Testimonial Link Building in 4 Easy Steps

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By Tomislav

Key Takeaways

Testimonial Link Building Defined: Offering positive testimonials for other companies’ products or services in exchange for a backlink to your site. Ensure testimonials are genuine and disclose any material connections as per FTC guidelines to avoid misleading representations.
Steps for Success:
Identify Targets: Create a list of relevant tools and services within your niche for meaningful backlink opportunities.
Gather Contact Information: Use tools like Hunter and Voila Norbert for targeted contact searches, enhancing email personalization to boost response rates.
Effective Outreach: Prioritize businesses you’ve used and liked for outreach with a concise email template, creating testimonials only upon positive response.
Submit Testimonials: Craft believable, genuine testimonials, considering video formats for increased authenticity and engagement.
Maximizing Effectiveness: Focus on relevance and personalization in your outreach, follow up if necessary, quantify results in testimonials, and consider including video testimonials. Building relationships with industry players is crucial.
A Word of Caution: Avoid excessive testimonial link building to maintain a balanced backlink profile. Diversify your link-building strategies beyond testimonials to prevent search engine penalties.

What is Testimonial Link Building and Is It Safe?

Testimonial link building is a strategy where you provide a positive testimonial for another company’s product or service, hoping they’ll publish it with a backlink to your site.

According to FTC guidelines, ensure your testimonials reflect your genuine experiences and opinions, without exaggeration.

If you have a material connection to the company (e.g., receiving a product for free or being paid), this must be clearly disclosed.

Your claims should be typical of what most consumers can expect, avoiding misleading representations about the product’s performance.

The FTC guidelines apply to endorsements and advertisements targeting U.S. consumers, including actions by non-U.S. citizens or businesses operating within or towards the U.S. market.

Google’s guidelines on link building are clear: actively building links to game the SERPs is discouraged.

However, testimonial backlinks are often branded anchor text links to your homepage, appearing very organic.

Therefore, unless you build an exorbitant number of them, they’re considered safe and unlikely to cause issues with Google.

Still, it’s important to remember that you take full responsibility for building them.

Step 1: Create a List of Relevant Tools and Services

Securing backlinks through testimonials requires a strategic approach.

Before you can pitch your testimonials, you need to identify the right targets.

In this crucial first step, you’ll create a list of tools and services relevant to your niche or industry. Emphasis on relevant.

Relevance is a key characteristic of high-quality backlinks, and straying from it makes providing meaningful insights in your testimonials harder, reducing their publication chances.

To find the best targets, search for relevant tools and services, or look for sites with testimonial pages using “inurl:testimonials [keyword]”.

Additionally, searching for articles that have aggregated a list of tools or services will save you a lot of time.

Step 2: Find Contact Information

Odds are you won’t have trouble finding contact information for sites and businesses offering tools or services.

Contact details are often easily accessible in the header, footer, and on the contact page.

For more targeted searches, consider using specialized tools like Hunter, Clearbit, and Voila Norbert.

Although these are paid tools, many offer a number of free uses each month.

For instance, Hunter and Voila Norbert allow 50 free contact searches per month.

Including first names of business owners, or at least the full name of the business or website, can greatly enhance email personalization.

This approach will significantly boost your response rates.

Step 3: Reach Out Using This Template

Now that you have your targets and contact information, it’s time to start reaching out to those businesses.

Prioritize your reach-out campaign as follows:

  • First, reach out to businesses whose products or services you already used and like
  • Then, reach out to businesses whose products you think are decent and might be worth trying (usually the best alternatives for the products you’ve already used)
  • Lastly, reach out to the rest of the list

For efficiency, you will not be creating any testimonials unless you hear back from the business stating that they want one.

Use this short and sweet email outreach template:

Subject line: Quick question

Body: Hey [Name],

My name is [Your Name], and I’m the owner of [Website or Business Name].

I’ve been using [Product or Service Name] and I’ve had great success with it. Do you guys want a testimonial from me?

I’d be happy to send one your way. Just let me know. Anyway, I thought I’d reach out and tell you I’m a fan.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Domain]

[Your Social Media Links]

Step 4: Send Testimonials to Sites That Want Them

When you get a positive response, only then will you write your testimonial.

You can even create a video version of it on your phone and send that over as well.

This will boost your chances of getting published.

When crafting the testimonial, make it believable and genuine.

You don’t have to be overly positive or sound like a cheerleader.

Highlight the aspects of the product or service you like and don’t go longer than two or three paragraphs at most.

For video testimonials, keep it under a minute long.

And film the video on your phone to add some spontaneity and authenticity.

Use this email template when you’re sending the testimonial:

Subject: My [Product or Service Name] Testimonial

Body: Hey [Name],

Here’s my short testimonial of [Product or Service Name]:

[Testimonial Here]

I added a quick video version too. Feel free to use it any way you guys see fit.

Here’s my domain in case you’re linking to websites under the testimonials: [Your Homepage]

That’s it from me. Feel free to reach out if there’s anything I can do for you in the future.

Best regards,

[Your Name]

[Your Domain]

[Your Social Media Links]

Tips to Super-Charge This Method

To maximize the effectiveness of your testimonial link building campaign, adhere to these straightforward guidelines:

  • Relevance is key: Focus on products or services in your niche that you genuinely use and endorse.
  • Personalize your outreach: Steer clear of generic emails; using the recipient’s first name is a minimum to avoid seeming insincere.
  • Follow up: A single follow-up email can significantly increase your response rate if you haven’t received a reply.
  • Focus on value: Highlight how the product or service has helped you meet specific objectives or tackle challenges.
  • Quantify results whenever possible: Employ data and metrics to lend credibility to your testimonials.
  • Include video testimonials: These can be more engaging and persuasive than text alone.
  • Build Relationships: Dedicate time to developing connections with bloggers, industry experts, and site owners, as these relationships are fundamental to successful link building.

A Word of Caution – Don’t Do This

The number one rookie mistake in link building is overdoing it.

Building too many backlinks of the same type can distort your backlink profile and trigger search engine alarms.

How aggressive you can be with this method depends on the diversity of backlinks your site is receiving.

If your site receives few organic backlinks, your backlink profile can easily appear suspicious.

To be safe, build one or two testimonial backlinks per month.

Remember, there are many more backlink building strategies out there, so don’t neglect to explore them as well.