Demystifying the Impact of Google Trust Signals on SEO

Google trust signals have been discussed for a decade now. But they are still a mystery for many of us.

What exactly are these trust signals, and how do they impact SEO? Can we measure trust and really optimize it? 

Today, let's figure out all these questions. 

What is a Google trust signal?

Google's trust signals are the indicators of a website's credibility, authority, and relevance. These signals include various factors that Google algorithms assess to determine a website's trustworthiness.

The problem is that SEOs can't figure out exactly what these signals are. The "suspects" are the following: 

By the way, you can use the table as a checklist for improving site trustworthiness. 

How does Google measure trust?

First of all, there is no metric that would measure trust. Here is what John Mueller said on the matter:

I don’t think we have like a trust factor that we can look at and say, oh trust is at (I don’t know) nine of out of twelve or whatever number you would have there.
So that’s kind of (I don’t know)... it’s almost like a philosophical question at that point.

It’s like, does improving the quality of your content overall make a website more trustworthy with regards to Google?

And like well… I don’t know. There are no metrics specifically for that.

John Mueller from Google

Google says trust is only important because of third-party raters — this is what raters have to look at. But that does not mean there’s a part of Google's algorithms that rates sites for trustworthiness.

However, there is a Google patent of 2006 that talks about eliminating spam and ranking search results based on trust. Many call it TrustRank (but originally, the name was taken by another search engine, so Google can't use it officially). 

Here is the abstract from this patent:

A search engine system provides search results that are ranked according to a measure of the trust associated with entities that have provided labels for the documents in the search results. A search engine receives a query and selects documents relevant to the query. The search engine also determines labels associated with selected documents, and the trust ranks of the entities that provided the labels. The trust ranks are used to determine trust factors for the respective documents. The trust factors are used to adjust information retrieval scores of the documents. The search results are then ranked based on the adjusted information retrieval scores

Google Patent, Ramanathan V. Guha

Can we assume Google uses this TrustRank algorithm in today's search? We can't say for sure. Probably in this or another way, yes. 

Practical: You can estimate how authoritative and trustworthy your site is with any SEO PowerSuite tool

In SEO PowerSuite tools, there is a metric called Domain Strength, which may be the closest equivalent of Google TrustRank.

Domain Strength is a complex metric measuring website authority and power. It is calculated based on various parameters, such as Domain InLink Rank (based on Google’s original PageRank formula), number of backlink domains, social signals, and domain age. The higher your Domain Strength is, the more trusted your site is in the eyes of Google. 

For example, here is the Domain Strength of the brand that needs no introduction:

And the Domain Strength of Apple’s competitor:

How do trust signals relate to E-E-A-T?

I was confused by how trust signals and E-E-A-T are connected, so I decided to figure it out for myself. If you also want to understand how these concepts relate, read on.

In short, trust signals are not the same thing as E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness), but they are closely related.

Trust signals are like building blocks for E-E-A-T. Google uses these trust signals to assess how well a website meets the E-E-A-T criteria.

However, as Google states, E-E-A-T itself is not a ranking factor:

... we have been occasionally asked if E-A-T is a ranking factor.

Our automated systems use a mix of many different signals to rank great content.

We’ve tried to make this mix align what human beings would agree is great content as they woud assess it according to E-A-T criteria.

Given this, assessing your own content in terms of E-A-T criteria may help align it conceptually with the different signals that our automated systems use to rank content.


Е-E-A-T is a broader concept used by Google to assess the overall quality and credibility of content and websites, particularly for YMYL topics (those that are sensitive or require expertise, such as health or finance). But Google mentioned many times that E-E-A-T is applied to every search query, not only YMYL. 

This way, trust signals are crucial in establishing E-E-A-T, critical concepts for website quality in Google's search results. Here's how they connect:

  • E-E-A-T relies on trust: Google wants to surface information from credible sources. Trust signals help them identify websites that users can rely on for accurate and helpful information.
  • Trust signals indicate E-E-A-T: By looking at various trust signals, Google can indirectly measure a website's expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.

For example, a website with a well-established reputation in its field (authoritativeness), positive reviews and mentions from other trusted sources (trustworthiness), and content written by qualified authors (expertise) will likely have many trust signals that contribute to its strong E-E-A-T.

SEO in 2024: 8 Trends to Expect in the Future Learn more

Do trust signals impact SEO?

Google says in their guidelines for Quality Raters:

Trust is the most important member of the E-E-A-T family because untrustworthy pages have low E-E-A-T no matter how Experienced, Expert, or Authoritative they may seem. For example, a financial scam is untrustworthy, even if the content creator is a highly experienced and expert scammer who is considered the go-to on running scams!


So, yes, obviously trust signals do impact SEO and rankings. Trust signals enhance credibility and authority and, therefore, improve rankings and increase organic traffic. Sounds like an answer to all our questions, right? But the point is that trust is influenced by exactly what we call ranking factors, i.e., content quality, backlinks, external links, etc.

Here is how trust signals impact SEO: factors like high-quality content, backlinks from reputable websites, and positive user reviews establish your website as an expert voice in your field. 

The more trust signals you have, the more Google sees you as a reliable and authoritative source. This translates to higher rankings on the SERPs. And when your website appears at the top of search results, it gets more organic traffic.

Plus, strong trust signals mean long-term sustainability. By building trust and authority, you're laying the groundwork for long-term SEO success. Thus, your website may stay visible and relevant in the ever-evolving search engine landscape.

How do you optimize your trust signals for SEO?

Based on all the information we have, to optimize trust signals and maximize SEO performance, you need to use the following tactics:

Links from authoritative sites are the best way to show Google your site can be trusted. 

You can approach link building in two ways: drive natural link building and run link-building campaigns. Ideally, use both methods. 

  • Natural link building. Publish content that your readers would like to share and link to. This often includes research, case studies, field experiments, and helpful infographics.
  • Link-bulding campaigns. Reach out to your authoritative partners with an offer to link to your site or guest post.

Practical: Use LinkAssistant to find the best prospects for link building 

LinkAssistant allows you to build new partnerships using 10+ methods. Besides, the tool provides the most vital metrics for each prospect like Domain Strength and Domain InLink Rank. This way, you can be sure that you partner only with authoritative domains.

Download LinkAssistant

What's important here is putting quality over quantity when building links. Focus on acquiring backlinks from reputable and relevant websites within your industry. Don't chase numbers. 

When running link-building campaigns, try to establish great connections with influencers and industry experts. Not just offer one-time collaboration. Having some well-known people support your content can help you earn more links to your website and make your brand more trustworthy.

And finally, monitor the quality of your backlink profile regularly and get rid of any spammy or irrelevant links to maintain a healthy link profile.

Practical: Use SEO SpyGlass to keep an eye on your backlink profile

SEO SpyGlass audits your website's backlinks and provides vital data on each of them. This way, you can spot if there are backlinks that threaten your website's authority and trustworthiness. 

Download SEO SpyGlass

2. Publish quality content

The most annoying phrase you've probably heard a billion times. Yet, the rule is still critical for SEO success. Focus on creating high-quality, relevant content that resonates with your target audience and demonstrates expertise in your field.

Here is what I and, hopefully, Google mean by "quality content":

  • You conduct thorough research to identify trending topics and address common pain points within your target audience.
  • You make sure there are no multiple grammar or lexical mistakes in your copies.
  • You cover the topic to the fullest (this way, build topical authority).
  • Your content is unique and provides real value. 
  • You include relevant keywords naturally, without keyword stuffing being detected.

Practical: Using Content Editor will help you create comprehensive and SEO-friendly content

With WebSite Auditor, you can optimize your copy with relevant keywords (based on what's ranking on the SERP), which will improve your content relevance in Google's eyes.

Download WebSite Auditor

However, as John Mueller once clarified,

When it comes to the quality of the content, we don't mean like just the text of your articles.

It's really the quality of your overall website.

And that includes everything from the layout to the design.

Like, how you have things presented on your pages, how you integrate images, how you work with speed, all of those factors they kind of come into play there.

John Mueller from Google

So, you need to pay attention not only to your texts but also to your layout, design, images, and videos. 

  • Structure your content with a clear hierarchy, using headings, subheadings, and bullet points to guide users visually. 
  • Implement a content strategy that includes a variety of formats, such as articles, videos, infographics, and podcasts, to cater to different preferences.
  • Implement a well-thought-out internal linking strategy that connects relevant pages on your website.
  • Ensure your website looks great and functions flawlessly on all devices, especially mobile phones.

3. Have a Privacy Policy page on your site

A clear and well-written Privacy Policy shows you're transparent about data collection and user privacy, which can be seen as a sign of credibility by Google.

Additionally, users are more likely to engage with a site they trust. This leads to lower bounce rates and longer dwell times, and these are positive signals for Google. 

That's why you need to clearly outline your website's privacy practices and data handling procedures to reassure visitors about the security of their personal information.

It's also important to comply with data protection regulations such as GDPR or CCPA to build trust and transparency with customers.

4. Publish About Us and Authors pages

At SEO PowerSuite, we used to make fun of these guesstimations about About Us and Author pages. But did we end up creating them? For sure.

These pages let you showcase the team's qualifications and experience. Potentially, this boosts your content's credibility. Author pages also connect readers with the writers, cultivating trust and encouraging repeat visits for content by familiar creators. 

You need to provide detailed information about your company's history, mission, and values to humanize your brand and establish credibility. It's good for your users, and what's good for them is good for Google. 

As for author pages, include bios and credentials of authors contributing to your content to show off expertise and build trust with readers. Surely, add links to each author's social media profiles.

5. Optimize your pages for branded searches as well

When people find your site for branded terms, it shows search engines that you have a recognized brand and satisfied users. This speaks about your website's legitimacy and potentially boosts your ranking for non-branded searches as well.

You can create dedicated landing pages and optimize them with meta titles, descriptions, and headers containing branded keywords. This will improve your site’s visibility in branded search results.

A great hack is to run Google Ads for branded searches to dominate the SERP and maintain your brand authority.

Google pays attention to the resources you refer to on your site. And if these are some poor quality, unreliable sites, you won't also be trusted as a credible resource.

So, conduct thorough research on the credibility and reputation of websites before including outbound links in your content. 

It would be great to regularly audit outbound links to ensure they lead to reliable and up-to-date information.

Link Equity Guide: 12 Signals of Backlink Quality Learn more

7. Maintain website security

HTTPS has long been a ranking factor. Secure sites are more likely to rank higher in search results.

Implement SSL encryption and HTTPS protocol to protect user data and provide a safe and trustworthy browsing experience for users.

Don't forget to regularly update software and plugins to patch vulnerabilities and minimize the risk of security breaches.

8. Improve your CTR

While CTR may be an indirect trust signal, it can be a helpful indicator of how well your content resonates with users, which search engines do take into account. 

There is even a Google patent that explains the use of such metrics as CTR and time on page in the running process. But, again, we can't know for certain if it's used in search.

So, focus on creating informative and catchy titles and descriptions that accurately reflect your content purpose to get those clicks from SERPs and improve your overall SEO.

9. Engage the audience by all means

Staying active on social media is a great way to keep your brand in the minds of your audience. When you reply to comments and messages, it shows that you value their opinion and are easy to approach. This creates a good impression of your brand, which can translate to more people searching for you online. Ultimately, this can help improve your website's visibility on search engines and build more trust with your audience.

More than that, high-performing social media content is more likely to get shared and noticed by other influencers in your niche. If they find your content valuable, they might link back to it from their website, which is a major SEO win.

Here are some ways to actively engage on social media:

  • Respond promptly to comments and messages.
  • Participate in relevant discussions and use industry hashtags.
  • Run polls and ask questions to spark conversations.
  • Run contests and giveaways to encourage interaction.
  • Show appreciation for shares and mentions.
  • Go live to connect with your audience in real time.

10. Eliminate all the technical and on-page issues

A clean and well-functioning website is a foundation for trust with both users and search engines. Technical and on-page SEO issues can all frustrate users and drive them to leave your website quickly. This sends negative signals to search engines, potentially hurting your rankings.

Here is a list of issues you should address first:

  • server errors
  • mixed content
  • page speed issues
  • content duplicates
  • mobile friendliness issues

Practical: Run a quick site audit with WebSite Auditor to discover all issues that may ruin the impression about your site

WebSite Auditor scans your site and provides a list of factors marked with Error and Warning. These ones require fixing in the first place.

Download WebSite Auditor

11. Update your content regularly

Google values fresh content as it is supposed to bring out more accurate and up-to-date information. Plus, users will also be grateful.

Develop a content calendar and schedule regular updates to ensure your website remains relevant and competitive in search results.

It won't be odd to monitor industry trends and news to find new content ideas and capitalize on emerging topics.

How to Update Old Content for a Quick Boost in Search Learn more

12. Make sure you register your domain for a long period of time ahead

Registering your domain for a long period shows you're a serious and committed website. Search engines might see a short-term registration as a sign of a temporary or low-quality site. Locking in your domain for several years indicates you're here to stay. It can boost your website's credibility in the eyes of search engines.

Avoid frequent domain changes or registrations with short expiration dates. These may raise suspicions and negatively impact the trustworthiness of your site.

13. Run sentiment analysis

Managing your reputation online is crucial for your business. So, keep an eye on what people are saying about your brand and respond to their feedback timely. This way, you can ensure that your customers are happy and trust your brand. 

This creates a positive image of your brand and can lead to more people engaging with your business, linking to your website, and finding you more easily on search engines.

Here is what you need to do:

  • Monitor online sentiment and feedback related to your brand or website through social media listening tools like Awario.
  • Address negative feedback promptly and transparently.
  • Use insights from sentiment analysis to refine your content strategy and messaging to better resonate with your target audience and improve overall trustworthiness.

Reputation Management SEO: the Art of Сontrolling SERPs Learn more

14. Add trust seals to your site

Trust seals act as visual cues that validate your website's security and legitimacy. By displaying seals from recognized security companies, you give users peace of mind when entering sensitive information. This can directly lead to increased conversions and lower bounce rates, which are positive trust signals that search engines take into account when ranking your website.

Display badges only from reputable organizations such as McAfee Secure, Norton Secured, BBB Accredited, etc.

Regularly update trust seals to ensure compliance with evolving security standards and regulations.

15. Add contact information and provide support options

Adding contact information and support options is essential for optimizing Google trust signals. By sharing your contact details like business address, phone number, and email address, you enhance your website's credibility and accessibility for both users and search engines.

Additionally, providing support options such as live chat, email support, and phone assistance demonstrates a commitment to customer satisfaction. This signals to Google that you prioritize user experience.


In wrapping up, Google trust signals are the key to boosting your website's SEO game. Think of them as signs that tell Google your site is credible and reliable. 

So, how do you amp up these trust signals? Start by getting quality backlinks from trustworthy sites, sharing top-notch content, and making sure your website is secure. Don't forget to engage with your audience on social media, too.

By doing all this, you're not just climbing search engine rankings – you're also building trust with your audience and setting yourself up for long-term success online.

Do you have other trust signals in mind? Share your thoughts in our private user group!

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