The Ultimate Trust Signal Checklist

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through one of those links then we'll get a small commission.

In the early days of the internet, back when everyone thought Flash websites were cool, users were extremely hesitant to hand over their credit card information and personal details to a website – any website.

People were saying things like "Will the mass market ever want to buy things over the internet?" and "Is the internet just a fad?" It's true; I was there and I heard it with my own ears!

This lack of trust in ecommerce was a hurdle that online retailers had to overcome if they wanted their businesses to survive, so the concept of "trust signals" was born.

At first, trust signals were little more than simple trust seals and badges designed to communicate credibility to online audiences. But over the years, simple icons and graphics have given way to much more complex and nuanced methods of building relationships and establishing trust.

Today, thanks to the emergence of inbound marketing, almost all business is conducted online. Trust signals are now vitally important to attracting website visitors, establishing trust and converting visitors into customers.

Trust signals are important to Google as well. Many trust signals are now ranking factors that help to determine your website's position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The more trustworthy your site, the higher it's likely to rank.

So how do you build trust with people and search engines? Simple: you follow my ultimate trust signal checklist!

Not everything in my trust signal checklist will be apply to every website, but the majority will. And if you go through each point and apply the recommendations to your own site, I'm confident you'll see traffic and conversions increase as visitors and search engines come to trust you and your business.

I've also added a handy feature that tracks your progress as you check off each recommendation, which you can find at the bottom of the page.

Some of the trust signal checklist recommendations will take minutes to implement, while others will take much longer. Some will also require a certain level of web design and development expertise.

If you don't have the time or resources to optimise your website yourself, our conversion rate optimisation services could be just what you need.

See also: The Ultimate Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) Checklist

Website reputation

While Google trusts a website that's two years old the same as one that's five years old, newly-registered domains usually have to establish themselves for a few months before they're viewed the same as older domains.

If your website has been penalised for violating Google's webmaster guidelines, you'll be on probation for a while and you'll notice a drop in rankings and traffic. Unsurprisingly, it will take a while to win Google's trust back.

Visitors usually trust websites with a dot-com domain more than ones with an obscure one. And if you want to know which domains have the worst reputations for spam, check out this list of the world's most abused TLDs.

As with domain age, some SEO's believe the length of domain registration makes your website more trustworthy to Google, while others don't. But if you can register a domain for three years or more, you probably should.

Google views links from others websites to yours as a vote of confidence in the quality of your site and content. If authoritative sources link to your site, you'll get a lot more love from Google.

Nothing gets Google's alarm bells ringing quite like 5,000 backlinks from blog comments. It looks unnatural, and if there's one thing Google won't tolerate it's unnatural backlinks designed to manipulate the system.

Website architecture

An SSL certificate authenticates a website's identity and enables an encrypted connection. It's essential for all websites, and if you don't have one, some visitors may not even be able to access your site at all.

Descriptive URLs like "yoursite.com/sofas/3-seater-leather-sofa/" are easier for people to read and understand than dynamic ones, such as "yoursite.com/category=Sofas&code=SKU450114".

As a user navigates your site, they don't want to encounter broken pages. It erodes confidence in the website. Make sure your site has a 404 error page that helps users get back on track after clicking on a broken link.

Server errors are even worse than broken links, because they tell visitors that the website doesn't work properly. Server errors could also give users the impression that their personal information is at risk of exposure.

People are used to browsing websites that work well on their phones and tablets. If yours doesn't, they'll wonder why. So will Google, and they'll rank websites that do work well on mobile devices above yours.

User experience

Visitors are likely to associate an unresponsive website with unresponsive customer support, so your pages need to load quickly. Page speed is also a ranking signal for Google, meaning lower rankings for slower websites.

A simple, intuitive user experience with easy conversion paths suggests transparency to your visitors and makes them more comfortable filling out a form or completing a purchase.

Everyone is different, so why show everyone the same content? Demonstrate that you understand the unique needs and expectations of your customers by creating personalised experiences and offers for your website visitors.

Make it easy for visitors to reach you by offering multiple contact methods. People want to know they can contact you if they have a problem with their order, and they're less likely to trust you if they can't.

Design and content

If your website looks like it was built in 1995, visitors will hit the back button faster than a speeding ticket. First impressions count, so it's worth hiring a reputable web design company to create a custom design for your brand.

Take the time to create valuable content that answers your visitors' questions and solves their problems, and they'll recognise you as a trusted source of information for whatever it is they're buying.

It's a good idea to regularly review and update your content – especially if it's about technical subjects or current topics – because visitors who notice it's out-of-date will quickly leave your site and look for more recent information.

You'll invariably need to use stock images on your website, but try to include your own photographs as well. Photos of your offices, employees, products and customers can really help to build customer confidence in your brand.

People trust products and services when they understand how they will help them, and that's exactly what a UVP does: it describes the benefits of your offer and explains how it will solve your customers' problems.

Non-existent social media profiles are a red flag to many website visitors, so make sure you have a presence on the social networks that are important to your customers. And don't forget to link to your profiles from your website.

Including an author bio on your blog posts helps to build a relationship with your audience, and the author's name itself can serve as a validation that something is actually worth reading.

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are a trust killer, because it gives people the impression that your work is sloppy. If your website is too large to check manually, Seobility can crawl your site and find spelling mistakes.

Adding your physical location to your website, along with photos of your shop or office, makes people feel confident that you are who you say you are, and not just a fly-by-night operation with no accountability.

Little things are easy to overlook, and your website copyright notice is one of them. If you can, use a snippet of code to update the year automatically, otherwise your site will look out-of-date if you forget to update it manually.

If you run a limited business and/or you're VAT registered, don't forget to add your company registration and VAT numbers to your website. It's a small addition, but it adds a lot of credibility to your website and business.

Website pages

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Trust seals and badges

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Reviews and social proof

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Business activities

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Business performance

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

External trust signals

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Description coming soon.

Total recommendations implemented = 0 / 84

If you really want to make the most of your website traffic, don't forget to check out our conversion rate optimisation checklist.

Eventually, both checklists will be combined into one huge website optimisation checklist spreadsheet.

Not only will the spreadsheet be much easier to use and refer to when you're optimising your site, but it will also cover more pages and tons of additional criteria such as copywriting, design, retargeting, the value proposition and even buyer and pricing psychology.

And best of all, it will be 100% FREE.

Oh, and it will contain 300+ ecommerce-specific conversion optimisation recommendations too!

And I almost forgot, you'll also get a FREE 7-day email mini-course to help you make the most of the website optimisation checklist.

I promise: it will be worth the wait.

Rob Carter
Rob Carter

Rob Carter is a digital marketing expert with a genuine passion for helping businesses thrive online. Rob has been building websites and crafting marketing campaigns for over 20 years, and his creativity and analytical ability are highly sought after by businesses and non-profits around the world.

Articles: 67

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *