What Does Google Like?
I’ve written before about the holy trinity of the Google Caffeine algorithm – Content, Backlinks and Activity – these are vital to persuading the Google spiders that your site is worth pushing up the rankings for your chosen keywords.
Having testimonials praising your work/service/product is a great way to show that, not only do you provide a great service, but that people are reading and interacting with your site. Happy clients should be encouraged to register their satisfaction on your website.
How To Write Testimonials
However, your satisfied customers need to know how to write testimonials that will encourage prospective clients to pick up the phone but also please the Google spiders. It is not enough for your regular patrons to express their gratitude in monosyllabic superlatives. ‘Great’, ‘Fabulous’ and ‘Outstanding’ are wonderful in a face-to-face reference but, for the purposes of local search engine optimisation, they are far too generalised and, therefore, meaningless.
Any review needs to be a complete sentence which includes a few of the keywords that relate to the site/service/product/industry in question. So, whether it’s a massage that sorted out your injury, a website design service that drove traffic to your business or a yoga class that you enjoyed, those specific words need to be mentioned in the testimonial in order for the comment to be indexed in the correct place by Google. However, care should be taken to ensure that the wording does not seem too contrived as this will lose credibility with the search engines – it isn’t always necessary to be geographically or product specific at all times. For example, you don’t have to specify the type of massage or yoga every time you mention those generic terms.
And, as with any content search engine optimisation, all accompanying pictures should also include relevant keywords in their ‘alt’ tag.
Done with care and combined with great content and relevant backlinks, the writing of testimonials can be a key part of your local SEO strategy.
Having said all that, you should not overload the site with such praise – five to seven should be sufficient – and any additional testimonials should be directed towards some of the free local listing or social search sites on which you are listed, such as Yelp, Free Index or Qype. Some business owners even offer some form of incentive to encourage their clientele to do this – 10% off on their next visit, that sort of thing.
Computer-savvy customers can also be persuaded to ‘like’ your fan page on Facebook, tweet the url of your website on Twitter and bookmark informative pages or posts on social media sites like Stumbleupon, Digg or Delicious.
Great service is no longer about being personally thanked vocally or by letter, it’s getting your expertise out to the wider audience and, if your clients know how to write testimonials effectively, these can really help your Google ranking.