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Thread: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

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    JoyHawkins's Avatar
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    Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I really liked this article by Greg Gifford: Forget Your Testimonials Page, 2016 Is The Year Of Reviews

    I always ignored testimonials pages and looked for real reviews instead so I think this advice is spot on. Like Chris Ratchford said: "It's like having your mom as a reference on your resume."

    I also loved his reminder about not asking for Yelp reviews on your site with a badge as it will most likely lead to them being filtered. I would recommend the Yelp widgets which specifically don't ASK for reviews but highlight the reviews you've already received.

    I'm curious if any of you see actual traffic to the testimonials pages for your clients/business?

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I agree they are usually the last to get indexed in my experience and the one that skew traffic stats (bounce, time on site) which has led me to getting into the habit of advising clients to either re-purpose the page or scrap it all together. Thanks for sharing Joy!
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Testimonials pages are not useless. They pull their weight when at least one of the following is true:

    1. If your online reviews (Yelp, Google, Facebook, etc.) are overwhelmingly positive. Of course, 5-star testimonials are useless if you've got a 3-star reputation on third-party sites. But testimonials are useful if there's no mismatch - if they paint the same picture as your off-site reviews.

    2. If you showcase your off-site reviews on your testimonials page. They won't get filtered. There's benefit in doing that, because some visitors might not have seen those reviews.

    3. If you can use that testimonials page to rank for review-related search terms (e.g. "Boston cosmetic dentist reviews"), and maybe to get your rich-snippet review stars showing in the search results. That's another possible doorway into your site. Even if your testimonials page doesn't rank for those terms, it may rank for brand-name searches, which is another time you really want to impress people.

    It's not an either/or proposition. Have strong online reviews and an impressive testimonials page.
    djbaxter, billbean, Dave and 8 others like this.

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Rozek View Post
    It's not an either/or proposition. Have strong online reviews and an impressive testimonials page.
    Yup! Also - some people hand write thank you letters to businesses; testimonial pages are a great place to put those.
    djbaxter, Phil Rozek and 50Bubbles like this.

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    @heckler

    Exactly. At the very least, gotta have a catch-all bucket.
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    LoL I wasn't suggesting they are never helpful but the "normal" testimonials page that Greg is referring to generally lists random reviews that aren't anywhere else online. The article also explains that highlighting reviews from other sites is a great idea like you mentioned Phil.

    However, I'm not sure hand-written testimonials copy and pasted onto the site have much credibility. As a user there is no way for me to know if the business faked them or not unless I can verify that a user (not the business) actually posted them.

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Hey Joy,

    Greg rocks, and I'm generally a huge fan of his advice (and yours!), as probably everyone here knows by now.

    But there are several points in the article that just don't square with my experience:

    a. "Your Testimonials Page Does Nothing For You"
    By itself, I agree. But it's useful as part of a larger strategy, as I described.

    b. "Customers want to read honest, unbiased reviews on third-party sites."
    Who said reviews on these sites are honest and unbiased? Except on Yelp (which has its own quality-control problems), it's the Wild West. The only way customers will get an honest, unbiased view of your business is by reading feedback from many sources. Why shouldn't your site be just one of them?

    c. "Donít forget that itís a bad idea to link to your Yelp listing"
    Not true. Yelp's own reviews widget links to your Yelp reviews. Then there's this answer from Yelp: Can You Repurpose Customers? Yelp Reviews on Your Website? An Answer from Yelp HQ | LocalVisibilitySystem.com - where they say nothing against linking to your reviews. They just don't want you asking for reviews.

    d. "Instead of a testimonials page that no one reads..."
    People who are already on the site might be interested. Especially if it's where you link to and showcase all the sites where you've got reviews. Not even the knowledge graph or page 1 of your branded search results will show people all 5 or 10 sites where you've got reviews. You can't assume people have already seen all the reviews they want to.

    e. "Instead of a testimonials page that no one reads, youíll have a reviews page that customers find incredibly useful."
    You can have both - a dual-purpose page. You tell customers to go there and check out your reviews, and to consider leaving one of their own.

    Testimonial pages are always useful. The big question is whether you've worked on your online reviews enough for them to be useful. Most business owners don't bother with that because it's hard, so of course their testimonials page just looks like a compliment from mom.

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I read this post on SEL yesterday and disagreed, in one major area, with the conclusion that testimonials are useless. As I recall, author stated that no one reads testimonials - that users only trust reviews. I would suggest that testimonials are one of the BEST ways I can think of to differentiate content between cities in a multi-location or multi-SAB model. For example, a user targeting house painting in Santa Fe and house painting in Taos. Landing pages contain project showcases for jobs completed in those cities. Testimonials, on those pages, from the happy customers featured in the project showcases not only differentiate content (as Joy suggested as being quite important in her recent Moz Blog post) but also help to tell the end of a good story of a job well done.

    So, while I felt some of what the author wrote was important and good, I wouldn't advise pitching testimonials overboard as a valuable source of UGC.
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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    Good points all.

    @Miriam

    We find a decent amount of traffic flowing to testimonial pages from searchers; which isn't a page we build by default (they are only added on client request). What is interesting (to me) is that user-behavior shows some importance in those pages.

    Most flows involving testimonial pages look something like this (search entrance):
    (root) -> service_page -> about_us -> testimonial -> about_us -OR- contact_us

    I don't really care if Google thinks my testimonial page is useful, that's what the rest of the website is for. The testimonial page really is a soft-close (IMO).

    Not everyone is a sleuth that crawls the web looking for information about a business before making a buying decision. Some searchers will take your testimonial pages as gospel if your website doesn't look like something out of the red-light district.

    The flip-side of that is if your testimonials are suspect (superfluous and potentially not legit) and a user does look at 3rd party reviews and doesn't find parity, you'll lose that conversion.

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    Re: Testimonials Pages are Useless!

    I trust that Greg is being intentionally provocative. (His point about Yelp may be off, but anyone here can understand not wanting to touch Yelp with a 10-foot pole, LOL.)

    Easily-won testimonials stroke the ego of business owners and create a false sense of security that they're on top of things. The article reads to me like Greg grabbing the complacent by the lapel and giving them a firm shake. Thus, it's more than a bit over-simplified--as demonstrated by this awesome thread.

    Greg's fight here used to be a daily and personal fight for me because so many "review management" platforms trade on the emotional rewards of easy feedback and testimonials and peddle them as the solution for "building an online reputation."

    But I've learned that alongside the perspectives of our "rational marketer" and "rational customer" we have to make room for the perspective of the "completely irrational bat-s#*t crazy business owner" (a category I regard with affection and in which I regularly include myself).

    As a peddler of review tools, I consider "review acquisition" to be the most powerful and valuable service we offer. But we've discovered that our stickiest tools are the ones that gather clients' existing positive reviews from around the Web and amplify them via their websites and social media profiles.

    So, in addition to the many ways in which a testimonials page serves the customer journey--whether by making the business more discoverable in search or soft-closing the customer far down the conversion funnel--we shouldn't lose sight of the value it may have to our (or our clients') psychology. Like mom's unwavering encouragement, it might just be what keeps us slogging away some days. (Thanks mom!)
    Jon Hall | Founder of Grade.us, White-label Review Management for Marketers, SEOs and Agencies | Author of The Marketer's Guide to Customer Reviews

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