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How to Win the SEO Game: Authority, Relevance & Trust

Photo by: Christiann Koepke for Unsplash

Expect to bump into “SEO is dead” hoopla within a minute of your news-search on SEO. These naysayers are either clickbaits, or pessimists. But if you’re ready to win the SEO game, we’re have good news for you.

SEO is alive, breathing, and having a jolly good time.

Professional SEO services know this. And you’d do too, by the time you’re done reading.

Numbers Don’t Lie

Let’s start with some numbers as a fact-check:

  • In May 2019, BrightEdge Research collected data from thousands of domains and innumerable sources to reflect that across industries, traffic from organic search increased to 53.3%.
  • The same report mentions that revenue from organic search for B2B companies is twice that of any other channel.

SEO is all about increasing organic search, as we all know. So, why the doom’s day predictions about SEO, then?


The Way Google Works – It’s Changing, And That’s A Good Thing

Sounding the death knell for SEO is the result of a misunderstanding. SEO is alive and kicking, as clear from the numbers above. There is, however, a need to adapt SEO strategizing to a decided shift in Google’s functioning style.

In July 2020, Google’s market share of search engines globally was 86.86%. So, if Google changes the way its search engine functions, SEO strategizing has to adapt itself. Experts offering professional SEO services don’t need any reminder for this.

Google has moved focus from keywords to user experience (UX). Through algorithms like RankBrain and BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers), Google is determinedly pushing toward improving UX in its search engine functions.

This push has made the ART of SEO more important than ever before. Authority, Relevance, and Trust (ART) have emerged to be three of the strongest factors for SEO. The ART of SEO is geared, like Google, to improve UX, and is the step to win the SEO game.

Understanding The ART of SEO

The ART of SEO entices more than search engines to win the SEO game. These three pillars determine what visitors think about your website and how they engage with it.

Authority, relevance, and trust are all about UX enhancement. Together they generate an SEO strategy with the ability to attract search engines and users alike.

Authority is the ability to communicate expert information in a manner that is comprehensible to the target audience. Mere expertise isn’t enough to gain an authoritative voice.

You may be an expert in marketing strategies, for example. However, that expertise will translate to action only when you can communicate those strategies to your audience in a language and style that they understand. That is the secret of a real voice of authority.

The voice of authority becomes engaging when the information communicated is relevant. Someone searching for adventure sports is unlikely to stop at a website talking about party games, for example, no matter how much authority that page exudes about party games.

Communicating relevant information with authority results in trust. Trust, in turn, leads to continued engagement.

When someone searching for adventure sports finds the right words on a SERP (search engine results page), the searcher will click on it. If the information is relevant, and it flows in an easy-to-understand manner, the visitor will begin trusting that site.

The user may return straight to this website with a query about a specific adventure sport later. That’s one aspect of trust, but there’s more to it.

This is all about attracting and engaging the user. Are you wondering how this can work for SEO? Read on to know how that happens.

How Authority Strengthens SEO

The digital marketing industry has known for some time that backlinks help SEO. That has not changed. Backlinks are an indication that other websites find the information available in yours good enough to refer to. That’s why they indicate a degree of authority.

However, it is crucial to remember that mere numbers are not sufficient. Google’s algorithms can detect the comparative weight of the pages that backlink to you. Several backlinks to your site in guest posts you write on other sites may not be enough.

If you are a digital marketing company, and a post on Hubspot or Backlinko links back to you, the worth of that is significantly higher than that of smaller websites.


Google, incidentally, has made its search engine more sensitive to the nuances of human language usage. With BERT, the focus is on understanding user intent. That is where the shift has happened.

We all know that “a pot of tea” and a “teapot” are not the same. Now, through BERT… Google knows that, too, even if it didn’t before. Mere keyword stuffing simply doesn’t work to win the SEO game.

Content has become more important than ever before. What you write, and how you write it, determines your SERP ranking. Both search engines and users look for authority voices… and content is your key to generating that.

Content that conveys authority attracts more clicks and longer engagement. These, too, feature in Google’s ranking parameters.

Authority Minus Relevance Is Useless

As we’ve already explained, merely generating authoritative content is not enough. Users will click only on what they think is relevant. BERT picks that up, and adapts to match that intention in future searches.

The focus, again, is on content. Make sure that the information you provide is not only authentic but also specific. Specificity is particularly critical in choosing the right keywords. They now need to be relevant in a nuanced manner.

Offering a “pot of tea” will not interest a user looking for a “teapot.” “Real estate Manhattan” may no longer be enough simply because you ignore that preposition “in,” which the users type in their search queries. It could be “real estate agents, Manhattan”, “real estate cost, Manhattan” and so on. Specificity to the minutest detail has become all-important for SEO.

BERT is teaching Google grammar, you could say. The grammar of not just language, but of relevance for user intent.

Authority + Relevance ≠ Trust, There’s More

Relevant information communicated with authority builds trust, for sure. However, when it comes to SEO, there’s more to trust.

We need to share a little bit of a backstage story here. There’s a joint paper by Yahoo and engineers from Stanford University on using TrustRank to detect web-based spam. Yahoo patented TrustRank as Link Based Spam Detection.

Industry insiders say even Google uses this for spam detection. However, Google has its own TrustRank as well, patented as Search result ranking based on trust. Invented by Ramanathan Guha, Google got the patent for this system on October 13, 2009.

There’s quite a bit of difference between Yahoo’s TrustRank and Google’s TrustRank, therefore. One helps detect web-based spam and the other determines SERP ranking.

Authority and relevance generate user trust. So do labels and annotations by experts. Google’s patent application for the TrustRank patent says so in its description that trustworthiness gets measured to rank pages.

So, link to authentic sites in your content. Linking to .gov, .net and .org sites are of value to you in building your page’s trustworthiness. For Google, and users.

Partner With A Specialist Agency

To master the ART of SEO and get your page to rank high on Google and other search engines, you might require professional SEO services from leading agencies like Uplers. Their experience and expertise to provide operational support with the dedicated team model is phenomenal. 

In the meantime, you’ll want to consider HoneyBook’s client management software for small businesses to grow your business. 

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