On average, there are 70-100 million new blogs each month. And not every one of those sites fact-checks or posts responsible sources.
So, how do you know if a site is reliable or if its owners are full of it? This is a complete guide to navigating the web by identifying trustworthy sources.
How Do You Know If a Site Is Reliable on Google?
Many times, you’ll come across a site that you’ve found from a Google search. Although Google is a large purveyor of results, the sites it boils up can be dubious. Google’s algorithms are pretty good, but not infallible.
Sifting through Google’s search results gets less and less reliable the deeper you go.
Google’s algorithm is heavily weighted toward the foot-traffic of a site. And there’s safety in numbers. Reliability is practically proportional to the number of people that visit the site.
If false information were being spread through CNN’s website, it likely wouldn’t garner as many visitors as it does each day. News and events and the reliability of them share a relationship with a site’s popularity.
If you’re wading through the junk at the bottom of the barrel, you’ll likely stumble across a site that’s less than scrupulous. Stick to the first few pages of a Google search. Once you pass page 4, or so, the reliability dips significantly.
Tools for Checking Reliability
Checking the traffic of a website is a pretty good indication of its legitimacy. As said before, there’s safety in numbers.
Checking the traffic can be done through services like Google Trends. Some websites offer reviews of websites, like URLvoid. This again relates reliability to popularity, which is typically a great measure.
If you’re not familiar with an unknown website, it’s advisable to do your due diligence before visiting a site. Sites can offer good information, even if they’re not highly trafficked.
Check the URL (the website’s address), too. When information is coming from government agencies or educational sources, they’re almost always accepted as fact. Neither are highly biased or have an objective to deceive — stick with .edu and .gov sites for high reliability.
The Design Speaks for Itself
Take a look around the website, how well is it designed? Bad – or outdated – design is often indicative of less-than-reputable websites.
Notice text that looks like 90’s Word Art? Get outta there.
Bad design is a result of the hurried nature of a website. People that are plopping websites like this onto the web are almost certainly a bad source for news. They clearly didn’t invest in design, they likely also didn’t fact check any of their output.
Would you buy a watch from a shady, trenchcoat-sporting man? Or a well-kempt jeweler in a nice area?
So, how do you know if a site is reliable? It’s easy once you learn what to look for.
Check where the link came from, run it across trustworthiness software, and look at the design of the site.
If you’re looking for more tips on collecting reliable sources from the web, surf on over to our other articles!