22 Jan Customer Reviews and The Great Big SEO Benefit
Trust : firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something.
Since the beginning of the online world marketers have tried to answer this question: “How can we convert a visitor into a buyer?”. The single most important reason a customer buys a product from an online retailer, over another online retailer, is trust.
Customer Reviews have become a vehicle to increase consumer confidence and an essential part of an online business conversion strategy. It is no longer an advantage, but a necessity. Customer reviews provide reliability, and, also yield many other benefits, one of which being SEO. Feefo, Ekomi and every Customer Review portal available, market the SEO benefits of customer reviews, as you can see in their marketing, for a very good reason. Let’s now look at the main benefits:
1. Unique Content for Search Engines.
Google loves customer reviews, you know this. In order to elaborate on why Google loves authentic customer reviews so much, let’s think of them as content, for a moment.
Customer Reviews provide fresh unique content. Google asks several hundred questions of a website in order to determine the relevancy of a website. One of these questions is “how often is this websites content updated?” The question may not be quite as simplistic as this, but ultimately, it is this question. Customer reviews, as fresh content, have significant SEO benefit. Another key benefit of a customer review is one of time. It requires very little time on the part of the commerce store webmaster or content team, other than asking for reviews. This is user generated content at its finest. We are not going to look into how to gain customer review as excellent resources on this very matter already exist: Here’s one from Econsultancy.
To give a practical example for the need of unique content let’s look at a very common mistake made by ecommerce stores:
Let’s take this example: “Flymo Turbo Micro is ideal for small lawns, and due to it’s incredibly light weight, it can be easily carried and stored.”
This is a product description for The Flymo Microlite Electric Hover Lawnmower. The product description, as you can see in the search query below is being used by 3 ecommerce business selling the same product. It is no coincidence that this description is exactly the same. Either, this is the manufacturers product description that hasn’t been changed by the companies in the SERP’s ( This would be my guess); or plagiarism.
No one single factor that will rank a website, however, all things being equal how does Google decide which one to should rank the highest? CheapMowers.com may have an overall stronger profile, in relation to this product, but if all things were equal Google would prefer to rank highest a site with unique product descriptions. Customer Reviews can be the differentiator.
2. Increased CTR
Customer Reviews, in the form of a Rich Snippet on a search results page, can build Trust, at a glance. We want other people’s opinions, but we want it fast. For myself, when purchasing online, it’s not just the review but the fact the merchant understands the importance of this concept and time gone into building such subtle, but highly effective features. In unison with several other factors, this is minimising risk on behalf of the visitor/ potential buyer.
Customer Review Rich Snippets works in unison with enticing call to actions and strong USP’s. Think about how you can use your customer reviews, call to actions and USP’s to create momentary trust. Get creative!
For SEO AND Adwords
These same Customer Review Rich Snippets are also used within Adwords Ads. For this to show you need to do nothing, other than hit basic Criteria: 30 Reviews in a 12 month period, above 3.5/5.
3. Long Tail Targeting using Natural Language
The content that customer place on a website in the form of reviews will tend to use natural language that is more likely to be a closer fit to how majority of people search the web. Run a search query for a Steam Iron, and the product descriptions will use jargon such as “Reservoir Capacity”, Ionic Soleplate” and “Vertical Steaming”. It is a little heavy on the jargon, and quite grande for such a mundane commodity, even for a steam iron connoisseur. I’m generalising a little here but do most people search like this? Do you? Customer Reviews provide this natural language which can rank for long tail search queries.
4. Getting Ahead in the Buying Cycle
” Product ” + Review
The beginning of the buying cycle doesn’t begin with searches including verbs such as “buy” and “purchase” but more “review” and “compare”. The more expensive or valued a product of service, the more this becomes true as research is a key part of the purchase.
Looking at the screenshot below you can see how Furniture village rank consistency for a three seater-sofa “G Plan Mistral” at this stage of the buying cycle, and dominates the SERP due to user generated content: customer reviews. “Product” + Review
This is some of the core benefits of customer reviews for SEO. This is nowhere near the full range of benefits, and by using the four above, you will see many more indirect and direct benefits, the biggest being transactions. If you haven’t yet taken advantage of customer reviews then you are missing out: big time! Search for some of your products and I am sure that you will see many of your competitors have already taken the initiative here. If you have any questions about how to push forward with customer reviews, alternatively, start a discussion below or give us a call to guide you through the process.