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Websites are marketing power tools to promote partnerships, events and webinars, as well as showcase business success stories and whitepapers. Along with useful content, Web pages include outbound links (to vendors, partners and customers), but it's even more important to cultivate inbound links to your content.

Why? Trustworthy and relevant inbound links help your site gain authority and trust, the real routes to better Google search rankings—and the best way for you to be found by potential clients who are using search to find products or services that you offer.

"Authority in general means that people trust you to supply expert insight. The good news is that authorities trusted by human beings are also trusted by Google," says Internet marketing consultant Chris Garret on his blog.

Savvy online marketers should know the trusted-link influencers in their respective industries and naturally cultivate inbound links, he points out. The better your site content, the more likely those influential sites will link to you; the more such sites link to you, the more trustworthy and authoritative you seem to Google—and the higher up your content will appear in search rankings.

Garret points to a host of other factors that influence authority, from traffic conditions and domain specs to usability and load time. Here is a helpful summary of characteristics your website needs to have in order to get Google's attention, according to Garret:

  • Natural, organic growth based on sound promotion behavior (and traffic sources other than Google)
  • Valuable and unique content tailored toward people rather than search
  • A solid foundation and human-centered design

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