Trust underpins our most valuable relationships.
And in business, just as in life, this trust is hard-won and incredibly valuable.
Testimonials communicate this trust to your prospective clients as no other words can.
They are essential to any B2B marketing strategy and can be the most trusted source for informing major purchase decisions.
Importantly, they are also a goldmine of content and market intelligence that should be part of your SEO playbook.
Why Are Testimonials Important to Your Business?
The concept of social proof was originally outlined by psychologist Robert Cialdini in his book “Influence: The Six Principles of Persuasion.” The work highlights how individuals look to others for answers on what they should think and do.
Marketers have long recognized the importance of testimonials as a form of influence in the buying process.
A whole sub-industry of peer review websites has emerged to source and publicize product and service reviews.
In the 2020 Crowd Views report, G2 highlighted that while 46% of B2B decision-makers use public product review websites to evaluate purchase decisions, 69% use the vendor website as the primary source of information.
By making testimonials easily accessible on their website and content, B2B marketers are discovering new ways that reviews not only add credibility and information to the buyer journey but also unlock SEO value.
Why Are Testimonials Important for B2B SEO?
- User experience: Testimonial content can be used on product and solution pages, landing pages, blog posts, and elsewhere to add valuable context and social proof.
- Domain authority: Reviews via third-party sites increase your domain authority when related to specific fields and keywords.
- SERP ranking: Testimonial content informs your site performance directly and also improves the visibility of your brand through rankings on third-party sites.
Google’s long-term goal of rewarding credibility and transparency can be seen in how it has incorporated reviews into SERPs.
Over the years, several Google patents have underlined the importance of client reviews as a credibility point.
In the most basic sense, as more people review a product, the search terms for that [product]+[review] become more popular within search engines, which in turn help more people discover them.
What’s more, client testimonials may also help with long-tail searches, which allow queries to tap more niche search term avenues, not just the most common terms.
As a result, they could prove effective at harnessing more varied and colloquial language patterns, helping to target and cater to ever more specific client bases.
How to Turn Testimonials and Reviews Into SEO Wins
There are many benefits to gathering reviews and testimonials, but the key to having a positive impact on your business is how and where you use the content that has been shared by your clients.
Get Out There
There are plenty of B2B review sites that provide opportunities to create and share testimonials. You should be aggressive in your outreach.
The more review sites you use, the more visibility you create for your brand. For B2B marketers, the most relevant sites include:
- G2: A business software and service review platform to help both buyers and sellers better navigate the marketplace.
- TrustRadius: A business technology review site designed to help buyers make better product decisions based on user reviews.
- Google My Business: A global listing that helps businesses connect with potential clients across the Google ecosystem.
- Capterra: An online marketplace that serves as an intermediary between buyers and technology vendors within the software industry.
Make sure your business is listed on the most relevant review sites. Build on customer loyalty by asking your customers to review you – and make it easy for them to do so.
Link your first review so that clients can see a clear example. Give them a template to complete, including keywords that will provide the most relevant authority for your business.
Mine Your Reviews
Client-submitted reviews are an incredible resource for interesting insights and language that can inform your content and keyword strategy.
Take an hour to review your testimonials. You’ll begin to see recurring questions and statements. Notice the challenges and the opportunities your clients experience with your product or service.
Collect that data in a format that makes it easy to quantify and analyze. This could be as simple as a spreadsheet or word cloud generator. You’ll begin to recognize patterns that will inform your messaging.
This should all become part of your keyword strategy.
Create Specific Optimized Testimonial Pages
Now that you have a clear vision of the keywords that matter most to your audience, group testimonials according to the major pain points that have arisen from your research.
These keyword-rich pages can become cornerstone content pieces that link directly to your product and solution pages.
Create Competitive Comparison Pages
Competitive or adversarial queries (e.g., ‘our brand vs. competitor’) are frequently employed during the research stage of the buying process and have significant SEO value.
Select testimonials in which your brand outperforms your competitors, develop search-optimized pages around associated queries, and your brand will dominate those search terms.
Use Your Reviews Wisely
There is no right or wrong way to choose the testimonials you want to present on specific pages of your site but having a few guiding principles can help.
- Which testimonials align with the message you want to convey to your visitors?
- Who wrote the testimonial? Are they well known in your industry? Do their words carry more weight for any reason? Is it a press review? Can you add their logo?
- Is the testimonial engaging? Does it use relatable, accessible words and phrasing?
Use Your Testimonials to Build Backlinks
Use positive reviews as the beginning of a dialogue with your clients. Develop co-marketing content, reciprocate with a review or testimonial on their site.
Also, reach out to ‘best of’ industry lists and comparison websites to show them your testimonials and ask them to add you to their reference pages.
Respond to Your Testimonials
This is often overlooked as a search opportunity.
Google sees dialogue between businesses and customers as a signal for trust and brand inclusion. According to the Google My Business Support Page:
“Responding to testimonials shows that you value your customers and the feedback that they leave about your business. High-quality, positive testimonials from your customers will improve your business’s visibility and increase the likelihood that a potential customer will visit your location.”
Use Schema Review Snippets
If you have any testimonial or review content on your website, adding schema markup to those pages (and your associated ratings) makes it more likely that those pages will appear as rich results.
This is particularly powerful when employed on competitive comparison pages that will show up in search alongside your competitors. Google provides documentation to explain exactly how to implement Review Snippet markup.
Lead With Branded Keywords
Mention your product category in tandem with your brand name when writing content, especially if this content will ‘live’ on other websites. This will ensure strong branding continuity across all shared platforms.
Use any extra exposure to promote your business, both visually (with logos) as well as via shared content.
Test and Test Again
Once you have selected appropriate reviews, A/B testing will help you dial in on what resonates most with your audience. Which reviews do your clients like? Which ones encourage the highest conversion rate?
Testimonials are the greatest gift you can give your buyers. Search engines like Google value authority and want to recommend only the most trusted and credible businesses. It is users who benefit the most from user-generated content.
By following the steps laid out above, you can quickly start to build credibility along with SEO value.
Remember, clients discussing your business, product, or service through shared reviews and testimonials can affect sales more than any other promotional effort.
By promoting the client experience, you will create an upturn in traffic, conversions, and ultimately revenue.