Is your website trustworthy?
In recent posts we discussed the importance of earning your customer’s trust and, while having an effective plan for reputation management is an important consideration that your business cannot afford to ignore, there’s another kind of trust that is absolutely critical to your business’s success – the trust that search engines have for your website
If Google trusts your website, it will rank higher and naturally receive more traffic. If it doesn’t, Google is not going to refer users to your site. It’s that simple and it makes a lot of sense. Have you ever recommended a trustworthy mechanic to someone? Likely, the person receiving your suggestion left satisfied and more inclined to return to you in the future for additional recommendations. When it comes to Google, it’s a similar concept.
The concept of “TrustRank” remains one of the hottest topics within the search engine optimization community and, while Google has explicitly stated that it does not have, “something specifically called trust rank”, it’s clear that Google’s algorithm takes into account several factors that collectively assign a level of “trust” to your website. After all, if websites were not ranked based on their level of expertise and authoritativeness, “factual” and “trustworthy” information would be determined by whoever has the largest SEO budget. It’s clear that trust plays a central role in ranking search results and, consequently, should play a critical role to your business’s online strategy.
Step #1: Have a Contact Page
If your friend recommended a mechanic – or really another other service for that matter – which would be you be more inclined to use: A recommendation with a clear name of who to ask for or one where you should talk to “some guy”? Chances are that you would want to talk to someone by name, if not for an added sense of trust, to simply avoid unnecessary run around. It’s no mystery that Google wants to provide an ideal user experience and so, when it is determining what websites to recommend, it’s taking into account this same type of reasoning.
At minimum, your website needs a contact page that contains relevant phone numbers and e-mail addresses; however, you will also want to include a physical address and even a Google Map when possible.
And, while the purpose of ranking better is already a good enough reason, don’t overlook the most obvious reason to have a high-quality contact page – to capture leads, of course!
Step #2: Have an About Page
Like your contact page, having a page that specifically speaks to the purpose of your website and the history of your company not only legitimizes your brand to Google, but it also gives your visitors a reason to trust you. Of course, simply having an About Page is not enough. Google, and your visitors, value anonymity and so the key here is to remove anonymity about the purpose of your website and who is responsible for its content.
The benefits of a quality About page extend beyond your TrustRank, of course. As many within the SEO community would recommend, any opportunity you have to talk about your business is a fantastic opportunity to build engaging, but powerful, keywords and key phrases into your website. The concept of an About page is well-known to visitors and, in many cases, users seek these pages out when initially considering a brand. Users expect you to talk and so it is one of your best opportunities to share exactly what you want to share about your brand in a way that does not seem obnoxious or unnatural.
- What information is being collected.
- How the information will be stored and used.
- If the information collected will be shared with any third parties.
- If and how they can access the information about them.
- How to make a privacy complaint.
Still not sure where to start? The most trusted websites on the internet provide privacy policies (Hint! You should too!) and so you can turn to YouTube, New York Times, BBC or any other highly trusted website for an example.
Step #4: Have a Terms of Service
When it comes to business, having a Terms of Service is a best practice and so including it as a part of your website is a strong signal to Google about the legitimacy of your brand. Depending on the purpose of your website, you may also want to include rules that visitors must abide to when using your website.
Step #5: Have a Visible Sitemap
Some of us love the idea of surprises. For others, not so much. But, no matter your particular preference on the matter, we can all agree that it doesn’t feel good to have important details withheld from us, especially when it comes to the decision-making process.
That’s why including a sitemap as a part of your website is a detail that you cannot afford to overlook. Providing a list of all of the pages on your website, which is the exact purpose of your sitemap, not only communicates a level of trustworthiness to search engine spiders, but it also communicates just how much information your website has to offer.
And while there may be times when you want to leave out URLs to pages that you do not want your users to visit, you can still create an effective sitemap that keeps those URLs hidden by creating an XML sitemap.
Start Building Your Site’s Identity
When it comes to ranking well in Google, trust needs to be earned but it’s certainly worth the effort. After all, establishing your trustworthiness not only provides you with a better share of the click-through rate, but it also provides you with protection against negative SEO tactics. Once your website has earned Google’s trust, you’re less likely to accrue penalties in the future.
Implementing high quality pages about the nature of business is an excellent way to start earning Google’s trust but keep in mind that these are not the only factors that determine your TrustRank – your link profile is equally important. When it comes to actions you can take today to start making a difference, these are certainly the best ways to start.
Does Google trust your website?
webFEAT Complete understands that the ultimate goal of your SEO strategy is to generate more leads, conversions, and business in general. For over 18 years, we have implemented these types of pages for thousands of websites and would be eager to help you build a website that Google trusts. Learn more about our Search Engine Optimization services. Ready to see results? Contact us or schedule a consultation!
Also published on Medium.