Potential clients will likely to look up reviews and testimonials for your company before choosing to do business with you. It’s getting easier for customers to find what they’re looking for as local review sites often dominate the first page in a search for your business name. Reviews are important for local businesses, such as restaurant and bars. Think about it, would you want to dine at a place that has terrible reviews for food and/or service? Reviews do us all a service and highlight the good as well as the bad.
Regardless of your industry, adding customer reviews to your website will help boost your business’ credibility and trust. But there are a few things to remember:
Don’t: Add generic reviews or endorsements. Although something short and simple like “They did a good job!” or “Great customer service” sounds good, it’s not the right type of reviews you want to add to your website. This type of user-generated content doesn’t add any value to your site or benefit for readers. It’s basically fodder to fluff your ego up because you don’t have any testimonials with substance to showcase.
Do: Add the client review along with your own summary or background on the situation/transaction. Of course, this doesn’t apply to all industries but for service-oriented businesses, it’s important to tell the story of a certain client you’ve been working with, how they were before they came to you and what your company did to fix the problem and present a clear solution. Think of this in terms of case results, white papers or case studies.
Don’t: Copy and paste reviews from other sources and put them on your site. This presents a duplicate content issue, even if it is for your own business but on a third party site.
Google especially doesn’t like it when you copy your own Google Reviews to highlight on your site. They often deal with it by deleting the review from your Google listing.
Do: Showcase good reviews in an SEO and user friendly way. If there really is a review that is worthwhile that you would like to highlight on your site, you can present it in an image (to avoid duplicate content issues) and link to the original source. This way, potential customers can view the review as well as go to the third party source where it’s located. You can gain credibility going this route because it shows that you’re not just pulling reviews out of thin air but that the testimonials are actually legitimate.
Another option to showcasing Google Reviews, while avoiding duplicate content issues that could lead to the actual reviews to be deleted, is to share them in email newsletters.
Don’t: Gather reviews on your website and off-site all at once. While this seems like the most logical and easiest way to gather reviews, it can seem unnatural. If you’re adding a lot of content to your site, it’s better to spread it out over a certain amount of time. When you ask customers for reviews on third party sites, a sudden surge could cause the reviews to be filtered because the pattern seems unnatural.
Do: Spread out your testimonial requests and posts. Instead, you might want to highlight a few good reviews on your website per quarter or season. When you have some good user reviews to present, it’s more useful to present it in a meaningful way that makes sense. For example, it would make sense for an e-commerce store to highlight reviews for fall or winter items when they are in season.
Don’t: Post fake reviews or testimonials for other businesses. Not only does this pose a moral issue, but legally, you can get in a ton of trouble. Recently 19 businesses in New York were busted by the Attorney General. You can check out the entire list here and warning, it does contact some sketchy SEO and internet marketing companies!
Do: Think about testimonial quality over quantity. If your business is small or new, it wouldn’t make sense to fake reviews for the sake of having more, seemingly good reviews. Trust me, you’re not fooling anyone! Good reviews and customer relationships grow over time and it’s something that you will have to be patient with. Taking the short cut of faking or buying reviews isn’t worth it in the long run.
For a business, good reviews can be a goldmine while bad reviews can certainly lead to a downfall. The best thing about adding real reviews to your website is that you can highlight the positive and build up your reputation from there.
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.