Local Search Insanity & Waving Goodbye to the Testimonial | Websmart Design

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Local Search Insanity & Waving Goodbye to the Testimonial
25 March 2016

Local Search Insanity & Waving Goodbye to the Testimonial

If no one is reading a testimonial, why dedicate a page to it?  What do you put in its place if you do hit delete?

Local search had a bit of a rollercoaster time in 2015 with Google taking away the 7-pack in August and leaving us with just the 3-pack instead. This update basically meant that in a search result with local intent you would only see three local businesses listed rather than seven.

Add to that the increased pressure on Google to make it more mobile friendly and your listing is now reduced to your Knowledge Box, your Google Map location and your reviews.

Although reviews lost weight when it came to Local algorithm, they never stopped being important to potential customers. An insight into doing business with you without actually having to do it so to speak, and now that Google Plus has pulled location information, all your customers will see is your name, your contact details and your reviews.

With nothing else to distract them, reviews have now stepped back into the heavyweight division and have left a trail of rarely visited testimonial pages in its wake.

Customers want to read honest, non-biased reviews of a company that will give them all the information they need to make the decision to do business with you.   The problem is, everyone knows that a testimonial page is the best of the best, picked out by you to highlight the good times, the things that went well.

As soon as you post it onto your testimonial page, it instantly becomes biased, shined, gleamed, airbrushed so to speak and the trust falls out the bottom.


So, why have a testimonial page?

Well, to be honest, we wouldn’t recommend it anymore.  It used to be a great way to show people what your company was able to do, but now the consumer wants to find out the good, the bad and the ugly (if there is any of course) by themselves and then make a choice.

Check your Google Analytics.  We bet there is less traffic on your testimonial page than any other page on your website.  If your audience has switched off, so should you.

Customers are now not only looking for what happened, whether good or bad but also how you responded as well, so it is not just the review itself that is important.  Handle a bad situation well and you can change an opinion in your favour and affectively wipe the slate clean.  They want to know that your product AND your customer relations are what they are looking for.

Instead, try a page called ‘Reviews’, which links to various, third party websites that hold reviews, therefore satisfying your customers and taking away the need for them to search themselves.

Include an introduction paragraph, just outlining that you want them to read what past clients have said about you. Transparency is key with customers these days since the introduction of social media to business.

Google reviews should feature high, if not at the top as they are the most visible and include vertical directories as well.

When you list the various links, make sure that you include target=”_blank” so that the links will open in a new browser tab — that way, your customers won’t have to navigate back to your site.

Don’t forget that it’s a bad idea to link to your Yelp listing, since that’s discouraged by Yelp. Instead, do a Google search for “[your business] Yelp” and copy the resulting URL. Use the SERP link as your link to Yelp, so people will click the link, see your Yelp listing as the #1 result, and then click on it. Customers still end up on your Yelp page, but Yelp sees the visit as coming from an organic search.

By making this small change, you are proactively helping your customers to find out more about your business, and in turn develop trust from the word go.