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?

User-generated content is an effective strategy for driving organic traffic and conversion rates. Product reviews can have an enormously beneficial effect on any online business’s success.

Let’s look at how user-generated material, particularly product reviews, can increase both organic traffic and conversion rates.

Building Trust and Credibility: User-generated content, such as authentic product reviews, plays a crucial role in building trust and credibility among potential customers. Positive user reviews can increase conversion rates.

Encourage your customers to leave honest reviews about their purchases to build up your brand and draw new visitors to your site.

Enhancing Search Engine Visibility: User-generated content, including product reviews, has a positive impact on organic traffic.

Search engines value fresh, relevant content, and user-generated reviews contribute to this aspect. When customers leave reviews with relevant keywords and phrases, it enhances the visibility of your website in search engine results.

This increased visibility drives more organic traffic to your site, exposing your products or services to a wider audience.

Generating Social Proof: Consumers today tend to put greater stock in opinions and experiences shared by their peers, and social proof provided by user-generated content such as product reviews can be an effective tool in shaping the purchasing decisions of potential customers.

Positive reviews act as endorsements and recommendations, creating a sense of authenticity and reliability around your brand. By showcasing user-generated content prominently on your website, you can harness the persuasive power of social proof to drive conversions.

Leveraging User-Generated Content for SEO: Integration of user-generated content (particularly product reviews) into your SEO strategy can produce remarkable results.

Structured data, schema markup and other elements play a pivotal role in helping search engines index and interpret this type of user-generated material. Implementing the appropriate schema markup can result in rich snippets and enhanced search result listings, increasing the click-through rate and attracting more organic traffic.

Content created by users can have an enormously positive effect on organic traffic and SEO. You can take advantage of user-generated material by encouraging customers to post reviews on your website, prominently display them and implement structured data to search engines.

Step-by-Step Procedure: Leveraging User-Generated Content to Boost Organic Traffic and Conversion Rates

  1. Encourage customers to leave product reviews after making a purchase.
  2. Implement a user-friendly review system on your website to facilitate review submission.
  3. Regularly monitor and moderate user-generated content to ensure authenticity and relevance.
  4. Showcase positive reviews prominently on your product pages to build trust and credibility.
  5. Use relevant keywords and phrases in your product review requests to enhance search engine visibility.
  6. Implement structured data and schema markup to help search engines understand and index user-generated content effectively.
  7. Optimize your website’s metadata and tags with relevant keywords from user-generated reviews.
  8. Encourage customers to post reviews about your business on social media platforms like Twitter.
  9. Give prompt and positive responses to both positive and negative customer feedback.
  10. Create social proof by sharing user-generated content such as testimonials and reviews across your marketing channels.
  11. Utilize user-generated content as part of your email marketing strategies to increase click-through rates and clicks-per-open rates.
  12. Collaborate with industry experts and influencers to produce high-quality user-generated materials.
  13. Consider offering discounts or points of loyalty to customers who provide reviews on products.
  14. Be sure to update and optimize your product review system regularly to provide users with an enjoyable experience.
  15. Utilizing analytical tools and KPIs, you can monitor the effects of user-generated content on organic traffic, conversion rate and other key metrics.

Follow these steps to enhance the effectiveness of user-generated material, organic traffic, conversion rates and brand engagement.

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

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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