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Testimonials as Linking Strategy – Twist to Link Campaigns

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Standard, well-worn marketing techniques sometimes gain some polish when you rework them a bit. Everyone knows that happy customer testimonials are a valuable addition to your business marketing materials and your web site. Glowing comments from those who have had a good experience with your product or service are successful relationships with your customers and clients – publishing them on your web site shows visitors how successfully you have dealt with previous customers.

Link Troubles
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TURN THAT TIRED MARKETING TECHNIQUE ON IT’S HEAD!

Have you ever gone out of your way to OFFER testimonials to businesses online? There is a very fundamental difference to one aspect of the web as a marketing medium. That difference is the HYPERTEXT LINK. If you recieve marketing materials in the mail and see testimonials printed on them, you are likely to wonder who the people are offering that glowing praise and if they really had such a wonderful experience with the business they are praising. How do you find out when those testimonials are printed on paper?

Here is the reason that offering testimonials ONLINE can be of benefit to you. If you are quoted on a high-traffic web site as being very pleased with a product or service offered there, you will most likely be given a HYPERTEXT LINK to your web site. This is done as a courtesy from most businesses as a way to say “Thank You for your Compliment”. It lends a sense of credibility to your comments because people have the option of visiting your site to see who you are or follow up with you on the comments in your testimonial.

RECIPROCAL LINKING STRUGGLE IS A TEDIOUS EXERCISE

Many business owners struggle valiantly to establish links by visiting sites one by one and asking them if they will provide a link back to their site. The trick here is that you must find those sites that are ‘complimentary’ and not ‘competitors’ to your own business and convince them that their visitors would find your site valuable. Even the search for relevant reciprocal links can be tedious and tiring.

When you offer testimonials, they can be from virtually any site you’ve done business with or for any product you’ve used. A link is a link is a link. Everyone knows by now that links increase search engine rankings – right? The testimonial linking technique doesn’t require such care as reciprocal links because you aren’t likely to have done business with a competitor. The additional benefit is that you needn’t give them a return link – it’s one way linking!

YOU CAN AVOID THE DELETE KEY WITH GLOWING PRAISE

When you send those tired form-letter-type reciprocal link requests to webmasters, they’ll often delete them without even a second glance. Here, they open their email to something they actually WANT to see – praise for their hard work and a little love from their web site customers. When you send a testimonial along with your link request, you are now offering something of real value in exchange for that link. That webmaster suddenly feels grateful for your kind words and may even feel that they have an obligation to link to you if they use your testimonial.

If you are a customer of an online product or service and you’re truly pleased with them, why not send the webmaster a testimonial and tell them you’d be happy to have them publish your comments on their site? They will be pleased at your offer if your praise is short (one or two sentences) and highly complimentary of them. Include a hypertext link to your site or your e-mail in the note and tell them you’d be happy to have your comments published and request a link to your site.

NEW PRODUCTS TESTIMONIALS PROVIDE HIGHER LINKING POTENTIAL

Some webmasters actively solicit customer testimonials to push new products or services. If you are among the first to purchase those new products or services, your testimonial praising them will be particularly desirable as they seek new comments to use in their promotional sales letter page or as teasers from the home page. Give them what THEY want and they may be happy to offer you that link. If they respect YOU as a customer, they might even promote your site in email promotions.

Most sites have a page of happy customer testimonials and most offer a link back to your site or your e-mail so their potential clients can follow-up with you. Take a look at those businesses you patronize online and see if they offer those linkbacks. Then tell them how happy you are to do business with them and watch your PageRank increase and traffic grow!

Mike Banks Valentine operates SEOptimism, Offering SEO training of
in-house content managers http://seoptimism.com/SEO_Staff_Training.htm
as well as the Small Business Ecommerce Tutorial at
http://WebSite101.com and blogs about SEO at http://RealitySEO.com
where this article appears with live links to SMO stories, buttons, blog posts and examples.

Testimonials as Linking Strategy – Twist to Link Campaigns
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