustworthy sites. This misinformation can spread rapidly and if Google’s algorithm identifies this information as misleading, it becomes discussed and reported on by many online sites, negatively affecting search trends and tools.
In order to position your brand as a thought leader, build authority and establish a positive reputation, you need to avoid misinformation and convey truthful information that is backed up by credible sources.
The power of reliable sources
There are many brands that have used content marketing to their advantage, so much so that they’ve made a fortune! As a business owner, you’d want to draw inspiration from these brands and create high-quality, credible content that helps to position your brand as a reliable thought leader.
The role of reputable sources in building trust and authority
SEO and content marketing are powerful ways to attract search traffic, engage potential customers and convert your target audience. But how do you build relevance and authority for your website? To make your website authoritative, you need to focus on providing well-researched, high-quality content that people want to read. This means using reputable sources to support your ideas and opinions. As a result, your audience will know that you can be relied upon to share trustworthy information and your site will be seen as one with high authority, both by search engines and searchers. Customers are also seen as credible sources so customer testimonials can add another layer to your site’s credibility.
Tips for identifying credible sources and fact-checking information
As a content marketer, it’s essential to find credible sources and time is of the essence when publishing content. Librarians at California State University, Chico developed the CRAAP Test, a simple 5-question framework to ensure the trustworthiness of information. It explores:
- Currency or timeliness of the publication
- Relevance of the information
- Authority or source of the information
- Accuracy or whether the information shows any bias, and
- Purpose or the reason for the information existing.
Along with establishing whether the source is credible, it’s important to also fact-check everything. Search Engine Journal shares enterprise SEO fact-checking best practices because even if consumers don’t think you’re lying, Google usually does.
How citing reliable sources improves SEO and content quality
Citing sources in your content drastically improves its quality and SEO. By including reliable and credible sources in your writing, you help to legitimise the content and this makes it more likely to be found in search engines like Google. When citing a source it’s important to use the correct format, for instance the Harvard system. Or you can use inline citations if you are citing multiple sources in an article; this involves simply including a link to each source within the text itself. This makes it easy for readers to visit the external link and read more on the information you’ve cited.
Wikipedia: a double-edged sword
Wikipedia is one of the most popular resources for finding all types of information. However, it’s best to simply treat it as a starting point when you’re researching your content. As an open source website that anyone can log in to and make changes, Wikipedia can be unreliable in some ways. Articles on Wikipedia have an accuracy rate of 80% compared with 95-96% accuracy of other sites. Due to a lot of its content being user-generated, Wikipedia has led to a lot of untruths becoming well known ‘fake news’ stories and ‘alternative facts’.
On the other hand, Wikipedia can be an excellent source for uncovering industry jargon as most web pages are written or at least edited by experts on the topic. This means they will be using phrases and language that your target audience will be using in Google Search. And that’s great for your keyword research and incorporating these terms into your social media posts, landing pages, blogs and website copy.
Bespoke SEO services to build credibility
Maintaining truthful and accurate information can go a long way in SEO and especially when brand building. As a new or existing business, it’s super important to be authentic in your content marketing as this gives substance to your business and products or services. This can also result in increased engagement and more word-of-mouth recommendations as customers know they can rely on your brand. According to Michigan Technological University, publishing relevant and authoritative content is the number one driver of search rankings and quality content that is tailored to your audience can improve your site’s authority.
At Cariad Marketing, we pride ourselves on creating relevant content that is fact-checked and optimised for SEO. Get in touch with us to build trust and authority amongst your target audience to improve your Google search rankings and ultimately drive conversions.