Does Anyone Ever Question the Authenticity of a Testimonial? Fake Testimonial | Blackhat SEO

Redding
How unethical (black hat) is it to create a "fake" testimonial as part of a landing page. The testimonial is the main vehicle for getting the point across on the page.
Follow-up question: Does anyone ever question the authenticity of a testimonial?
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Wray
Just make the person being quoted you. So “this project is the bees knees” Don R
A company I know of spends millions a year on ads, they have a lot of success with ad headlines like “this one leading tech CTO says to stop doing this online” well that leading CTO is their own CTO and he put it in an email to marketing to make it legit😂
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Lisa
LOL I think if people still believe all testimonials and reviews are real that is on them! Not even really SEO thing to me hah. but ethical? probably not. but guess you have to see where line is and how important ethics are to client. I mean.. it is not horribly offensive..depends on area/work too..

Redding ✍️
Their clients have had the experience we are describing. But, no one has put the experience into the words we have. I guess it's like Fake News… just Fake Testimonial
Lisa » Redding
you mind saying what field this is? Also I think I agree is a bit better if people are actually saying it. Can you leave name out or is that weird? I think there is just something nice looking about testimonials presented well..even if i know it could be fake it is still nice to see, means they care about how they look?

Ivan
It's easy to create a group of clients that can serve as potential testimonials. You reach out to them with an email, ask if they would be willing to participate, and when they say yes, 'lead' them onto what you'd like them to write. Afterwards, just tell them that you will slightly edit their answers to fit your content 'style'. Share the edits with them and if you don't get objections, you're golden.Also, testimonials work better if signed and with a photo.
This is assuming that your clients can potentially know each other – think mid-level executives, niche things – mostly in tech and SaaS.
Then again, you can completely make them up. I've done that to great success. Make sure to target your top 3 demographics with three testimonials. In each, describe a different obstacle to purchase and how it was overcome. Again, golden.

Lisa
good advice. I think this is usually ideal but some fields is not appropriate to solicit review or may feel uncomfortable but if possible yes, 100 percent this (the first part)
Redding ✍️
I like adding the photo along with a name. They can most likely get this. Also like using the testimonial as a way for discussing potential customer objections.
Ivan
That't the only way testimonials work, really. You have your sales copy to sell the product/service. Testimonials are there to serve as nudge from someone they can identify with who has the same objections/questions/doubts.

Davis
I don't know about overseas but in Australia this would get you in you trouble with the ACCC. I send this link to any client of mine who suggests fake reviews. That way I have a paper trail that prevents any liability. https://www.accc.gov.au/business/advertising-promoting-your-business/managing-online-reviews#fake-or-misleading-reviews
Ivan
In the US, the FTC explicitly punishes bought reviews; the EU is getting there, legislatively. In Australia, a solution might be to undersign family or friends who can sign a copy of the testimonial. Maybe?
Ben Allen 🎓
Ethics and white hat/black hat to me are two different things. Buying Private Blog Network (PBN) backlinks and paid links for your site to increase rankings is black hat but not really unethical. Making up testimonials and playing on people's trust to me is very unethical but not really white or black hat as Google's guidelines and TOS are not real relevant when it comes to what you put on your own website.
Lee
Nobody believes 'testimonial' coming off your own page anymore 😃 people tend to look for it externally.

Lisa
agree, reviews are better and off site like you said. But I think in terms of branding people like to think you trying to impress them a bit.
Ivan
You'd be surprised how well testimonials work. They are a pretty useful tool for copywriters.

Curt
Umm very unethical. Likely illegal. I would hope professional marketers would be above this practice.
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This may satisfy you: Some Tips When Making up a Homepage of an SEO Service Provider Website

Lisa
Illegal if using name and photo and signature but I think just quotes not sure why illegal but may be. But yea not good practice.
Curt » Ambalu
that’s why I said “likely” illegal.
Jeff Coseo 🎓
You would be shocked at how many people actually do this. Either on site or off.
Curt » Jeff Coseo
nope. I’m not shocked that crooked marketers are all over the place. That’s why I said I “hope” professional marketers would be above this practice.
Ben Allen 🎓
Couldn't agree more Curt. It's unnecessary and unprofessional. Like is it that hard to get clients that have good things to say about you? If so, maybe you should rethink practices like this? Just my opinion.
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Curt » Ben Allen
yep. I would never think of taking on a client that couldn’t get a few testimonials. Or needed to make stuff up.

Mikey
Why not offer a free item or service and ask for honest feedback.
Someone has a right to leave your business a bad review if you are called out and that alone can ruin your company.

Ivan » Mikey
This IS illegal, unless disclosed.
Mikey
Sell it to them for a dollar. There are 3 million ways around it
Ivan » Mikey
As I mentioned above, it's incredibly easy to get genuine testimonials and get people to sign off on them, even when they have been edited and altered. There's no need to bribe anyone here,really.

Shapira
In my perspective – it's very unethical. As I work in a landing page platform company and I get in touch with a lot of marketers – I've seen people who've done it. I even heard about people who hire people to create them fake testimonials, I find it horrible and since then I double check testimonials when I'm searching to check a product.

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