Go to content
This week, inspired by one of our clients, we thought we should create a blog exploring the benefits of using customer reviews for SEO strategy.

Did you realise that a review is a crucial part of the customer journey and may have a strong influence? The initial research is done, the crux is when the customer decides who to buy from, or which business suits their needs better.

Of course pricing, location and other considerations will still be deciding factors too, but the likelihood of a visitor making a purchase is increased as you provide them with more information about the product or service.

So how does this affect Search Engine Optimisation? Here are five SEO benefits you can gain from customer reviews . . .

1. Reviews create an abundance of new content:

By not including reviews you are missing out on one of the easiest ways of creating additional rich content.

2. Review content creates a wider range of searchable material:

Searchers are super savvy and some people may search for; ‘Product name + review’ to find out a little more about their purchase as part of their journey. By providing reviews potential customers will be drawn to your site.

3. Increase click-through rates:

Google will use ‘rich snippets’ of your content in search results, having review snippets available can increase your click-through rates from search pages.

4. Improve your long-tail keyword searches:

Another interesting point is that reviewers tend to use the same language in their reviews as a user searching for the product, thus improving your relevancy for long-tail search terms.

5. Increased conversions:

All of the above points can lead to an increase in conversions. Reviews will ultimately help the user make a decision, eliminating any doubts they may have about a service or product. Studies have shown that about 67% of consumers will read 6 reviews or less before they form an opinion about a given business.

If statistics are your bag, here are some more rather persuasive figures:

  • 50 or more reviews can increase conversion rates by 4.6% (stats from Revoo.com)
  • If a site has user reviews there is evidence to show that this may increase likelihood of a conversion by 63% (iperceptions 2011)
  • Customers who interact with reviews and customer Q&As are 105% more likely to make a purchase. They also tend to spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with UGC (Bazaarvoice, Conversation Index Q2 2011)

Online reviews matter for local SEO too:

Consumers love online reviews, and so do search engines, according to MOZ’s Local Search Ranking Factors Survey, online reviews make up about 10% of overall ranking factors (how Google and other search engines decide what to show on the search results page). Other ranking factors are things like; on page signals, link signals, social signals etc. By adding reviews you can improve your local rankings.

Reviews can take on many forms; some reviews might be from external sites offering information, like Yell.com. It is important to stay on top of these reviews in case your business is listed, and a bad review pops-up that you need to address. Each platform will have their own guidelines you need to follow so it is worth checking those out.

Some of the most critical review platforms are:

  • Yelp
  • Google+ Local
  • Foursquare
  • Citysearch
  • YP.com

These are separate review sites and are not displayed on your website, they are independent, and generally you will need to ‘claim’ your business. These kind of reviews can add more credibility as they are from an outside source.

Another type of review site is one you can purchase services from, like Feefo, Trustpilot, Reevoo and Bazaarvoice. The costs vary, but each one of these review sites will offer a slightly different solution. So it is best to do some research to find out what will work best for your business.

The final kind of reviews are those that may be part of your website. You may offer the chance for customers to review products on your site. While these set-ups have advantages, they may not appear quite as genuine to a reader as a review on an external site. This is particularly true as you will have the ability to veto any review you don’t think reflects your services, and it is tempting to censor your reviews. This may seem like a great function, but it will see suspicious to your customers, and they may be less likely to convert if they do not fully trust your brand.

Generally people will want to give their opinions, so starting a review campaign shouldn’t be too hard. Running incentives to gain more reviews is an option. But be careful, there are a few review sites that don’t like asking customers directly for reviews, it is always best to check each platform’s terms and conditions first.