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12 Easy Quality Indicators to Combine to Prove Trust

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 14 years and 250 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

There are several quick easy ways to establish some trust for your domain. There are really no excuses to not have most of this stuff for any legitimate business website. It’s so easy and the opportunity cost is extremely low compared to the potential benefits. Read: Yes, this is speculative – but it’s also relatively easy, shouldn’t take you long, and MOST LIKELY will combine for better results. You can probably argue each one of these – but why bother when you could be out working on more sites to test it on?

  1. Privacy Policy
  2. Contact page with physical address and phone number
  3. Submit to local listings (assists with above)
  4. Extended period domain registration
  5. Get a half dozen trusted links (if I told you they’d no longer be trusted)
  6. Legit WHOIS data that matches other records
  7. Dedicated IP* – recently mentioned by Jim.
  8. Adding a FEW trusted outbound authority links – wikipedia, industry associations, etc.
  9. Valid code (or close to anyhow) – you can argue this all day, but on a massive scale better code = higher quality
  10. Fast server response time*
  11. No 404’s
  12. Extremely limited downtime*

*If you can afford more for a better host, you’re more likely to be in it for the long run, and likely to be of higher quality. Don’t believe me? Would you be more trusting buying a car from someone with three cars on the side of the road, or a dealership that had been in business 20 years and had a nice location? Why do you think big banks are located in high rent downtown districts and have marble floors?

Pay attention to what is credible to both users AND someone with a search relevance quality mindset. Everyone says optimize for users – try optimizing your site for to convince a savvy threadwatch readin’, affiliate site buildin’ fickle user that you are credible, and it will probably help your SEO efforts these days.

These are the easy ways – you have to work them together and THINK about what would indicate quality on a mass level. Seriously folks, quality indicators = trust. It’s not about keyword stuffing and link bombing anymore…SEO is about proving you’re trustworthy – it makes it even easier when you actually ARE – but even if you ARE – you have to know how to SHOW that you are. Let the damn dog sniff your hand!

Inspired by Michael’s recent post on Google using WHOIS data.
From GrayWolf:
So how would one go about providing that strong indication of quality in the absence of actual quality?

Yes. Sometimes you gotta fake the funk when you’re an affiliate. That’s why affiliates know how to display and identify ACTUAL trust when it’s present. That’s also why affiliate types are fickle shoppers and know how to look for credibility on a website (kinda like evaluating reviews and ratings on ebay). SE’s don’t hate affiliates – they hate low quality, non-trustworthy sites. They’re just gonna “play the odds” with indicators of quality.

Trust is a big piece of the equation right now. There’s too many GOOD sites for engines to worry too much about collateral damage. If you don’t know how to PROVE you’re trustworthy, then you definitely won’t be.

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    Thanks for the advice, we’re saving up for the dedicated server.

  • Stuntdubl SEO

    Don’t even necessarily need a full on dedicated server (though it’d probably help – not low hanging fruit) – just a dedicated IP address.

  • Nick

    Hey Todd,

    When you say a few outbound authority links. Is that on a per site basis (e.g have them on the homepage, and internal pages), or on a per page basis (just reference them on your ‘resources’ page?)

  • Ben Wilks

    Excellent tips there Todd!!

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  • goodroi

    hey todd – great tips that will help sites be trusted by the engines and humans. also i would suggest spending money on a professional web design. it is hard to get people to link to you if your site looks like crap and if you have few inbound links it is hard for the engines to trust ya.

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  • Mugshot

    You forgot About Page :)

  • shandyking

    “try optimizing your site for to convince a savvy threadwatch readin’”

    Threadwatchers tend to speak funny! ;-)

  • shimon sandler – seo consultant

    I am understanding that the more detailed your privacy policy is, the better. not necessarily longer, just more detailed regarding the handling of secure information, and an email address, legal contact, etc. any thoughts on that?

  • Brian Mark

    Very nice post indeed, Todd. Everyone needs to be trusted, regardless if they’re selling something or not. And you’re right… the more you show you’re invested into the site, the more people think you’re going to be around tomorrow and the more likely they’ll trust you – buying, contacting for a quote, asking for your services, or even linking is all related to trust in the end. Heck, even leaving a comment on a blog is related to trust. :D

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  • Adam Sharp

    Your list is good, I especially like the site uptime related ones (people seem to underestimate this one).

    However, I would add something about the importance of examining a sites’ outbound links. Outbounds seem to be gaining more weight than they had previously, as search engines crack down on link selling/trading/etc.

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  • Roderick Coleman

    Very Well said. Some other tips should have been like trust seals, mission statements, company biography pages, etc. Many sites don’t take the time to provide these.

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  • Truxedo

    Still very relevant and helpful information. Thanks for the post!

  • Kris – Health Blog

    Those were all great tips, I’m glad I don’t see anything I am missing out on for my sites.

    I plan on upgrading to a dedicated server one day, but not until my shared hosting account with a dedicated IP starts failing on me.

    Choosing the right hosting company is critical for fast loading times and reliable uptime.