By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor
Becoming a BBB Accredited Business makes sense in so many ways. But one of the most beneficial isn’t so obvious or well understood. Being accredited can actually improve a company’s chances of being found and trusted on the Internet.
BBB Accredited Businesses can use a “dynamic” BBB seal or logo on their websites. When you click on the seal, you are directed to the company’s BBB Business Review on BBB’s website.
The seal is very visible and has the widely recognized BBB torch logo. Its “clickability” contributes to a favorable impression of your site as visitors make split-second decisions on whether to stay on your site, make a purchase or call you for a quote.
If an Accredited Business has shared its website address with BBB, there will be a link back to its site on the BBB Business Review. Search engines value such “back links” from sites like BBB because we continually review all companies listed on our site. Inclusion is not guaranteed nor limited to businesses that apply for accreditation.
BBB is ranked among the top 150 authoritative websites online. The authority reflects the trust that major search engines place in BBB’s site. They know the data on the site has been verified, which means that the data can be relied on to be accurate.
Mark Forst, president of Captiva Marketing, said having consistent information like the business name, address and website listing on trusted online directories like BBB’s Accredited Business directory also increases a business’s profile for local searches. Being listed the same way on several trusted sites is a sign to a search engine that the business is well established.
“In general, being listed on and having links from trusted sites improves a website’s ability to rank well with search engines,” Forst said. “And bbb.org is a trusted domain.”
Google ranks websites not only by how relevant their content is to a particular search query, but also by how important the site is. Citations and links from reputable sites let Google know that your site is important.
BBB’s site also is optimized for search engines, meaning that it’s designed so that Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search sites can easily find BBB’s information, including BBB Business Reviews of thousands of companies, not just Accredited Businesses.
Just being accredited by BBB is valuable. Businesses must commit to BBB standards of trust along with other requirements. They can’t have unresolved complaints against them in BBB files and they must be in business for at least one year. After they are accredited, they need to maintain customer satisfaction to keep that status.
Tweaking BBB Business Reviews can help an Accredited Business’s search engine ranking, too. Adding photos, hours, service area or other information can increase consumers’ interaction with a review. Accredited Businesses may add this kind of content to reviews by emailing BBB Business Development Director Josh Kaestner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article first appeared in the Summer 2014 issue of Torchlight, a BBB magazine for Accredited Businesses and Accredited Charities.