The three pillars of SEO – Authority, Relevance and Trust

Apr 3, 2020 by
The three pillars of SEO – Authority, Relevance and Trust

If SEO was to be thought of as a physical structure then it would be a structure held aloft by three central pillars – authority, relevance, and trust.

These are strong words with a lot of emotion attached to them, of course, but that weight is the reason why these bastions of virtuous content should be held in high regard.

But the words alone (bold as they might be) mean nothing without context. So, here we’ll hope to explain exactly what those three pillars of SEO mean and how you could be using them to embolden your strategies.


Perhaps the most important of the three pillars, authority is a word used a lot in SEO and relates to the authority of your page – does it answer the right questions asked by the right people? And does it contain content that could be classified as authoritative in its field? When Google is ranking sites, authority is one of the first things it will be looking at so ensure you’re an authoritative voice in your niche by creating content that is engaging and accurate.

Authority is assessed by your content and links, with the latter holding just a much sway as the former. So, both need to be considered if you hope to generate search authority.


Your SEO strategy should always operate under the same basic principles as Google itself – searches should always return relevant results.

Relevance is perhaps the easiest of the three pillars to achieve because you have more agency in ensuring you remain relevant. This is down to everything from the metadata and keywords you use to the way you market your content.


In stark contrast to relevance, trust is the hardest of the pillars truly to master as it’s something that is earned, not won or claimed. It’s also something that develops slowly over time by keeping your pages regularly updated, secure and persistently engaging.

Trust is, however, something that can be catalysed at least in a small way by reaching out to other trustworthy sources and building links with them. That way, you’ll be developing trust by association and also building valuable connections within your online community.

All three pillars are tied to the three major phases of SEO and should be considered at each of the following stages.

Crawling – This is the initial stage, where search engines scour the internet for all information.

Indexing – Once the information has been collected by the crawling process, it’s then stored (or indexed) in a central data centre. The index is essentially the warehouse of all web pages.

Results – This is where the algorithm comes into play and matches the keywords with the information stored in the index and then essentially spits out the most relevant links. At least, that’s the theory.

Of course, Google is notorious for changing its algorithm on a regular basis but as long as those three solid pillars are adhered to then there should be no major problems to face.

Of course, there are steps that can be taken to safeguard against algorithm changes – such as mobile optimisation, not overdoing it with the keywords, and making sure pages actually have a decent amount of content. However, generally speaking, keep those three central tenets close to your chest and you should be golden.