As psychotherapists, healers, coaches, and all round good human beings, we like to think of ourselves as being trustworthy. We don’t steal, cheat, or lie – telling your best friend she doesn’t look fat doesn’t count, right? So maybe that headline poses a surprising question.
In business, and especially online, being trustworthy is based on being reliable and consistent, as well as honest in your dealings.
Perhaps the better question is – does Google give you trustworthy SEO points, and do potential clients get a sense of reliability from you by how you meet them in your blog? Read on and find out.
Probably the top tip for creating trust in you personally as someone a potential client can’t wait to hire is this – be consistent and reliable in delivering information that people can use right away. That means establish a blog publishing schedule and stick to it.
Google is not the only one to love fresh website content posted on an expected schedule, like every Friday or on the 10th of every month. So do the people who are getting to know you, like you and trust you, and are working up their motivation to call for an appointment.
Give yourself blogging deadlines and hold yourself accountable. This is how publications like the New York Times have grown to be a trusted source of information.
A couple other things you can do to establish blog trust –
1. Link out to authority sites.
I know we have frowned on linking to other websites in the past for sending people away from your site. But, if you are careful and link to sites that increase your trustworthiness, this isn’t entirely a bad idea. Sites to link to include:
Major dot edus - universities with global recognition, like Harvard.edu
Major dot govs – credible federal agencies, like NIMH.nih.gov
Major news sources – CNN.com, NYTimes.com
The rule of thumb on linking out is to make certain the receiving end website gets tons more traffic than you do, and is a recognized authority that is relevant to your own website. The best way to link out is to provide links in blogs to enhance the information you are already providing. This increases your own trustworthiness as a knowledgeable provider.
2. Cite sources at the end.
Oy! I’ve been telling you for years not to worry about sources, and to not write like an academic. And this is still true. However ….. if you are quoting statistics on anxiety, depression, trichotillomania, etc, include an online source at the end of the blog post.
You can still forget about in text citations, and don’t need reference numbers and all that. A link to your online source is enough. Don’t overdo it!! You’ll lose readers if they feel you have suddenly dragged them into college.
Google and Trustworthiness
You probably didn’t know that one of Google’s many search engine optimization factors for assigning good page rank and letting your page snippets show up in search results is the factor of trustworthiness. Professional SEO folks have various lists and formulas for testing a site’s trustworthiness and I can’t go into them all here. But there are few that are easy for the do-it-yourselfer therapist to master.
1. Register your domain name for several years at a time. This signals that you intend to be in business for a while, versus being a fly by night scam artist.
2. Consider leaving your domain registration info public, so the address of the owner (you) can be cross checked between the whois registration listing and the info on your website. Use your business address, not your home address. See below for more on this point.
3. Display a business address and phone number on your website, even if you work in cyberspace and never see a living, breathing person. If you work from home, or have a movable feast office, renting by the hour as needed, get a post office box or personal mail box at the UPS store. Having a street address says you are a real person.
My source for this article is: http://backlinko.com/google-trustrank. You’ll find more tips there for backlinking, when you are ready to take the next step.