Marketing

Does Link Trust Affect How People Click Content?

CopyPress

Published: March 29, 2022

Do you think before you click? What makes you decide to trust links sometimes and ignore others? The psychology behind link trust can help you better understand how to structure and share your content to increase confidence in your brand and company.

What Is Link Trust?

Link trust is the value a user or visitor places on a link. It considers the trustworthiness of the website and how the link looks on the page or within a post. Other factors that affect link trust are:

  • Content: Is the topic something your audience has an interest in, and can they get value from clicking a link to see it?
  • Brand: Is your brand well-known in your industry? Do people trust that your company won’t share spammy or unsafe links just for clicks?
  • Platform: Where are people finding your links? Is it on social media or within articles on your native channels, like blogs and websites?

 

How Do People Choose Which Links To Click?

mr. wonderful from shark tank says "you've got to make a decision" when discussing link trust

Image via GIPHY by @abcnetwork

People often go through a decision process to determine if clicking a link is worth their time. It’s like how they decide to purchase products or stream a TV show or song. Members of your audience may engage in this process when they’re scrolling through social media feeds or browsing an article or another piece of content around the internet. The steps include:

  1. Does this content have an image that catches my attention?
  2. Does the headline or title sound exciting or informative?
  3. Who wrote the content or what’s its source?
  4. Is the author, brand, or source one I trust, or have I seen it before?
  5. Does the anchor text or the link itself tell me anything about the destination?
  6. Does the link look legitimate and not spammy?
  7. Do I want to take the time to view this page, window, or source?

 

What Does the Link Trust Decision Process Mean for Marketing?

Looking at those steps, you might think you can control the first six steps but not the seventh, and you’d be right. The goal is always to get the person to answer “Yes” to that last question and click your links, no matter where they are. To do that, you can optimize your content for steps one through six so they have no choice but to click.

When Does Link Trust Matter?

If we’re being honest, link trust always matters. Consistently sharing links that go to reputable, safe websites isn’t just good for your search engine optimization (SEO) but it also helps build your brand trust. That way, when people see content from you in the future, they know it’s safe to click. But there are some instances where link trust matters more than others, like:

  • In places where people trust each other less, such as on forums or in comments sections
  • When you’re sharing naked URLs, or those not hidden behind anchor text or media
  • On social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, that encourage comments or threads

 

There are also times when link trust matters less, like:

  • When your links are behind anchor texts that explain their purpose
  • In email marketing and newsletter correspondence
  • In on-site navigation menus and panels
  • On LinkedIn and other networking sites where you can check the validity of the author or source on the platform

 

In many of the instances where link trust matters less, it’s because you have another way to provide context or validity to the link. For example, in email correspondence, people often opt-in to subscribe, so they already trust you as a source. You just have to ensure you do nothing to break that trust through the channel.

How To Increase Link Trust

Use these tips to help increase your link trust:

Avoid Link Shorteners

It’s important that users can read, understand, and remember the link. This takes priority over the link being as short as possible. Instead of using a link shortener, customize the links yourself. Make sure you own your domain name and it doesn’t contain a subdomain from a third-party service, like WordPress. You can also customize the subdirectory by changing the slug and naming the page or content something relevant. For example, you may adjust the URL for a blog post about SEO tips to read www.yourcompany.com/seo-tips-blog. It’s still short but explains exactly what people get when they visit the page.

If you do want to use a link shortener service, ensure it’s one that allows you to customize the tail of the URL so it’s more direct for readers.

Build Trust in Your Brand

Sometimes trust doesn’t come from the link itself, but from who’s sharing it. Try to increase your brand loyalty through marketing strategies, like content marketing or social media activity. Your marketing messages can also help increase this trust and loyalty.

Say No to Clickbait

If your goal is trust, creating clickbait is never the answer. It might get you many initial clicks, but damage your brand reputation for the future. If you trick people, they’ll never come back. Repeat after me: you’re not that desperate for clicks.

To avoid creating clickbait, make sure that the body of your article actually addresses what’s in the title in a valuable and helpful way.

Create Better Content

In the end, trust all comes back to content. If you’re creating quality pieces with delightful images, vetted sources, on topics your audience wants to see, it makes their decision that much easier to click. It’s about quality, not quantity. Take your time and craft something people can’t resist clicking and sharing.

If you want to learn more about how people perceive your content and links, request your content marketing analysis from CopyPress. It can tell you how your content compares to your top three competitors and how your links affect your strategy, good or bad.

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