Understanding the Importance of Trust Signals in SEO & Marketing

Trust signals! It is well known that trust signals are not only important, but they’re the backbone of successful SEO (and marketing) campaigns. Who knew?!

So let’s have a look at trust signals in SEO and marketing. I’m eager to (hopefully) reveal some secrets that will change your ‘heading’ slightly when SEOing.

Why so… important?

Trust me on this one, trust is an absolute must in the world of SEO and marketing. I mean, would one follow advice from someone who pitches a pyramid scheme, or buy from a website that seems to have zero reviews? Nope, neither would I.

Let us take a look at trust signals, these comforting little gems are indicators that tell your users, “Hello there, we’re legit, and you can trust us”. They come in all different forms, for instance, some prime examples include customer reviews, testimonials, and a secure site. That last one should be a given, so have a look to the left of your website URL in any search engine bar. If it has a padlock, you’re good, if not, go to your domain provider and get one sorted! – Here is a helpful guide from GoDaddy to show you.

Anyway, let’s chat some more about trust signals in SEO. Trust signals are like a cheeky nod to Google, letting it know that your website is a dependable source of information for users. When Google can ‘hear’ (see, crawl, notice etc) this, it thinks, “Well, we’d better rank this website higher!” So, the more trust signals you have, the better chance you have to improve keyword rankings.

Of course, trust signals are not just great for SEO – they play a pivotal role in marketing too. Consumers tend to lean towards companies that they feel are trustworthy. By showcasing trust signals in marketing campaigns (like displaying positive customer reviews), you’ll make potential customers think: “Well, if everyone else trusts them, I will too!”. They’re more likely to get in touch, make a purchase, or sign up. How splendid!

Here are some trust signals that are basics to have for SEO:

  • Customer reviews: Nothing says “trust me” more than a herd of happy customers singing your praises. Display them! Just having these opens up multiple doors for you from an SEO point of view. The first thing that comes to mind when writing this is schema. Schema (or structured data) helps search engines understand the content on websites by providing additional context about the data. This can lead to enhanced search engine results in the form of rich snippets or other rich features.
  • Testimonials: These are similar to customer reviews, but more about sharing a customer’s story to convince potential customers that your product or service works wonders. A little more context outside a Google review can be better presented and give a smarter feel on a site.
  • Case studies: Show off success with fact-based reports and problem-solving stories that demonstrate a company’s capabilities. The authority case studies have is monumental! Without going down a rabbit hole here, the point of SEO, in one lens, is to show Google that you are the experts in your field, because Google will present users with the most accurate information possible for the search term used. (I will struggle to explain how SEO works in this bullet point but I’ll write something on this soon, I hope you get the point so far). This blog by RingCentral can help you learn more about writing case studies.
  • Social proof: Let your social media followers and engagement levels be the evidence that you’re a big deal in the industry. I wouldn’t bother pondering on this too much, if a potential customer wants to look at your socials they will.

How TRUST signals impact SEO

I’ve spoken about trust signals from a user point of view and how basic human psychology works on websites, but it’s time to up the ante and look at how trust IS SEO.

Trust is like the not-so-little winks and nods that tell Google and other search engines, “Oi, I’m a proper website, me!” (as my mates from up north would say).

Aspects of SEO that require trust to work:

High-quality content

I’ll restrain my initial need to brain dump and say that content is how you tell Google and users that you’re the expert. I’m not saying it’s this simple but it is. You’ll still have to think about content structure, length, target audience, keyword targets, internal linking and images… simple, right? I won’t leave you in the dark here if you want more depth, have a read of this.

Loads of referring domains and backlinks

Having a backlink means someone else’s website has linked to yours. That could be via a link in content (like I have been doing), a button or an image. If you have a lot of these, Google will see that other sites trust your site, so they should trust yours as well! Having a high amount of links is necessary for SEO success, but they need to be high-quality and not shitty spam sites (side note but SEOs used to use ‘link farms’ because having hundreds of shit links used to work to improve rankings, which work doesn’t anymore). Anywho – here is some more info on link building from us.

Sitemaps, robots.txt and other technical stuff

Keep search engines happy with good crawlability (have I made that word up all these years, Grammarly?) Sitemaps allow Google to crawl all pages on the site that you want to show them and a robots.txt file is like a waiting room come drinks menu come directions for crawl bots. Having these optimised correctly is best practice – not many opinions on this as it’s very much black and white.

Updated, timely content

Don’t be a digital relic, update content regularly to show you are with the times always. There is no guideline to this but it is pretty obvious if content needs updating. 2022 in a title/heading should be changed to 2024 (might as well skip 2023 if you haven’t done it yet, to be honest).

Talking domain authority, E-E-A-T and SERPs

Now that we’ve toyed with Google a bit, let’s get serious about our ‘charm offensive’. First things first, let’s look at the boring world of authority:

FactorsWhat is it?
Domain AgeOlder domains have more trust (like a fine wine, darling).
SecurityEncryption is a must! (HTTPS, SSL, etc, refer back to earlier if you need to).
Quality BacklinksMore trusted sites linking to you will increase your domain authority…
Quality ContentGoogle can tell if you’re putting out dogshit, so put effort into your content!

Now, let’s talk about E-E-A-T, or Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. You could compare E-E-A-T to being the life of the party. To radiate in front of Google, you want to make sure your content is:

  • Expertly crafted: Prove your knowledge on the subject (be an expert).
  • Authoritative: You wouldn’t trust someone who can’t name all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes, would you?
  • Trustworthy: Accurate, factual, and transparent – I hope this blog encapsulates this among other things.

Now, let’s discuss the SERPs, or Search Engine Results Pages. SERPs are where the magic happens, and by magic, I mean ranking your site on the first page of search results. Here are a couple of ways you can improve your SERP results:

  1. Utilise featured snippets (schema, yeah, remember?)
  2. Be mobile-friendly (over 50% of traffic comes from mobile)
  3. Prioritise local SEO (if relevant, of course)

How brands make you trust them

As I sit here on a Sunday evening sipping my tea, I can’t help but actively notice the amount of brands surrounding me. From the logo on my laptop to the symbols on my packet of sour sweets made for kids, (can you guess which ones?) their presence is simply inescapable. Each of these branding components plays a crucial role as trust signals.

Brand Trust and Company Reviews

You might not think about it too often, but brand trust and company reviews go together like The Doctor & Donna (I’ve recently watched the new special). People are more likely to trust a well-known and reputable brand, that’s just common sense. But how do they know a brand is worth trusting? Here’s a clue: REVIEWS.

  1. Online customer reviews provide valuable insights about brands. A good or great review can boost a brand’s reputation and trustworthiness, while a bad one… well, is the opposite. 
  2. Industry recognition, such as awards or certifications, increases brand trustworthiness. If you’ve got a shiny trophy to show off, flaunt it on every available platform. Can’t hurt to have ‘award-winning’ in your title, can it?

Logos and images give subtle signals of trust

Turning our attention to the more visual elements of trust signals. A picture is worth a thousand words, after all, and the same goes for symbols, logos, images and assets related to a brand.

  • Brand logos are an immediate identifier. A well-designed logo should not only stand out but also convey your brand’s identity. So make sure your logo isn’t a template with your brand name replacing ‘Your Brand Name Here’.
  • Customer logos are a form of social proof. When potential customers see the logos of other satisfied customers, they’re more likely to trust your brand. It’s time to show off that your brand is in high demand!
  • The presence of secure payment symbols on your website is crucial. Your customers want to know their financial information is safe, so don’t skimp on this aspect.

Building trust beyond products and services

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: trust signals extend beyond fancy logos and glowing reviews. Your brand’s personality and values also play a role in gaining customer trust.

  • Brand personality comes from the unique blend of traits and characteristics that make your brand stand out. A distinct personality, like a British sense of humour, can create a strong bond with customers. Take our brand for example, No bullshit SEO.
  • Core values guide your brand’s actions and decisions. Demonstrating that you have clear values — perhaps a love for tea (like me), or a commitment to the environment — helps create trust in your brand.

In a nutshell, trust signals are the difference between your brand and/or SEO being the shit or just shit.

I hope my thoughts have provided you with a clearer understanding of trust signals, SEO and brand image. 

I’ll be writing a lot more about, well, whatever I want, so keep me bookmarked or something…

All the best!