Trusting Search Results: Is It Possible?

Trust Search Results with BBB Accredited Businesses

Every year, Google makes hundreds of tweaks to its algorithm to improve the reliability of its results, but, even with a reported five hundred annual upgrades to refine the relevancy of SERPs, some unscrupulous businesses find to promote their own scams.

The US government takes an interest in these issues. A recently released letter from John D. Rockefeller, the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, to Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo complained how a number of unsavory moving companies were using paid links to improve their search engine rank and thereby drive users to sites that are making “misleading and confusing claims,” despite the stated intentions of the major search engines.

Search engines will continue to refine their algorithms, but scammers will continue to find ways to exploit them.

How Do We Create Trust Relationships with People We Can’t See?

Trust is at a premium, which is why purely electronic businesses need a reliable seal of approval. As consumers become more web savvy, they turn more and more frequently to subjective, user-generated reviews on sites like Yelp or Angie’s List.

This is great for great businesses, but it can be problematic because online reviews do not provide adequate moderation or an investigation process to verify the reviewer is actually a customer and explore the complaint.  More importantly, many of these review sites also sell advertising, which at minimum creates the appearance of conflict of interest and has boiled over into controversy on more than one occasion. 

The importance of conveying trust online is why the Better Business Bureau badge is so important to me, as the CEO of a purely online company. The truth is, once we became an accredited BBB Business and added the BBB badge on our site, our sales/conversions increased 5.2%, a change we can attribute solely to the BBB badge.

What Does the BBB Badge Mean?

Increased sales are the result not of uploading a logo, but of providing a demonstrable mark of our trustworthiness in a murky virtual world where anyone can make claims about anything. The badge helps consumers make better choices online. It means that a company has a proven track record of meeting the 8 Standards for Trust and taking steps to resolve customer complaints.

BBB Accredited Businesses are not fly-by-night operations; they are regularly monitored and reviewed by a trusted overseeing organization, the BBB, which is celebrating its 100th Anniversary next month. BBB businesses build positive track records over the long term, with histories of honesty, transparency, and integrity.

Nobody forces a business to seek out accreditation; it’s something you have to apply and pay for, but if you want to stand out as a reliable, honest, and trustworthy business, it’s a smart way to prove yourself online, helping customers make the best decisions, and by doing so, improving your sales.

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About Lance Trebesch

Lance Trebesch is the CEO of the BBB Accredited and Ticket River. He lives in Montana, serves on the Board of the BBB Serving Eastern Washington, North Idaho, and Montana, and loves building companies.