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We know all about the value of user reviews for e-commerce sites for increasing conversion rates, but there are also some SEO benefits to consider. 

Distilled's User Generated Content for SEO white paper details some of these benefits. Here are a few key takeaways from the report... 

SEO benefits of UGC 

Fresh, unique content

Search engine spiders like unique content that is regularly updated, and user reviews are a great way to create more of this. 

When many e-commerce sites and affiliates will just use the same standard manufacturer descriptions and product specs, UGC can differentiate a product page. 

This is important as it makes pages more useful to customers, and also increases the chance of ranking highly in the SERPs. 

Improve rankings for 'product name' + review

Reviews are an increasingly important part of the purchase journey for online consumers. For example, a recent survey found that 64% would read online reviews when purchasing personal technology items such as MP3 players and digital cameras. 

This means that more consumers will be searching for the name of the product plus the word 'review', or related words such as 'ratings'.

Increased CTR on results pages

If review content is correctly formatted, then these rich snippets can help increases click throughs from search engine results pages. In the example below, the addition of the star rating makes the third result stand out:

According to Distilled, these rich snippets can produce a 10-20% increase in click-through rates. 

Increased conversion rates

Reviews can help with search engine rankings, but ultimately increase the chance of a click through resulting in a conversion. 

User reviews increase users' trust in the site, and can help answer questions and remove doubts about products. 

In addition, more reviews means more conversions, as people have more information and a broader range of user opinion to draw from as they decide on a purchase. 

According to Reevoo stats, 50 or more reviews per product can mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates: 

While a large number of reviews can clearly be valuable, it's also important to make them easily digestible for consumers, by summarising review ratings, or picking out the most useful positive and negative reviews, as Amazon does. 

Long tail targeting

The additional content generated by user reviews, and the fact that words and phrases used by reviewers are often the same words and phrases used by searchers, increases the chance of ranking well for long tail searches. 

Key SEO considerations when implementing user reviews

Indexation

To ensure that search engines reach your user generated content, it must appear in text form in the HTML. 

According to the white paper, 'you should avoid a reliance on JavaScript, cookies, Flash, images, iFrames or other technologies that would limit the accessibility of any content you wish the search engines to see'.

Non-duplication

Though snippets of reviews could appear on multiple pages, such as on category pages, or promotions via the homepage, it is important that the full review has a single page and a single URL. 

Breadth of content

As many pages as possible should feature UGC to maximise the opportunity to rank well for this content and capitalise on long tail traffic. 

Graham Charlton

Published 6 June, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (4)

Mike Essex

Mike Essex, Marketing & Comms Manager at Petrofac

All good tips Graham. It's also worth considering that UGC can help sites stand out from the crowd following the Panda update. For example ecommerce sites that all have the same product information, will perform better with UGC.

Just look at the mixture of UGC options on Amazon - reviews, tags, videos, lists, forums, and more.

over 5 years ago

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Markus Jalmerot

I love user reviews. It's just so much work to handle it. Basically, somebody need to review all the new content every day.

over 5 years ago

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kuta hotels

i plan to add guest review in my website, but from you article above it that say that the review are appear in text form in the HTML and void a reliance on JavaScript, need advise that hwo to create guest review base user generated content, cause i think that need programing languange such javascript.

over 5 years ago

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Mike Bhrad: Bay Area SEO Consultant

Nice work on why reviews matter! I especially agree with the bit on Long-tail targeting. It's common understanding at this point that as the SEO landscape becomes more and more saturated, the more niche and detailed phrase optimization is going to become.

Still, not enough attention is paid to the long tail 4 - 5 word even phrases that have ample representation.

Thx for the cool info, we'd love to connect and do a guest blog sometime.

Michael Bhrad
Principle Consultant @ Ensight Marketing
408-657-7Web

over 5 years ago

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