How to evaluate the credibility of a website includes several factors that are outlined below. When I teach SEO for Search Engine Academy, I get asked about this quite a lot. How many times have you been directed to a website that leaves you wondering about the professionalism, authority and competence of the business? Search engine optimization is about more than just using keywords properly in website elements. Let’s take a look at some factors that make or break a website’s credibility.

  • The first thing we notice is the website layout. A clean simple design with space is appealing and doesn’t cause confusion. The pages aren’t cluttered with ads competing for your attention. All of these should be standard, but I am still surprised to this day at how many sites look like they were created – I use that word loosely – in the late 1990’s.
  • The graphics relate to the topic and are professionally done. There are never more graphics than content. The images and graphics are included to show your biggest solution or benefit you offer. I’ll never forget the time I was evaluating a CPA’s site. All of the images were of the owner’s dog. Now, while I love dogs as much as anyone else, what the hell does a dog have to do with CPA services? Besides, that, just to play devil’s advocate, what if someone who was looking for CPA services happened to be afraid of dogs? “Back” button, here I come!
  • The background color is plain, and is light-colored or white. Nothing advertises “amateur” more than a black back ground with green, yellow or red text! This reminds of me of yet another time, a local computer repair tech asked me to evaluate this site. It was a walking horror story of black backgrounds, multi-colored text, animated images of flying saucers AND American flags -go figure how those related to computer repair – and minimal text that looked as though it had been written by a first grader. I suffered eyeball PTSD from that one for days.
  • The content is useful, relevant and current. Good grammar and proper punctuation is used on every page. The font size and style is easy to read. Reading each page leads you to believe the business has the expertise you’re looking for.  Again, how confident do you feel about engaging a business that doesn’t know the difference between “there,” “their,” “effect,” and “affect,” just as a few examples?

How To Evaluate the Credibility Of A Website For Navigation

  • When navigating the website, do the links work? Do they take you to a new page that’s offering even more information? Do the internal website links work on every page?
  • Has the webmaster organized the pages to present the information in an orderly fashion?
  • If a website is hard to navigate and confusing to follow, it’ll drive prospects to the competition.
  • Overall, does the website give feelings of confidence, competence and authority? Does it instill trust in the reader?
  • Typically, if a website answers these questions positively, chances are it’s been carefully planned and optimized for both searchers and search engines.

One thing that you can work on is your site’s information architecture (IA). The IA guidelines are organized to help you make an easy to use site for your target audience.

So there you have it. These are some basic concepts and items that you can work on to make a credible website. Can you see any of these negatively impacting your site? If so, can you quickly fix them? I hope so!

Until next time, keep it between the ditches!

All the best,