What Is a Trust Signal?
Let’s say you are interested in the topic of a book by an author you aren’t familiar with.
"Trust signals," broadly defined, are the evidence points that inspire confidence in your brand online. The term goes back to the early days of Internet commerce and has become even more relevant today.
The first trust signals, described in an article published in the March 2000 edition of the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, were "trust badges" or seals from organizations such as the Better Business Bureau and TRUSTe on ecommerce websites. Twenty years ago, many consumers were skeptical of providing their credit card information and other personal details to a website -- any website. Trust signals helped visitors to overcome their fears.
Today, not just e-commerce but all commerce is largely conducted online. Trust signals remain vitally important to attracting and converting website visitors who are not yet familiar with your brand.
Trust signals are important to Google as well. Virtually all trust signals are ranking factors in determining your site's search position. That's why SEO professionals and software use terms like "Trust Flow," "TrustRank" and "MozTrust" to describe what they do. They know that Google is trying to determine how trustworthy your site is in the same way that potential customers are.
In current digital marketing parlance, trust signals fall into three major categories:
Following is a comprehensive list of trust signals. Please note that for trust signals like star ratings, newsletter subscribers and products sold, the signals only work if your numbers are impressive. If your reviews are mediocre or your sales are poor, be sure to improve those numbers before using them as trust signals.
Note: the links in this list are to articles that describe individual trust signals in greater depth. We encourage you to explore them to learn more.
Trust Signals: Onsite
Trust Signals: Offsite
Trust Signals: Google
Scott is founder and CEO of Idea Grove, one of the most forward-looking public relations agencies in the United States. Idea Grove focuses on helping technology companies reach media and buyers, with clients ranging from venture-backed startups to Fortune 100 companies.
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