August 10, 2020

Testimonial link building: Using real experiences for success

30-second summary:

  • Link building is one of the most crucial yet most difficult aspects of SEO but testimonial link building can solve that problem for you.
  • Testimonial link building is seen as a great way to harness this raw strength of positive experiences by customers. 
  • Giving a testimonial to a company you have availed service from or purchased from can be a great way to get a link back to your site.  
  • It’s such a simple and straightforward method, which may be one of the reasons why your business should implement testimonials and reviews into your link building strategy. 

In this analytical age, brands are competing on the minutest details. Targeting the right keywords, creating campaigns targeting the right demographic, coming up with effective CTAs, and all those technicalities. However, amidst all that, there is still an element that cannot be measured using an existing tool. That’s where testimonial link building comes into the picture.

Word of mouth from customers can end up making or breaking all the efforts brands put in their campaigns. You as a brand can do everything right but a negative experience by a customer can create negative brand equity that’ll be hard to shed. In the same way, positive word of mouth can boost up your sales manifolds. This why testimonial link building is seen as a great way to harness this raw strength of positive experiences by customers. 

Continue reading below to learn what exactly is testimonial link building, how to get started, and what rules you need to abide by during the entire process. 

What is testimonial link building?

In laymen terms, testimonial link building is using a positive comment from customers that have used your service or product and featuring them on your website. At its core, testimonial link building is meant to provide genuine positive word of mouth for website owners in exchange for a link. In the end, everyone’s happy and it helps brands grow and gain brand recognition. 

There are some finer details involved too such as relevance. Think about it, if you’re a software company, do you want a testimonial from a café from a completely different country? Relevance is key. Just like textual content, you can’t overdo the use of testimonial link building as it’ll end up hurting both parties instead of helping them. There’s no perfect recipe for success in testimonial link building apart from ensuring clarity and relevance. 

Jayson Demers, CEO of Email Analytics says testimonials really fruitful strategy to build links,

“With every testimonial, you will receive Search Engine Crawlers will recognize that your site has an authority” 

Perfection on those true fronts will yield great results for both parties. So, how does it work, and more importantly, how do you get started? Continue reading below to learn more. 

How to build testimonial links 

Without beating around the bush, the whole process boils down to 5 crucial steps that anyone can follow. These are as follows: 

1. Create a target list of products/services

This is where you’ll need to do the most homework. I’d advise you to keep your range of targets as wide as possible but avoid venturing into irrelevant fields. 

Some other things to keep in mind include targeting solution-based products and services. The potential customers looking at this are already at a high engagement point and they’re more likely to convert. I’d also advise making sure you target products and services that you’ve actually used. It would be futile to skip this part as it is a legal requirement. You can still choose to move ahead with this but it’s unlikely any product or service will entertain your testimonial requests if you’re not an existing customer.

Jay Eckert, Founder of Parachute Design also recommends using testimonials for your services,

When you write honest reviews for products or services you are using, it is ultimately benefiting your website’s exposure and visibility in the form of backlinks or through Brand mentions”  

2. Find their contact information 

Once you’ve identified the best possible leads, it’s time to start contacting them. Again, this step requires a lot of elbow grease, so bear that in mind. However, some extensions and tools can help you in this regard and make your job a little easier. 

For instance, ’FindThatLead’ is a tool that  allows you to find your target’s contact details almost at a click of a single button. Just enter the domain you’re targeting and it’ll provide you the details of the right person to contact for your request. Some other similar apps include Hunter.io and Voila Norbert. 

3. Pitch your testimonial via email

This is a crucial part that a lot of people mess up. This is the point where you pitch your testimonial, do not send your testimonial. There is a clear difference between the two and it could save you a lot of time. 

You’re supposed to pitch the idea of giving them a testimonial on the site. While nothing is stopping you from writing up a testimonial and sending it to them, if they reject it, you’ve wasted all that hard work for nothing. 

Write a short and to-the-point email to pitch your testimonial and how it can add value to their overall site. 

4. Write a relevant testimonial

Once you’ve received a green-light to go ahead with a testimonial, you can start working on it. The intent of each testimonial matters a lot, so you must understand what the site owner’s intent is. For instance, if they’re a no-profit organization, they don’t want to sell anything but rather raise awareness. Similarly, a start-up would want to encourage a maximum of new customers. 

Tailor your testimonial based on what the intent of that testimonial on the site is supposed to be. 

5. Create a video backing up that testimonial 

Okay, fair disclaimer, this last step is more of a bonus step. You can skip it if you want but I’d advise against it. There’s a pearl of old internet wisdom to be skeptical of everything you see on the Internet. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer. If you’re someone that’s looking at these testimonials, how do you know they’re real. Yes, they all sound convincing and they have the verification mark guaranteeing they’re real customers. However, there will still be an iota of doubt in their minds. This doubt can be the obstacle between a potential customer converting into an actual customer. You can use video or visual testimonial as well. 

Laws and regulations to consider

Even though testimonials present a tremendous opportunity to sell your product and service using your previous sales’ as proof, there are some strict guidelines on how you need to present them. 

The Federal Trade Commission has an entire set of laws on how businesses can use endorsements and testimonials in their advertising. I wouldn’t go as far as to call these to be stifling but they do require some strict criterion to be followed. The entire document can be found and studied here. 

But in case you’re looking for a short rundown of what this means, there are three things you need to be careful about when using testimonials. 

The context needs to be clear. You can’t throw in a testimonial that was given to you for a different version of the service or the app for instance. If you still want to use that testimonial then you’ll have to specify the details. This is primarily why on the App Store when reading reviews for apps, you’ll find reviews marked “review for a different version” 

In case the testimonials were for quid pro quo, you can still use them but you’ll have to provide all customers full disclosure. This means any behind the scenes deals to prop each other up by brands is a big no-no. 

This should go without saying, but all testimonials you choose to use must be genuine. If found guilty of cultivating fake testimonials, your brand can face heavy fines depending on which state you’re in. Steer clear of quantities when it comes to testimonials and focus on delivering quality and earning genuine, organic testimonials that you can use.

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