Improving conversions and improving customer experience should be the main purpose of user reviews, but let’s not forget the considerable SEO benefits.
Fresh, unique content for search engines
Search engine spiders like unique content that is regularly updated, and user reviews are a great way to attract more content.
When many ecommerce sites just use the same standard manufacturer descriptions and product specifications, user-generated content can differentiate a product page in the search results.
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. Indeed, a recent survey found that 64% of consumers would read online reviews when purchasing technology items such as MP3 players and cameras.
This also means that more consumers will be searching for the name of the product plus the word ‘review’, or related words such as ‘ratings’.
If you have reviews on your site, then you stand a better chance of picking up this traffic.
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 stats from Distilled, these rich snippets can mean a 10-20% increase in click- through rates in some cases.
Long tail targeting
The additional content generated by user reviews increases the chance of ranking well for long tail searches.
In addition, people leaving reviews tend to use the same language that other people will use when actually searching for them.
Key SEO considerations for user reviews
To ensure that search engines reach your user generated content, it must appear in text form in the HTML.
Though snippets of reviews could appear on multiple pages, such as on category pages, or promoted via the homepage, it is important that the full review has a single page and a single URL.
Breadth of content
As many pages on the site as possible should feature user reviews to maximise the opportunity to rank well for this content and capitalise on long-tail traffic.