Building trust and credibility by selecting the correct keywords

Do your keywords make users feel they are being treated in an honest, credible manner

When someone is searching for a doctor, or lawyer, or maybe even an interior designer, a small segment of the online world will include a superlative in front of your common keywords.  Such as “Best doctor in plano”, or “Top rated lawyer”; I have even seen “best black gospel marketing company” on a campaign related to websites for churches. 

Keywords are used to express an interest and desire of information and when your website displays words such as “best”, “number one”, etc… Your potential customers are expecting to find that.  A sidebar comment: If your brand uses superlative’s, your customer will immediate judge the “book by its cover” and if your website doesnt look the absolute best visually, your sales will suffer. If a UI Graphic Designer wasn’t the lead on the website design, you should probably read this post.


Google has a policy regarding use of these keywords and will even prevent Adwords® advertisers from competing within the space.

“Superlative Claims: Superlatives are words that emphasize superiority. In the interest of making sure users feel they are being treated in an honest, credible manner, your ad text cannot contain comparative or subjective phrases such as “Best” or “#1” unless verified by a third party.

This verification must be clearly displayed on your website. For example, if an ad claims to be the “Best of the Web,” the site must display third party verification of the claim. A Forbes Magazine seal indicating this site received a best of the web award would be acceptable, and the ad would comply with this policy.”  Source Google

Now how do you think this relates to
Organic Search Rankings

If you are trying to game Google into thinking your the “best” at something, you are going to have to do more than just stating that.  This is where links from a third party become very important. To rank for a keyword, you need links.  To rank for a superlative keyword, you need links with specific anchor text on the link from a third party stating what your brand is the “best” at.

Without supporting links, your website will probably not rank unless the keyword has very low competition.  Often times, SEO companies will choose to stuff superlative keywords into your SEO campaign attempting to trick Google and the user.

In November Matt Cuttsof Googles Webspam Team addressed the use of virtually interchangeable terms and synonyms.

“My advice would be, all of the things being equal, as long as you can do it without sounding artificial or stilted or spammy, is to go ahead and use both words,” Cutts says. “We have an entire team at Google called the synonyms team, and their job is to sort of realize that car and automobile are the same thing, but I wouldn’t claim that they’re perfect all the time, and so rather than relying on the search engine to really be able to intuit that you’re not only about electronic health records, but also about electronic medical records, my advice would be to make sure that you mention, in a natural way, that you are good at both of those.”

Trying To Game Google

A word from the wise: Stop.  Trying to beat or think like Google is just dumb and counterproductive.  Google is designed to think like a human, so trying to think or trick Google goes against the purpose of Google’s search algorithm. More importantly, Google is primarily concerned about the users’ experience   If Google populates search results for the best dentist and shows a bunch of sites related to best dentist marketing company, then the user experience will be poor.   This leads to high bounce rates, low time on site, and ultimately very poor conversion rates.

When a visitor searches for something with “best” or “number 1” or “Top”, they are expecting to find a third party company or individual reviews that support the superlative.  If your brand or agency is using these keywords for search engine marketing attempting to gain additional rankings or traffic and your not the best, you are not building trust and credibility.

Without trust, your customer will not buy. Period, end of story.  Have you yourself ever bought something from someone you didn’t trust?  What about a website that you did not trust?  Using the wrong keywords will be a very costly mistake.  Using keywords that do not support the content on your pages will lead to a very poor user experience and you will probably find your website at the bottom of the search results.


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