The changing face of SEO, influence & trust

SEO gets people to your website – trust keeps them there

A key element of trust is authority – it’s one of the 7 fundamental principles of influencing that will keep your visitors on your website. Not only will demonstrating your authority keep your initial visitors, it will BRING THEM BACK because they trust you.

We were reminded of that recently, when POD Services – one of our long-term SEO clients – told us the story of their COVID pivot and the award-winning range of “sneeze screens” they’re selling.

It’s an excellent example of how you can use what’s happening in your business to improve your “findability”.

Influencing and trust building

If you’ve been working with us for any time, you know that influencing, trust and authority can be built by supportive content.

“Trust” means different things to different people. And – like health and fitness – there’s a whole lot of “everybody knows” thinking about trust building digital marketing that “just ain’t so” anymore.

In the early days of SEO, if you used lots of your top keywords in your content that you’d get found. (But then a whole lot of people did ridiculous amounts of keyword stacking and now that can earn you a Google-slap.)

Today we need to work a whole lot smarter to build a trusted online presence. One way to do this is to apply the latest know-how on how trust and influencing REALLY work.

The psychology of influence and trust

In recent years, influencing has been broken down into its component elements and studied in detail. It has become a process that you can use to engineer user engagement – engagement that leads to sales.

Robert Cialdini is Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He’s written two bestselling books on how influencing works (INFLUENCE and PRE-SUASION).

His 7 Principles of Influencing are a powerful toolset for smart online marketers.

The real game of online business is about connecting with an audience of your ideal prospects, and engaging them – explaining why you and your solutions are the best way to meet their needs.

These principles are a great lense to evaluate everything from your website design to your SEO investment.

A quick tour of the principles of persuasion

  1. Reciprocation
    When people are given something, they have a built in urge to give back. So helpful, supportive content is an important way to give to your prospects.
  2. Authority
    Who’s in the know has mattered ever since we worked out how to chip flint into spear heads. Demonstrate your authority and your expertise – including with content that proves you know your stuff.
  3. Consistency
    “Something’s changed” was hard-wired into anxiety way back when a rustle in the long grass might be a sabre-tooth tiger. Present yourself and your offer consistently in order to build trust. And yes – be consistent about publishing that content over time.
  4. Liking
    People do business with people they like. You can’t be liked if you can’t be seen. No business operates without humans. Showing up as real and authentic people online is SEO gold – as well as conversion gold.
  5. Scarcity / Uniqueness
    No one wants to miss out. And at the other end of the spectrum, there’s prestige in having what others don’t. Appropriate, strategic scarcity can be an advantage. You can’t sell to the whole world – so make yourself awesomely attractive to your best prospects.
  6. Social Proof
    Most of the human race, most of the time (around 85%, according to Innovation Theory) make their decisions based on the opinions of those around them – NOT logic. Social proof from people like your visitors and from people they respect will win you customers. So build social proof into your content strategy.
  7. Unity
    Belonging to a community matters – being part of a tribe kept us alive. Treat your customer base – past and present – as a tribe of like-minded collaborators.

Be in the Pre-susasion game, not the sales game

Perhaps one of Cialdini’s biggest contributions was to explain framing.

What’s most important online is what you do BEFORE you go for the sale. How you frame your business and your offer will contribute enormously to GETTING you the sale EASILY.

POD Services, authority and trust

So when fine arts services provider POD – who have been investing in SEO for over 7 years – told us of their pivot and their award-winning new product, we knew it was a prime opportunity for them to turn that story into content.

Over the years, we’ve been able to give them page 1 / number 1 results for their selection of niche, targeted keywords and phrases. This year their investment paid off for them in unexpected ways when COVID hit.

POD are designers and innovators, working in a specialist niche with museums and art galleries. They design and build products to display, store and package fine art items.

They’re seriously smart, creative and entrepreneurial. So when COVID-19 hit, they did a fast pivot. They moved into designing, producing, and installing high-quality sneeze guards and point of sale protection – a bit of a change from museum installations.

Their products look – and are – top-notch because these guys are designers who know how to make things look good without distracting from what they protect.

They decided to give their very different product range its own website – called Counteract. (Which we did a great digital strategy for.)

Building authority online

Recently, POD won an award from The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre for their high-quality CounterAct screens.

So we’re working with them on strategies to use that award to build their authority.

What’s been surprising for them is how many sales that their existing client base has brought them. The ultimate pivot became a helpful value add.

Is your content supporting your authority?

The right supportive content builds authority and trust.

Supportive content (and copy) is most powerful when it pre-suades your visitors about your authority and your authenticity.

So take every opportunity to demonstrate your authority and authenticity in your content.

If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and let us help you with the right supportive content strategy for your needs.

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