Optimizing a website for trust
Trust is an important factor for building website traffic. Visitors will make split second decisions about your website and brand based on trust-factors. Search engines will make split micro-second decisions based on trust-factors as well.
Overall website trust
- Overall quality of your website design. Design is one of the most important factors for building trust. Visitors will immediately judge your brand based on the design of the website. This can be a conscious and subconscious phenomenon.
- Be clear in your purpose. Don't hide information about your brand or business. Be clear in how your brand represents itself.
- Keep contact information about your brand in an easy-to-find location on the website.
- Use security badges to demonstrate that your website is free of viruses, malware or intruders.
- Use SSL for forms or login areas to protect user information passing between users' devices and your website. Encryption is a necessary form of security.
- Take web security precautions to protect against attacks and downtime
- Consider using testimonials to demonstrate your brand's reputation.
- Thought leadership may go a long way to build trust. Consider offering webinars, demonstrations, featured publications, lectures, whitepapers, ect.
- Create content that is helpful and useful to your visitors. Don't just "sell" yourself or your brand to users. This is a turn-off.
- Search your web analytics for 404 errors (missing content).
- Ensure your website has a helpful (or even funny) 404 error page.
- Ensure you keep brand trust high by practicing proactive communications for social media, like alerts and brand monitoring
Trust for SEO
- Don't use auto-redirects unless they are permanent 301 redirects. If your company name changes, then permanently shift your domain using a 301 redirect, which will help funnel Pagerank to the new website domain.
- Make sure the content in your website is relevant to the primary theme of the website. Don't just pump out random content to attempt to capitalize on search trends. This may simply confuse search engines.
- Keep up on recent advancements in search engine scoring algorithms. Here is an overview of Google Panda for website managers
- Scan your website for malware distribution or site hacks. Sometimes bad guys will hack hundreds of websites and automatically use them to distribute malware, viruses or steal information. This profoundly hurts your SEO ranking. Consider Google Webmaster Tools and scanning systems.
- Do not link to untrustworthy websites: websites that have known scams, malware or are link farms. Linking to trusted websites (small or large) is absolutely fine, when it is relevant to your content.
- Embed your physical address of the bottom of every web page of your site.
- Ensure that your website loads quickly (and faster for mobile)
- Ensure that your pages use proper grammar and are not riddled with misspellings.
- Keep your page titles, META descriptions and internal links related to your page content. Follow SEO best practices to ensuring that you appropriately optimize your website.
- Disavow links pointed to your website that come from shady websites or link-farms. Don't make Google think you are paying for links if you aren't.
- Avoid duplication of web content. Do not copy other website's content. Keep your content unique and original.
- Avoid "thin" content pages or face a Google penalty: Look for web pages that have little content. Sometimes this can be a error of design or the technology your website is powered by.
- Use Google Webmaster Tools to check for errors and problems.