Most businesses use testimonials and reviews as a way to build trust with their customers, and to learn more about what their ideal customer needs.
Testimonials and reviews are also an excellent way to learn what adjustments need to be made to your product or service.
Using testimonials and reviews as a link building tactic, however, is often overlooked.
It’s such a simple and straightforward method, which may be one of the reasons it tends to be an after-thought:
It seems too easy!
Well, yes – it is easy, which is precisely why your business should implement testimonials and reviews into your link building strategy.
Why Focus on Testimonials and Reviews as a Link-Building Tactic?
1. Establish Trust & Credibility
Not only are reviews helpful to a customer during the decision-making process, but testimonials and reviews are also an excellent way to establish trust and credibility for your business.
A study by Bright Local revealed that 68% of consumers are more likely to buy from local companies with positive reviews, and “91% of 18-34-year-old consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
2. Improve SEO & Rankings
With each new testimonial or review you receive, search engines will recognize that your website has been updated with fresh and relevant content.
When your website is updated, it provides a new crawling opportunity, meaning that your page may rank higher, depending on the quality of the new review.
Testimonials and reviews can also improve your chances of ranking for long-tail keywords.
By analyzing your customers’ comments, you can discover new phrases to use as keywords for on-site optimization.
With each testimonial or review you submit, search engines will see your business name and website near relevant keywords and phrases, which can help to improve site authority.
3. Earn Backlinks & Unlinked Mentions
Testimonials and reviews provide benefits to three parties:
- The consumer.
- The reviewed business.
- The reviewer.
Yes, the reviewer, too – leaving reviews is a link building opportunity!
Writing quality reviews increases your website’s exposure and visibility through backlinks or unlinked mentions.
Here’s an example of backlinks earned by reviewers of Ahrefs:
4 Steps to Link Building with Testimonials & Reviews
1. Make a List of Relevant Sites
Make a list of products or services you use daily, especially in your business.
Consider their relevancy to your company.
If you’re a content agency, a backlink on your review of an editing tool will be more useful than a backlink on your review of a new pair of shoes.
If your review will be published on a company’s website, another thing to consider is their domain authority or Alexa ranking.
2. Check for Opportunities
Not every company provides a space for submitting reviews directly on their website.
If there isn’t an on-site location for submitting a review, check the company’s contact information to locate an email address.
Review sites like Yelp and Foursquare also provide opportunities to review and rate companies, although they’re not as personal.
If you use a review site, be sure to include your business name and website in your profile. You also have the option to share a review on your own site, in the form of a blog post.
3. Write or Create a Unique Review
Create an authentic review with a good deal of personalization. Offer trust and authority, and use a few relevant keywords in your text.
Having keywords and phrases near your business name in your review can increase your company’s relevance to those keywords during search engine crawls and boost your exposure online for your brand name.
Here’s a unique way to create a review that wasn’t just text, but ended up being a cool little video example of how we use a certain software app every day.
For example, if you Google my agency “Express Writers,” around the bottom of page 1 you’ll find that we submitted our “bot” to Drift as a testimonial of how much we love their live chat software and use it on a daily basis. (I built a bot with a playbook called the ‘Write Bot,’ pen name ‘Pen Pal,’ that earned this feature from them.)
This not only won us an indexed keyword high up in Google for our brand name, but we even have a link on their site!
If there’s a product or service that you particularly love, consider taking it one step further.
Share your review or mention the company in a blog post on your own site, and include a backlink.
4. Reach Out
Now it’s time to reach out to the company! Be sure to include your business name and website when you submit your review, to provide the opportunity for a backlink to your site.
If the company doesn’t link back to you, they’ll probably still include your business name.
That’s helpful, too, because even unlinked mentions can be beneficial.
If you wrote a review or mention in your own blog post, be sure to include a link to the post when you reach out to the company.
You can even use an excerpt from your content as the official testimonial.
Develop B2B Relationships Through Testimonials and Reviews
Building authentic business-to-business relationships can be a challenge.
When you write testimonials and reviews – or mention a favorite product or service on your own blog – keep it genuine and personable.
Newer companies, especially, will appreciate this gesture.
To continue to develop your relationship, follow and engage with the company on social media.
When your review is published, share it on your own social media channels, and tag the company.
Establishing trust and building relationships with other businesses provides further backlinking opportunities.
A company may even consider collaborating in the future, having seen your enthusiasm for their product or service, and trusting your company to provide genuine and valuable insight.
Update Your Link Building Strategy
Testimonials and reviews are an easy and effective way to build quality backlinks and improve your website’s authority and visibility.
As a bonus, writing or requesting testimonials and reviews isn’t nearly as awkward as some other standard link building methods!
Update your link building strategy to include testimonials and reviews, and start building authentic B2B relationships that will benefit your business for years to come.
Timeframe: Month 9, then ongoing monthly
Results detected: 3-6 months
Average reviews per month: 10
- Relevant Sites
- Review Sites
- Establish trust and credibility.
- Improve SEO and rankings.
- Earn backlinks and unlinked mentions.
Featured Image: Paulo Bobita
All screenshots taken by author, October 2019
How SEO Works in Digital Marketing
Search engine optimization (SEO) is an integral part of digital marketing.
SEO helps with brand discoverability. When done right, SEO can create the most consistent and by far the highest-quality traffic source which doesn’t require on-going maintenance.
Yet, SEO is usually the most isolated part of the marketing. Whether it is an in-house team or a third-party service that’s delivering your SEO campaigns, it usually exists on its own without really communicating goals, progress or results to the whole company.
This creates silos that can lead to poor results and even reputation crises.
How does SEO work in digital marketing and how can a business make it work better?
What is SEO?
Basically, it ensures a machine knows that your page will be easy to find to a human being who is looking to solve a related problem.
Search engine traffic is one of the highest-quality traffic for many reasons:
- Unlike PPC (paid) traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing investment to keep coming
- Unlike social media traffic, it doesn’t require an ongoing work to keep coming
- Unlike social media traffic, you are not interrupting people’s browsing. Instead you give them what they were actually searching for.
In other words, it is consistent and it converts well. No other digital marketing tactic beats that.
Apart from driving direct traffic, search engine optimization helps build brand awareness by increasing your brand’s organic findability.
Keep Your Whole Team Aware of Why SEO is Important
The great thing about today is that everyone understands the value of ranking high on Google! Sadly, however, many folks only know that they “need SEO” without having really understood what that means.
SEO these days is too hard for a digital marketer to do alone. Many SEOs find themselves in situations where an executive will simply come down and go “Why are we not ranking well for ‘dingwobble’?”
Keep working hard with teams for them to understand how they contribute to the SEO process:
- Product Marketers who are responsible for the business, personas and messaging understand that SEO is critical to driving the bottom line revenue numbers they are looking at. Part of the persona developing process should be the development of the “digital persona” – what websites and search terms are these people looking for? This helps the product marketer when it comes time to develop messaging, as that is going to be critical for developing the content, so the right search terms better be there!
- Field Marketers responsible for the campaigns need to know how SEO fits within their campaign, how it in fact is core to our demand generation, and how to make sure to keep the campaigns integrated.
- Marketing Communications is creating the content, so SEO should very well be top of mind for them, as the content itself will be critical in impacting how successful SEO will be.
- But that’s not all! Often, other groups are creating content (Press Releases, Blog Posts, Presentations, etc.) that also end up on the web and impact SEO. Whether it’s Corporate Communications, Investor Relations or even Legal teams, working with them is critical.
- IT manages the infrastructure and can be very critical to the technical aspects of SEO.
- Sales and customer support teams are at the forefront of marketing talking to your future and current customers, so they need to be involved in the SEO strategy. Creating relevant content goes beyond keywords. It needs to address real problems and answer actual people’s questions, and your client-facing teams will be your best source of inspiration here.
- Executives also care! While they can’t often influence the day-to-day of SEO, they will care a lot about the bottom line, to which SEO contributes.
Educating all of these people about SEO helps empower them, as well as position yourself, the SEO, as the subject matter expert who is not just someone back-office who gives very little visibility into the black box of SEO, but someone who is actively educating and contributing to the organization’s success.
Review and discuss common KPIs early and often to make sure everyone knows what victory looks like to the team.
Additionally, SEO should be a solid part of any project launch as it impacts every stage of product positioning. From choosing a business name to choosing a website builder, your initial efforts should be driven by SEO best practices.
What is the key to SEO success in a constantly changing environment?
As a practitioner of SEO, I believe that you need to look to ensure you are looking at both developing yourself in both depth and breadth of knowledge. A key danger in the name of being informed or being a part of the SEO community is spending all your time debating tactics and practices rather than testing them.
Additionally, SEOs as with all employees need to look outside their field to stretch and learn how to be more well rounded. This could mean learning to code, or educating yourself in some other area of the business you work for. This will expose you to ideas others may not have.
As a manager of people, success is really about diversity of expertise. Who you hire and the kind of people you hire will be far more valuable than much of what people invest in with regards to SEO programs. You have to have people who can roll with the punches and develop a skill for self-management and personal growth.
Finally, I think knowing what your real goals are in having an SEO program are the key to long term success. The reality is you may get more traffic, but if that traffic is not from qualified leads and generates real revenue then the benefit may be very little. Having well defined goals and metrics will also help you avoid chasing algorithm changes and focus on the big picture.
SEO is the most essential long-term digital marketing strategy but to make it really effective, you need a knowledge team that is well-integrated into the company’s life. Good luck!
Ann Smarty is the brand NINJA at Internet Marketing Ninjas as well as the founder of numerous startups including MyBlogGuest, MyBlogU, ViralContentBee, TwChat and many more.
Ann Smarty has been an online marketing consultant for 10 years providing high-quality digital marketing consulting through her services and courses (both free and paid).
Ann Smarty’s content marketing ideas have been featured in NYtimes, Mashable, Entrepreneur, Search Engine Land and many more. She is known for her indepth tool reviews, innovative content marketing advice and actionable digital marketing ideas.
Source: Ann Smarty
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