Using User Language: UGC and SEO

Excerpts from my latest article at Resource’s weThink blog: “Using UGC to Benefit SEO.”


User-generated content (UGC) and search engine optimization (SEO) are a match made in heaven. SEO is done by marketers and can fall prey to same language issues that caused the site to perform poorly in organic search in the first place. But UGC is created by customers and uses the real-world language that other customers and searchers are likely to use.

“Why, is that our new ‘Zip-front Sweatshirt-Black-With Hood?’” asks the marketer.

“No,” replies the puzzled customer. “It’s a “black hoodie.’”

So while the marketer busily optimizes for the product name, the customer logs on to write a review about the great new “hoodie” he just bought.

That review, a free bit of UGC gold, contributes to the keyword theme of the page and begins to send “hoodie” relevance signals. The more customers write reviews, the stronger the signals become.

Read the article in full at Resource’s weThink blog »

Web PieRat logo.

Originally posted on Web PieRat.

Reviews for SEO & Market Research [infographic]

Customers use product reviews to share their opinions with other shoppers and with the brands they buy (or don’t buy) from. Reviews are also great for SEO, as a valuable source of user generated content that can boost the keyword theme on product pages when the content is embedded in the page in a way that search engines can actually index it. Bazaarvoice’s recent infographic on customer purchase decisions held a couple of key points that resonated with me from a search perspective.

Well, 12% of the 11 millions reviews Bazaarvoice has access to contain some form of product suggestions. That’s market research gold. Companies pay agencies regularly to determine what customers want, and these 12% are leaving product opinions freely in their reviews. So for the cost of implementing a reviews feature on your site, you also get the bonus of honest product feedback. Yes it’s visible to all and yes it may not all be complimentary, but it’s valuable and free. So what do customers say about products?


See the full infographic here, along with a cool flash brochure that explains all the data.

Web PieRat logo.

Originally posted on Web PieRat.

SEO Impact of Ratings, Reviews and Comments

My latest article at Practical Ecommerce, read it in full here.


Content that consumers leave on an ecommerce site can improve the site’s search engine optimization, if the platforms and underlying code are set up optimally. Ratings, reviews and comments each play a part in SEO, utilizing the words and opinions that real shoppers voice to strengthen optimization.

In aggregate, these types of content fall under the label of user-generated content. I wrote in more detail about reviews and SEO here, in “SEO: Letting Customers Generate Long Tail Search Terms.” The gist of that article still stands. Optimizing a site manually for the millions of phrases that could drive one or two converting customers just isn’t scalable. User generated content such as reviews and question-and-answer sections can solve the problem by outsourcing long tail optimization to your own customers. In addition to reviews, though, ratings and comments have their place in ecommerce SEO as well.

Reviews for SEO

When review content displays on the relevant product page, it boosts the keyword theme for that individual product page. Most reviews vendors — such as Bazaarvoice — offer product variations that display the reviews on the product pages in a crawlable manner, but some don’t. At the same time, Google and Bing are getting better at crawling the JavaScript that has traditionally kept crawlers out of juicy review content. An easy way to check whether reviews content is crawlable is to just Google a random chunk of the review content and see if it appears in the search results.

For example, the Asics Women’s GEL-Blur 33 on has six reviews. But are they crawlable? To find out, copy a unique-looking chunk of a review and Google it in quotes like this:

“Asics have never let me down! I love these shoes because they look good and they provide awesome support for all kinds of workouts and the best part is I can wear them out and get tons of compliments!”

Read more »

Web PieRat logo.

Originally posted on Web PieRat.