User-Generated Content: Organic search up 10%, conversion up 125% with rich product reviews
May 03 2012 | MarketingSherpa - Adam T. Sutton
MarketingSherpa research has shown that creating content is one of the most effective tactics for improving your site's SEO. Of course, creating content takes time, money and expertise. So, why not ask the true experts -- your audience -- for help?
One e-commerce site increased organic search traffic, conversion rates and time-on-site by encouraging customers to write product reviews. You'll see how the marketers taught customers how to write content-rich reviews and how they got more of them.
Product ratings and reviews are proven to increase conversion rates on product pages. The team at Coffee For Less, though, used them to increase something else: organic search traffic.
Coffee For Less is an e-commerce site for coffee and related products. By offering customers an easy way to create and read reviews, its marketing team has added about 6,000 reviews to its site over three years. The reviews provided a 10% lift in organic search traffic, says Zachary Ciperski, VP, Coffee For Less.
"It gets new content onto our site, which is great," Ciperski says. "We have fresh content that's always updating our various product pages, and it's done in a language that tends to be a little more colloquial and a little more accurate to how people are actually searching."
The reviews also brought the following results in Q4 2011:
- 125% higher conversion rate for visitors who interacted with them
- 157% higher time-on-site for visitors who interacted with them
- 111% higher page-views-per-visit for those who interacted with them
Coffee For Less uses these five tactics to boost results by getting more reviews onto its site.
Tactic #1. Make reviews search-friendly
An important requirement for using user-generated reviews for SEO is to make sure that they are visible to search engines. If the reviews are not visible when the search engine's spiders visit your site, then they will not help your rankings.
The reviews at Coffee For Less
are fully visible to spiders, Ciperski says, and the system the team uses for comments also includes the following:
Tactic #2. Moderate reviews for more than profanity
- Multimedia -- although it is not done often, visitors can include pictures and videos with their reviews that are also visible to search engines.
- Deep ratings -- customers can write a review, provide an overall rating, and rate different aspects of a coffee -- such as its aroma, acidity, body and color -- all on the same review form. Customers are not required to score these attributes, but when they do, it contributes to the amount of content on the page.
- Sorting -- a product's first four reviews are listed on its page, and visitors can click to see more if they're available. They can also use a drop-down box to select one from 11 types of sorting for the reviews, including by oldest, newest, top contributors and most helpful.
- Voting -- visitors to the page can click "yes" or "no" to indicate whether a review is helpful, which gives the team another way to sort the reviews and highlight the audience's favorites.
As with any user-generated content, the reviews at Coffee For Less have to be moderated for offensive or abusive language.
"We give ourselves 72 hours after a review is written to go in and take a look and make sure that it is appropriate," Ciperski says.
The team looks for more than bad manners, though. Here's what else it looks for:
Reviews about shopping experience
If a product review is about a customer's experience in ordering and receiving a product rather than about the product itself, the team will take down the review and contact the customer.
Anyone who writes a review on a product page that describes a problem with shipping or packaging, for instance, is contacted directly to resolve the problem after the team removes the review. That said, the team does not remove negative reviews that are about products, Ciperski says.
A large portion of the team's customers are between ages 40 and 60, and some are not computer savvy, Ciperski says. About twice a month, the team sees a raving review with a mere one-bean rating (ratings are given on a scale of one-to-five coffee beans instead of stars). In these instances, the team reaches out to the customer via email and asks if the rating is accurate.
Read the full story here
Recent Articles About SEO