UGC: 4 Ways to Use Reviews to Boost SEO


UGC: 4 Ways to Use Reviews to Boost SEO

December 12, 2014

There are multiple types of user-generated content and they can all help to boost traffic and engagement on your site. But, let’s talk about one type today: user reviews.

User reviews are a great way to acquire new content regularly and boost customer confidence, but when leveraged appropriately, they can also increase traffic and conversions. Here’s how you can make that happen:

1)  Ask for Reviews. Obtaining new and authentic reviews on a consistent basis is the best way to ensure strong search results. When you know your audience, you should be able to determine what will best encourage them to write a review.

  • Provide a variety of opportunities to review your content and product offerings—through surveys, newsletters, online prompts and other appropriate channels.
  • Ask for reviews regularly, but not incessantly and thank those readers who provide you with them.
  • Be diligent about asking so that you can obtain a variety of reviews over time to boost reader and Google perception of your authenticity.

2)   Format Correctly. Purina Friskies made a few simple changes to their review format and, voila, search traffic increased 28%, while they saw a 147% increase in traffic from search phrases that included the word “review.” Make sure you:

  • Show your stars. Users are far more likely to click on reviews that have stars, so make sure they show up in your search results.
  • Include the number of reviews and the overall rating in search results.
  • Use HTML (javascript and others can inhibit viewing of results).
  • Assign each review it’s own URL to avoid duplication—which can result in user distrust.
  • Make reviews searchable so that potential readers can find the most recent and useful.
  • Summarize reviews so that they are more easily digestible to readers and make a point of highlighting the most useful reviews when you can.

3)   Deploy reviews in a number of ways. Reviews can be placed on product, topic and category pages to draw attention to the value of your offering—and when you format them with design in mind, they can make the difference between a click and a conversion. Use of pull quotes can really highlight positive reviews, for instance.

4)   Manage negative reviews. Negative reviews can truly impact traffic and conversion rates. Your first line of defense is providing stellar customer service but that doesn’t always prevent bogus or authentic negative reviews from popping up. There are a number of things you can do, including:

  • Take negative reviews seriously; respond quickly and positively
  • Move the conversation with individual customers offline, but be sure to show publicly how the problem is resolved
  • As a last resort, block abusive reviewers who are promoting a competitor's product, posting spam, or linking away from your site

Deploying these tactics should get reviews working for you pretty quickly!

Bonus Tip #1: For goodness’ sake, don’t make up your reviews or even incentivize them! This can hurt your standing with Google—which is something not easily fixed.

Bonus Tip # 2: Pay attention to the language customers employ to describe your product in reviews; comments can serve as an excellent source to help you uncover keywords and search terms that will help snare additional readers.

  • Reporting bogus or suspect reviews and asking for removal.
  • Responding with professionalism and courtesy (don’t make excuses or blame the reviewer).
  • Attempting to contact the reviewer directly in order to help them resolve the complaint.