30 Days to a Better Search Engine Position – Day 12

How customer testimonials or user reviews can help with SEO

Introduction | TOC | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11 | Day 12 | Day 13 | | Day 14 | I'm currently working on an eBook version of the 30 Day Course which will include lessons 15 to 30.
Day 12: How customer testimonials can help with SEO

Day 12: How customer testimonials can help with SEO

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Online customer testimonials can be powerful marketing tools when used correctly

Believable testimonials or user reviews have always been, and still are a highly effective way to increase the conversion opportunities from a website. But it's not always so clear how they help with SEO.

How do user reviews help with SEO?

Testimonials help with SEO in a similar way they help with people reading them. The search engine will index or take a copy of the testimonial for its own use, whether the testimonial is on your own site or on a specialist user review site such as Yelp, Free Index, Google Places etc and then the search engine will make a judgement using its algorithms on how genuine and valuable it is.

Search engine may judge how genuine and helpful it is

If it judges it to be genuine and helpful it may apply a small positive towards your website's position in the search engine, if it finds little value in the testimonial it may apply no benefit to your site, or even a negative effect than may even go towards lowering the site's position in the search engine.

Similar to how we review testimonials

This process is in fact very similar to how we review testimonials ourselves. We read them then check the credentials such as the name, website details and so on, and from this we build a picture of the overall believability.

If we believe it, our trust increases many times

If we genuinely believe a testimonial our faith and trust in a product or service can be increased by many times. The pervasive power of testimonials has driven a whole industry of online testimonial websites such as Yelp, Free Index, Google Places, Yahoo Local, Trip Adviser and more, enabling the generation of vast numbers of user reivews written by users passing judgement on just about any website then encounter.

Number of user reviews creating a problem

In many ways the sheer number of user reviews out there is creating problems for both people wanting to judge the value of firm's products or services, and search engines trying to do much the same thing; in being able to work out which are genuine and which have been helped along by the business owner or are completely fake.

This has lead to a situation where both people who read testimonials and the search engines are both giving less and less value to them.

Truly genuine testimonials will always have value

So where does this leave you, in relation to how testimonials can help with SEO? I believe there is a very simple message here: spontaneous genuine testimonials or user reviews have value, others gathered by various levels of encouragement have a diminishing value.

If you can gain genuine real testimonials you're not going to go far wrong. So how do you go about doing this?

Below I'm going to outline some of the things I've found help to gather high quality testimonials and the benefits gained from Google and the other search engines.

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