3 Types of E-commerce Product Reviews for SEO + Conversions

Woman sits on couch browsing online store on her laptop.
People rely on other people’s experiences and recommendations about the product they want to buy. And, reviews can play a role in the success of an SEO program.

Because they play such an important role, it’s key for e-commerce sites to get this piece right.

That said, there are three areas to pay attention to when it comes to product reviews, SEO and conversions:

  1. Product reviews on your site from user-generated content.
  2. In-depth product reviews like articles written by your company or by third parties.
  3. Product review management.

I’ll go over these in more detail next. Use the links to jump to a section:

1. Product Reviews from User-Generated Content

While it can be scary letting people have free reign to discuss your products (and it can hit closer to home if you are also the manufacturer of those products), ultimately, it can boost conversions.

This is true even when there are negative reviews. One study by Bazaarvoice found that (60%) say negative reviews are just as important in their decision to buy because they contain more pros and cons than positive reviews.

Another study by Spiegel Research Center found that “the purchase likelihood for a product with five reviews is 270% greater than the purchase likelihood of a product with no reviews.”

Chart from Spiegel Research Center showing the financial impact of displaying product reviews.
Image credit: “How Online Reviews Influence Sales,” Spiegel Research Center E-book

And yet another example is a study that found user-generated content like product reviews more than doubled the conversion rate for certain types of goods.

Graph showing how user-generated content impacts conversions.
Image credit: 5 Ways User-Generated Content Can Boost Your SEO, Search Engine Journal, Author: Raj Nijjer

That same study found that organic traffic grew over nine months simply by adding in customer reviews.

Graph showing how using reviews boosts SEO for businesses.
Image credit: 5 Ways User-Generated Content Can Boost Your SEO, Search Engine Journal, Author: Raj Nijjer

So encourage your customers to leave reviews after they buy something. Or consider other ways to get online reviews like sending samples of a product in exchange for honest reviews, like Petco did.

In that campaign, Petco experienced an 80% boost in organic traffic, in addition to a lift in conversions.

Then, make sure reviews are displayed prominently on your product page by showing star ratings and testimonials.

You can check out how Zappos.com handles star ratings at the top of their product pages, and then the customer reviews at the bottom of the pages, which is a common way e-commerce sites approach it:

Star ratings displayed on a men’s shoe product page at Zappos.com.
Star ratings displayed on a men’s shoe product page at Zappos.com
User-generated customer reviews at the bottom of a men’s shoe product page at Zappos.com.
User-generated customer reviews at the bottom of a men’s shoe product page at Zappos.com

Part of incorporating reviews well means using structured data to help search engines better understand those reviews.

Using the right schema can also enhance a product page’s search results listing, which can make it more compelling for someone to click through to a website.

Example of rich results showing ratings from Google’s Rich Results Test.
Example of rich results showing ratings from Google’s Rich Results Test

You can learn more about “product” schema from Google’s help file here or on Schema.org here.

2. In-Depth Product Reviews

Product reviews on e-commerce platforms now feature another aspect: in-depth product reviews.

Over the past several years, Google has taken steps to curb such content, ranking only high-quality reviews higher.

In 2022, Google launched its reviews system to “better reward high-quality reviews, which is content that provides insightful analysis and original research and is written by experts or enthusiasts who know the topic well.”

Google continues:

“The reviews system works to ensure that people see reviews that share in-depth research, rather than thin content that simply summarizes a bunch of products, services, or other things.

This system of reviews was developed to assess first-party content such as articles, blogs, pages, or any other type of standalone piece that provides recommendations, opinions or analyses without considering third-party reviews such as those left by users on product and service pages.

Reviews can address specific topics or compare products directly against each other. They may even offer ranked lists. Reviews can be about any topic. There can be reviews of products such as laptops or winter jackets, pieces of media such as movies or video games, or services and businesses such as restaurants or fashion brands.”

How does this impact e-commerce sites? A couple of ways.

First, if you are creating your own product reviews on your website, take care to follow Google’s recommendations for creating great product reviews. You can also check out its Search Quality Rater Guidelines for more information on what makes a quality review.

Secondly, if you have partnerships where people may be writing reviews about your products, like influencer partnerships, for example, know that the quality of those reviews will impact their rankings, which can ultimately impact your conversions.

A little training in this area for either scenario can ensure everyone involved protects the credibility of the reviews and keeps them performing well.

3. Product Review Management

It’s important to respond to reviews, especially if they’re bad. This shows your customers that you care about their opinions and that you’re there to help.

Bazaarvoice data (linked earlier) shows:

  • About a third of shoppers expect businesses to publicly respond to their reviews, regardless of whether their review is positive or negative.
  • Forty-eight percent (48%) say brands responding to reviews improves their odds of buying the product.
  • Shoppers want to see businesses use their reviews, both positive (25%) and negative (38%), to make product improvements.

Product review management can build trust. And trust is important to Google. The general sentiment towards your brand could potentially be a trust signal with Google.

We had a client that seemed to be doing nearly everything right with their SEO program. However, their online sentiment was entirely negative – they had bad reviews that were left unmanaged and a bad rating with the BBB.

We believe this poisoned their brand and their trust factor. I discussed this previously in an article on sentiment being an SEO trust signal.

Then I went more in-depth on how to use sentiment analysis to strengthen SEO trustworthiness, where I highlighted how to get sentiment data and then how to use it, including:

  • Using it in SEO audits to get a bigger picture of how the brand is doing online
  • Tracking the success of campaigns and spotting potential issues
  • Addressing customer complaints
  • Rewarding happy reviewers

At the end of the day, customers want to see the good and the bad about products. And it builds trust when businesses show they care by responding to the comments, as well as taking the suggestions to heart.

Final Thoughts

Reviews are an integral component of any e-commerce website.

E-commerce businesses should invest significant effort and time to perfect this area. When they do, they can see positive impacts on their SEO program and conversions.

FAQ: How can user-generated content like product reviews increase organic traffic and conversion rates?

Product reviews and other user-generated content can have an enormously beneficial effect on any online business’s success. Let’s discuss how user-generated content can increase organic traffic and conversion rates.

Building trust and credibility: User-generated content like customer/product reviews builds trust among potential customers. Positive user reviews that support your brand are likely to increase conversion rates. Encourage your customers to leave honest reviews about their purchases to establish credibility and draw new users to your site.

Enhancing search engine visibility: Product reviews can be a driving force in improving your search engine ranking. Search engines prioritize fresh, relevant content, so when customers leave reviews that include target keywords and phrases, the visibility of your website in search engine results increases. This increased visibility attracts more organic traffic to your site, exposing your products/services to a broader audience.

Generating social proof: Consumers today place great stock in reviewing the opinions and experiences shared by their peers before deciding to convert. This is known as social proof, and it can be a powerful tool in shaping the purchasing decisions of potential customers.

Positive reviews act as endorsements and recommendations, establishing a sense of authenticity and reliability around your brand. Leverage this social proof to increase organic traffic and conversion rates.

Leveraging User-Generated Content for SEO: Integrating user-generated content such as product reviews into your SEO strategy can significantly improve your results.

You can use schema markup to provide more context about your reviews to search engines. Doing this increases your chances of earning featured snippets, which are important drivers of traffic and visibility. Structured data helps search engines display relevant results to users based on their search queries. Matching user intent is more likely to increase clicks and visitors to your site.

When possible, take advantage of the power of user-generated content, especially in the form of product/customer reviews. Incorporate them into your SEO strategy to boost website traffic, search engine ranking and your bottom line.

Step-by-Step Procedure

  1. Encourage your customers to leave honest product reviews after making a purchase. Ask them to provide specifics about their experience, what they like best about the product and how it has helped solve or address their needs.
  2. Implement a user-friendly review system on your website. Make it easy for your customers to write and submit new reviews.
  3. Frequently monitor user-generated content to ensure they are accurate, authentic and relevant. Moderate as needed.
    Always respond to positive and negative reviews or feedback in a timely fashion to provide additional context. This demonstrates that you truly care about your customer experience.
  4. Prominently display your glowing reviews on your product pages to build trust and credibility. Look for other pages to publish the reviews where it makes sense.
  5. Try to include relevant keywords and phrases in your product reviews to increase search engine visibility. You may have to ask your customers to do this.
  6. Implement structured data and schema markup to help search engines better understand user-generated content.
  7. Optimize your website’s metadata and tags with relevant keywords from user-generated reviews.
  8. Ask your customers to post reviews about their experience, your business, product or service on social media. This is an effective way to quickly boost your credibility and visibility.
  9. Increase social proof by sharing testimonials and reviews across your marketing channels. Publish them on your website, post them on your social media platforms and include them in email marketing to increase click-through and clicks-per-open rates.
  10. Look for opportunities to develop effective user-generated content by collaborating with industry experts and influencers.
  11. Customers who write a product review or testimonial contribute to your growth and visibility. Consider rewarding them by offering discounts, points of loyalty, or some other type of monetary incentive.
  12. Frequently analyze your product review system. Update and optimize accordingly to provide users with an enjoyable experience.
  13. Utilize analytical tools and KPIs to track the impact of user-generated content on organic traffic, conversion rate and other metrics. Identify areas of improvement and adapt as needed.

Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn or through the BruceClay.com website.

See Bruce's author page for links to connect on social media.

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2 Replies to “3 Types of E-commerce Product Reviews for SEO + Conversions”

Thank You for sharing the article. I really enjoyed lot while reading your post.

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