SERP Optimization: How to Get a Green Checkmark in Google

Looking for new ways to get more value from your SEO? At the end of the day, you need to know you're getting the most value possible out of your rankings after all the work you put in to get them.

But Google doesn't pay you anything for good rankings. To get a return on your investment in SEO, you still need to get the searchers click, and at some point, close the deal. Once you've finally got the rankings you need, you're not "done". You still need to optimize the SERP to get the clicks and make your brand stand out.

Trust Signals in Search Results

If you have Norton or McAfee installed in your computer, have you ever seen buttons that look like this?

The green OK is coming from your Norton software, and the green checkmark is coming from your McAfee software, for those of you using it.

The 2 biggest computer security software firms, Norton and McAfee are offering free browser plug-ins that show web surfers which sites are safe, and which are questionable or outright dangerous. These plug-ins are automatically installed in the web browser programs when consumers purchase and install one of these two common security software programs.

The end result is that a significant number of people online now see trust signals from Norton or McAfee when they search and browse online. Because consumers can see these trust signals, you can take advantage of the extra visibility so that searchers will be more likely to click on your link instead of your competitors in the SERP.

For example - if you were trying to order a pair of shoes online, which of these companies would you be most likely to buy from? Which would you be least likely to buy from?



WHY Get a Green Checkmark in Google?

Is this worth doing? Well according to the financials (PDF) the consumer side of Symantec (Norton) makes around half a billion dollars per quarter, and claims that

"Over 40 million desktops worldwide using Norton Safe Web see the Norton Secured Seal next to trusted website links in search results".

So that's a big audience of people with just Norton installed, and although we couldn't find numbers for McAfee, it's safe to assume it's a big audience also.

In addition, remember that the CONVERSION funnel begins with the search. People start making decisions about whether or not they want to purchase from you right in the SERP. If your brand is already positioned as more trustworthy than your competitors, the visitor is more likely to give you a minute of their time to find out if you serve their needs.

McAfee claims that showing their trustmark in the site increases conversions an average of 12% after 300 A/B tests, so there's some proof that some audiences are looking at these.

Also - another reason to make sure your site is verified is that it's FREE to get the checkmark or the "OK"for both services.


How to Get a Green Checkmark in Google

First, find out if your site is verified as being safe in both tools.

Use the search box to see if your site is marked safe in Norton:

Use the search box to see if your site is marked safe in McAfee:

If you don't have a green checkmark or "OK", then you can request that your site be tested and verified.


Here's the process for Norton:

Next, create a Norton Account here:

Then, claim ownership of the site" go to Site Dispute, then Add Site

Then add the site:

Finally, verify your site just like you would for Webmaster Tools - with a meta tag or FTPing a file to the site:

Once the site is verified, you can turn on notifications so youll get an email if your rating changes (if you stop showing the green OK)


Here's the process for McAfee:

For McAfee, the process is less involved. Simply enter your URL in the "View a Site Report" search box, and if you're not already verified, you'll see the following message saying they've queued it for testing:

Additional Trust Signals

Are these buttons not enough of an edge for your site? Or is every site in your niche verified in both services and there's no real advantage?

Well, you can upgrade your listing to get a 2nd trust logo in the SERP. This costs a bit, but for some industries it's worth it, especially if you're doing E-Commerce or all your competitors have green trust logos. You don't need to be E-Commerce to purchase these additional logos through, any site can get this logo appearing next to their site in search results. And in general, the more attractive your link is in Google, the more likely searchers tend to be to click on your listing.

To get the Norton Secured seal, you'll need to purchase an SSL certificate from Symantec, formerly VeriSign. It's priced according to the SSL certificate you purchase. Start here:

To get the McAfee Secure trustmark, you'll need to contact McAfee on their site. It's priced according to the number of domains and pageviews you have. Start here:

Both services include daily scanning for threats and malware on your site.


Why Get Norton or McAfee again?

Again, consider these ads - if you didn't know any of these companies, who would you feel more comfortable purchasing from?

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy 7 Characteristics of Compelling Calls to Action

About the Author: Helen M. Overland

Vice President at Search Engine People, helping clients with Conversion Optimization, Analytics, and On-Page SEO. Online Marketer since June 2000, Internet geek since 1994. Follow me on twitter at @semlady to see what I'm reading now.

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