Can You Build Trust in Your Business with Third Party Trust Seals?

Trust seals are those little banners you see in e-commerce sites with text such as “Site verified by McAfee” or “VeriSign Secured”. The seals are issued by third parties who have verified site security, domain ownership, site owner’s credentials, etc. But do they really work?



According to Consumer Reports “More than 71% of online shoppers look specifically for third party seals of approval when they visit a web site”. states that “84% of shoppers know to look for signs that the page is secure before submitting personal and financial details…”. More specifically, Petco ran an A/B test to determine trust seal effectiveness and found conversion improvements from 6% to 8% when a third party trust seal was placed somewhere on the page.

Clearly trust seals can help build trust in your business to varying degrees, especially newer or not well known sites. But which type of trust seals should you choose and what does certification entail? Below is a list of types of trust seals available to any e-commerce site:

SSL Certificate Trust Seal

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) connection is a protocol necessary to set up a secure connection between a server and a client. Any site which processes credit cards is required to have an SSL certificate. By displaying an SSL certificate trust seal on your site you are indicating that your site as well as your business meets the requirements to have an SSL certificate issued. Even if you don’t process credit cards on your site, SSL is a good indicator of a secure site and is therefore a good way to build trust in your business. SSL certificates and the accompanying trust seal are issued by your hosting company. Prices vary depending on the hosting company.

Verified Domain Trust Seal

These trust seals are issued by your domain registrar and basically guarantee that the person or business that purchased the domain is a real entity. Obtaining a trust seal is fairly easy. Once you apply for the seal the registrar will confirm your physical address by mailing you a coded message which you subsequently enter on-line. Domain trust seals are not that well known but it is one more way to build trust in your business. It definitely can’t hurt and they are generally inexpensive.

Paypal Verified Seller Logo

This is a no-fee logo issued by PayPal which indicates to buyers that sufficient ownership and financial information is known by Paypal to assure them your site is legitimate and trustworthy. To become verified you need to have a PayPal account in good standing which must be linked to a commercial bank account to cover overdrafts. If you offer PayPal as a payment option, this trust seal will definitely help.

Better Business Bureau Trust Seal

This is most likely the toughest trust seal to acquire, but it will most definitely build trust in your business since the Better Business Bureau is highly respected consumer advocate agency. A business must be at least a year old before having a trust seal issued and must adhere to the BBB guidelines. Subscription is fairly expensive and is paid annually.

Website Protection Trust Seals

Website protection companies, such as Norton or McAfee issue these certificates indicating that your site is scanned on a regular basis and is free of security issues that could allow a hacker to steal information, deface your site, or infect your customers. This type of certificate normally requires a month to month or annual subscription. The service is not only useful, it definitely provides a level of confidence to your site visitors.

Trust seals have been shown to help build trust and increase conversions up to 8% for established e-commerce sites. Newly established sites can expect even better improvements. The programs that generally accompany a trust seal are definite assets to a business so not only will the trust seal itself generate consumer confidence and improve your conversion rates, but the programs will often be useful as well.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also want to check out these others:

Six Ways To Assure That Your Website Is Getting New Business
How To Keep Your Website Customers Coming Back
Increase Your Credibility by Increasing Your Visibility
Using Social Media to Position Yourself as The Go To Expert
How to Get More Business by Using a QR Code on Your Business Cards

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?



  • By Trust-Verified 18 Sep 2013

    Thanks. You are correct in that there is a relationship between the age of a site and the value of a Trust Seal. There is also a connection with the company size & reputation – larger companies that are well known see less benefit from a Trust Seal on their sites.
    We saw a business site that was 5+ years old use a Trust Seal – A/B split test for 8 weeks – and a statistically significant 28% increase in sales during that time (they stopped the test then, as they wanted to lock that increase in for all visitors, rather than just the 50% of visitors that saw the seal with split testing.