product reviews help with SEO

Sometimes, when a shopper is in the market for something you sell, they bring up your eCommerce site on their web browser of choice and go from there. But oftentimes, that’s not the case.

Instead, many shoppers choose to start the digital purchase journey elsewhere — often on Amazon or Google. A survey from CivicScience, cited by eMarketer found that nearly half (49%) of internet users in the U.S. start their digital product searches on Amazon. And 22% start on Google.

It’s critical to have a solid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy so shoppers who start their searches on Amazon and Google can find your product pages. After all, the higher your product pages show up in Google and Amazon search results, the more traffic you’re likely to have.

Of course, there are a number of factors that determine where your product pages show up in search engine results pages (SERPs) — or if they show up at all. But one of the things that can positively impact your SEO and help you attract even more traffic to your product pages is product reviews. 

In this blog, we’ll explore how reviews positively impact how your product pages’ rank on Amazon and Google. We’ll also share five tips for generating more reviews so you can see the biggest impact on traffic.

How Reviews Impact Your Google Search Ranking

Today, consumers turn to Google for just about everything — from finding new recipes and decorating ideas to figuring out the name of an actor in a movie. So it’s probably not surprising that nearly a third of digital shoppers start their purchase journey here, too.

The goal is to get your product pages on the first page of SERPs; the higher the ranking, the better the results. According to an analysis from Sistrix, the average clickthrough rate for the first result in Google is 28.5%. That number plummets to 2.5% for the 10th result.

Collecting and displaying product reviews is one impactful way to boost your search engine ranking.

Google and other search engines love fresh, unique, relevant content — and they reward sites that have plenty of it. One great way to generate a steady flow of this prized content is to collect and display reviews. Reviews are great because they include keywords that your shoppers are actually using when describing your products. Search engines crawl this fresh, keyword-rich content, which makes it easier for shoppers to find it.

For example, let’s say you’re searching for a play kitchen to give your two-year-old child as a holiday gift. You’ve heard the brand Step 2 has a good reputation. So, you navigate to Google and search for “step 2 play kitchen for 2 year old.” One of the results is a product page on farmandfleet.com. The description of the product includes part of the text of a review written by a grandparent — that includes some of the words you searched for. Those words show up in bold text.

In addition, if your site uses Schema.org standards (which, in simple terms, is an agreed-upon standard for structuring content on websites), search engines can also pull star ratings and review counts into search engine results. While this alone does not affect your SERPs, it can entice more people to click through.

For example, imagine you’re searching for a water table for a young family member. You know this particular child likes jumping off the diving board at the community pool, so you do a google search for “fun water table with diving board.” Two of the top organic search results are for product pages on Walmart.com and bedbathandbeyond.com. Each result displays the average star rating and the number of reviews for the specific product.

How Reviews Impact Traffic to Your Amazon Product Pages

Collecting and displaying reviews can also positively impact the volume of traffic you get to your Amazon product pages. In fact, this content helps drive traffic in two key ways.

Reviews Help Drive Traffic to Your Amazon Product Pages

Earlier, we discussed how a steady stream of reviews helps ensure the product pages on your own dot com are showing up in Google searches. This content also helps ensure your product pages on Amazon are ranking well on Google searches.

For example, let’s say your son is required to wear polo shirts as part of his school’s dress code. You visit Google and do a search for “polo shirt for my son to wear to school.” One of the top results is a product page on Amazon. The description of the product is the text of a product review, with the words you searched for appearing in bold text. The average star rating and number of reviews also appears in the result, increasing the likelihood of clickthrough.

Reviews Boost Your Product Visibility on Amazon

As we mentioned earlier, a whopping 49% of digital shoppers start the purchase journey on Amazon. That’s huge!

There are a number of factors that determine whether your products show up when someone does a search on Amazon. These factors are always changing and often seem like a big mystery. But we do know that reviews impact a number of key factors that help determine how your products rank on Amazon searches.

  1. Seller authority: Reviews are one factor that determines your seller authority. And your seller authority affects how your product pages rank on Amazon.
  2. Seller performance: Obviously, Amazon wants its visitors to land on pages where they’ll make purchases. That’s why the eCommerce giant prioritizes listings that have lots of traffic and a high number of conversions. Shoppers depend on reviews, and this content drives traffic and sales. So typically, businesses with lots of reviews have better performance than those that don’t.

5 Ways to Generate More Traffic-Boosting Reviews

Clearly, reviews can have a positive impact on how your product pages rank on Google and Amazon. But in order to see the biggest impact, you’ve got to consistently generate lots of high quality content for lots of your products.

Read on to learn five ways you can start generating more reviews — which will boost traffic (and sales!) to your product pages.

1. Send Follow-Up Emails

Ideally, all of your shoppers would write reviews for every purchase they make. But that’s not usually the case. Instead, shoppers often need a reminder to write a review. One of the best ways to do that is to send a follow-up email, requesting that the shopper write a review for their recent purchase. According to our friends at PowerReviews, these emails can generate up to 80% of a brand’s total review volume.

Here’s an example from a skincare brand. The email is short and sweet, and it’s easy to read on a mobile device or a computer. There’s a photo to remind the shopper what they bought, and the request is clear: the company wants a review.

2. Send Follow-Up SMS Messages

Another effective way to generate more reviews is to send SMS messages to your shoppers, asking them to write reviews for recent purchases. After all, consumers today are glued to their phones. And a survey from Flowroute found that consumers read 82% of text messages from businesses within five minutes. In comparison, they only open about 25% of emails sent from businesses.

Wait a week or so after you know the shopper has received their products. That way, they’ll have adequate time to use the products before providing their feedback. And make sure your SMS messages are short and sweet — with a clear call to action.

3. Streamline the Review Submission Process

If a shopper runs into a problem submitting a review, they’ll probably abandon the process altogether. So make sure the entire process for submitting a review is quick and simple and can be completed from a mobile device.

For example, the skincare brand we mentioned in tip #1 allows shoppers to write and submit reviews directly from the follow-up email.

On the other hand, this retailer includes a link in their follow-up emails. The link takes shoppers to a quick, simple form that makes it easy for them to submit reviews from any device.

4. Offer an Incentive

Some shoppers will share their feedback to have their voices heard and to help future shoppers make better purchase decisions. But others need a bit more motivation.

If you’re looking for ways to increase your review submission rate, consider offering an incentive in exchange for reviews. For example, this follow-up email offers customers an entry into a sweepstakes for a $200 gift card in exchange for a review.

When it comes to incentives, there are a few key things to remember. The first is that not all websites allow incentives in exchange for reviews. In fact, Amazon is quite strict on this matter. Second, if you opt to offer an incentive for reviews on your own website, be sure you disclose when a reviewer received an incentive. For example, the review below displays a checkmark at the bottom, indicating that the person who wrote the review received a sweepstakes entry in exchange for their feedback.

 

5. Respond to Reviews

There are many reasons why it’s important for brands to respond to both negative and positive reviews. In fact, it’s a topic you’ll hear us talk about often.

One of the most important reasons is that responding to a review is a great way to make an authentic connection with a customer. What’s more, a well-written response shows both the review writer and future shoppers that you care about your customers and value their feedback. And when a future shopper sees that you frequently respond to reviews, they’ll be more likely to submit their own feedback, too.

If you’re a Reputation Studio customer, it’s easy to manage and respond to all of your reviews from one platform — regardless of where they were originally written. You can also house templates that your employees can use as a starting point when responding to different types of reviews. Of course, these templates should always be personalized to address the specifics of a given review.

Start Collecting Reviews to Drive Traffic on Google and Amazon

Today, many shoppers start the digital purchase journey on Amazon or Google. It’s important to have a strong strategy in place to ensure you’re ranking well on these key sites. Reviews must be a key component of this strategy.

Now’s the time to make it a priority to collect more reviews. Doing so will enable shoppers to more easily find your product pages — regardless of where they start the digital purchase journey.