With Google continuing its relentless series of updates, websites are constantly being squeezed
and SEO agencies being pushed to drive more and more traffic. However one key element of a websites online profile is being overlooked or avoided, which according to industry stats could be the difference between success and failure. We are referring to consumer reviews, and with approximately 61% of customers who read reviews then going on to make a purchase highlights the importance for ecommerce sites (Econsultancy, March 2012). Let’s not beat around the bush, reviews drive conversions through providing an honest appraisal to a potential buyer. It’s not revolutionary as ‘word-of-mouth’ however, reviews have been pushing people to buy from one company over another for years, however for an ecommerce site you can use reviews much more effectively to influence people in a captive environment. That spirit of wanting to leave reviews is very apparent in the UK with 47% of Britons actively reviewing products after a purchase (Econsultancy, March 2012). Still not convinced? Consider these stats before making your decisions:
As can be noted reviews can help ecommerce sites improve their conversion rates (if managed and implemented in the correct context). However much more than conversions they also add SEO benefits. Effectively your empowering customers with the ability to add new, unique content which search engines will index. If you encourage your audience to provide reviews they leave content that is different to the standard manufacturers descriptions and specs, instead you’ll have lots of detail that sets you apart from the competition. The additional benefit is the opportunity to rank for longtail phrases as customers start to add additional content to the product page which looks natural to search engines. Beyond developing the on-site content, 70% of consumers consult reviews meaning new keyword opportunities appear in the form of ‘product name’ + review, for example if you’re looking to buy a new laptop and search for ‘Laptop Reviews’ there are approximately 14K+ searches for that term each month. With reviews on your site you have the opportunity of picking up this type of traffic, which could dramatically increase the conversion focussed visitors to your site. Finally if reviews are correctly formatted using snippets of information, they’re pulled through to search results page, you will have seen them in the form of stars sitting underneath the product listing. This snippet can influence up to 25% increase in click-through rates.
Don’t panic about bad reviews, they can be important as well. By having a mix of the good, the bad and even the ugly you will be putting forward an honest portrayal of your company, which from a consumer point of view looks natural. Let’s be honest you’ve probably looked at some reviews and wondered how they’ve achieved a 98% score for service. Consumers are not stupid and appreciate honesty; Reevo reported that bad reviews can improve conversions by 67%. However you need to look at the ratio’s, if you have 20 reviews and 5 are bad consumers will consider it’s balanced, if it’s the other way you need to re-look at your customer service. The important element is to be good at what you do and listen to what your customers say. Good service will reward you good reviews, if you notice negative reviews, you need to listen, learn and adapt.
By appreciating the importance of reviews, you can adopt one or all of the following methods to help develop your review portfolio:
In 2013 as traffic becomes ever more selective and the competition online increases we cannot stress the importance of reviews enough. Think about it, they increase conversions, improve your search positions and help you understand how to develop your business approach (and strategy); it’s a win/win situation…why aren’t you adopting reviews already?