In You, Google Trusts
As the debate goes on about the decreasing importance of PageRank, another measure continues to gain traction in the SEO world commonly called TrustRank. The idea behind TrustRank is that Google (and other search engines) assign a level of trust to a website or maybe even a website owner which in return can help with index inclusion and rankings.
So let me take this concept of trust to the extreme. Please bear in mind that this is entirely speculation and based on nothing but some thoughts that popped in to my head while exchanging messages with a fellow SEO. The good thing is that if I'm completely wrong I can point to my warning and still get points for thinking outside the box. On the other hand, if years from now it turns out that I was right, well I can go on and on about how forward thinking I was and get lucrative book deals and public speaking engagements. Yes, it's good to have a blog sometimes!
So my hypothesis is that as search engines build up their rules for evaluating trust, it will behoove website owners to lay their cards on the table. By that I mean we'd want to do things like:
1. Host all of our sites at the same company. After all, we wouldn't want to make it look like we're trying to hide the affiliation between sites. Similarly, don't worry about making sure each IP has a different C-class.
2. Don't register a domain with the privacy option turned on. If you don't have anything to hide, no need to hide it, right? And use the same registration information for all domains.
3. Install Google Analytics so Google has access to all of your traffic data. If you don't like the tool, you can also tag your pages with whatever other tracking code you want for reporting purposes. Use one Google account to manage all of the sites.
4. If you run AdWords campaigns, be sure to install the AdWords conversion code. Again, let Google see how and what you're doing.
5. If you use AdSense to monetize your site, use the same publisher ID across all of them. For tracking, you can set up channels. Again, make the affiliation between sites so obvious that Google's algorithms can put the pieces together.
The upside, at least the one I'm hypothesizing, is that eventually Google will trust you because it will have a lot of information about your activities. This is similar to getting a car's history before you buy it or having someone verify your resume before they hire you. The more that is known about you, the more trusted you will be. And as with people, once Google trusts you, you may be rewarded with things like quick inclusion of brand new sites and a boost to rankings when other sites in question are less trusted.