Site Seals: Reasons to use them. Reasons not to.

Entrust Product Management

Every SSL vendor offers a site seal, a small graphic that can be displayed on the pages that offer SSL encryption.  But are they worthwhile displaying?  Here’s some reasons a website should consider using a site seal, and some reasons not:

Three good reasons to display a site seal:

  1. Just another trust indicator.  Savvy users know to look for the green colored address bar, the small lock, or the “https” at the beginning of a secure website address.  But does everyone know that?  A site seal may be the one thing that your customers look for as a symbol of trust.  In a perfect world users should be trained to look for all visual indicators of website security, but the reality is that you need to offer as many trust indicators as possible to keep customer confidence high.
  2. If there’s a look-up function.  Those savvy users know they can click on the green bar and the small lock in the browser.  Likewise those who look to a site seal for verification should know that if you click on it, a confirmation from the SSL vendor is shown from the SSL vendor’s website.
  3. Brand reinforcement. Displaying a site seal indicating security from a reputable vendor reinforces your own brand image.  You are essentially associating your brand with the brand you display.

So what are three reasons you wouldn’t want to use a site seal?

  1. Poor brand association.  The last thing you want to do is associate your company with one that doesn’t present the same positive brand identity.  You want to make sure you’re displaying a brand that doesn’t represent unprofessionalism, sexism, or values that you don’t want attributed to your brand.
  2. Just the graphic. A properly installed  SSL site seal lets users click on the graphic to get confirmation of the company and website.  If the site seal is just a graphic, it’s often a sign of a phishing site or an improperly installed seal.
  3. A Pseudo seal.  You don’t have to search the web too much to find questionable companies selling “site seals” that are nothing more than a graphic with little or no verification or security behind it.  Since consumers are becoming more educated that a true SSL site seal reinforces the other secure visual indicators, it stands to reason you’ll lose more customers than you’ll gain.

One can conclude that a site seal is a good way to reinforce your brand, enhance consumer confidence and decrease customer drop-outs.  But only if installed properly and from a reputable source.

You can find out more about Entrust’s site seal by visiting our FAQ here.

Entrust Product Management
Entrust Product Management
Product Manager

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