Quality reviews make SEO work for you: 3 tips on what to look for

Aleš Randa

9 min

Reviews will boost your SEO. They provide valuable keywords, word-of-mouth and inspiration for content that search engines and customers will notice. But they need to be of high quality and used to their full potential. Find out how in today's article.

SEO 101: 68% of conversions start with a search engine

SEO is the term used to describe all the techniques you can use to make your website more visible in organic search results. On Google alone, you're swimming in trillions of hits a year, competing with 24 million other e-commerce brands for the ultimate click-through rate. Want to compete? Then you need to optimise!

  • On average, organic search accounts for at least 53% of web traffic.
  • Quality SEO can drive up to 1000% more buyers than social media.
  • In surveys, marketers rank SEO as the highest quality source of leads with a close rate of around 14%.
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In practice, optimisation takes place at the technical, on-site and off-site levels.

The technical side is handled by programmers, with the aim of making the structure of the site as readable as possible for the search engine. On-site and off-site are therefore the areas where you as a brand strategist have the chance to shine. This is where content, keywords, UGC and more come into play.

  • On-site SEO addresses the keywords, internal links, metadata, images, CTAs and other engagement elements that buyers will find on your website.
  • Off-site SEO includes all visibility strategies outside of your native website. This includes PR, social media or even link building.
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What type of on-site and off-site content works best?

Where to invest the most money? What to skip when you have a limited budget? What option offers the most favorable ROI?

Research shows that one of the most promising SEO content elements today is UGC. Because whether you're writing a blog post, a LinkedIn post, product descriptions or thinking of a catchy CTA, it's always going to be customer-generated content that will help you take your business to the next level. After all, people trust each other the most and will always prefer quality social proof over flashy advertising - so why not let them sell stuff to each other?

At Testuj.to, we work with UGC in the form of reviews, photos and videos every day. We know their marked impact on SEO, and we've finally gathered enough data to be able to clearly explain how it all works.

1) UGC helps with authentic content creation

Why is content important for SEO? The main goal of all search engines is to deliver relevant information in a second that answers all questions and provides a solution to a problem. How are the results selected? Each engine has its own algorithm that takes into account different factors and gives them a specific weight. The quality of the content often plays a dominant role.

But today's content marketing is overwhelmed by a lot of noise, with brands posting blogs, banners and other content in bulk, regardless of their relevance. Add to that the current crisis of trust, and it's not hard to see why traditional advertising is starting to fail.

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UGC elegantly addresses this problem at all levels:

  • You leave the content creation process almost 100% up to the buyers. From keywords, to text, photos and videos.
  • This takes away most of the work and expense associated with planning, market analysis and promotion - in short, you let those who know what they want to hear do the talking.
  • With quality reviews, you are almost guaranteed that the texts will contain relevant information, in the language that the target audience understands the most.
  • You can put credibility concerns behind you. People trust review content up to twelve times more than that of conventional marketing.
  • Photos and videos attached to reviews will show products credibly and in common use. This is exactly the type of content people are looking for - because branded visuals are always a bit of a pig in a poke.
  • UGC content has a wide range of uses in both on-site and off-site SEO. In fact, it can also be incorporated into banners, newsletters or PPC campaigns.

The Molekule brand has made the main claim from the review excerpt, which is the first thing that greets you when you open the site and immediately sets a pleasant social proof atmosphere.

Source: Air Purifiers for Your Home & Office | Molekule 

When you add these benefits together, it's probably no surprise that 25% of the search results for the top 20 brands in the world are UGC links.

2) Reviews will organically feed you keywords

The words that people use when writing texts are likely to be applied to internet searches. A review page will quickly buy you a complete customer vocabulary that will not only boost on-site SEO, but also help in building other campaigns and tone of voice.

Moreover, with reviews, you not only get short-tail keywords, but often more valuable long-tail versions, which carries unique benefits:

  • Short-tail keywords are simple phrases that clients use most often. An example is "skin cream". However, because of the frequency with which they occur in searches, they are quite difficult to compete with brands that are willing to pay a lot of money for top search results.
  • Long-tail keywords, on the other hand, are longer phrases that appear less frequently in searches. But this in no way takes away from their conversion potential. An example is the phrase "light skin cream for problematic skin". It does not always occur to the seller, yet it is a term that a significant number of people who may become potential buyers will use in their search.

Keywords in the form of longer organic phrases are therefore an invaluable asset in SEO. This is because they can be very specific to a particular industry (or brand), reducing competition and maximising the benefit to visibility.

3) UGC helps you stand out on social media

Nearly 5 billion people are on social media and spend around two hours a day looking at posts. Therefore, promoting your brand and products on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn is an essential practice of off-site SEO.

In most cases, people will come across content on a Explore page, view a profile, explore individual posts and ideally end up clicking through to the site and making a purchase. Search engines then respond to this flow of buyers by improving the site's position in the results, multiplying the potential for future conversions.

But as you already know, there's a problem with content creation today, which is why UGC is literally a lifesaver. But it's not just a band-aid - its impact is unique and in many ways better than traditional content.

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How can you get the most out of them?

Keep the following principles in mind:

  • Each post must have a clear and concise message. The average visitor can focus on the text for no more than 2 seconds.
  • Use visuals. The perfect photo or video will be the signal that brings the customer to the review.
  • Thank the author of the review. Tag him/her and get another prolink and valuable interaction.

In practice, UGC posts can look like this:

  • Use a claim from the review to introduce the sales copy or message. Shoppers feel like a real person is talking to them, and the "advice from a friend" conversion effect is activated.

A claim embedded in a post might look like this. A quick but catchy message fits into a short Twitter format and strongly entices people to click through to the link.

Source: twitter.com 

  • Publish screenshots of full reviews. It can be that simple. In a time crunch, you'll get a full review without robbing customers of originality or information value.

Screen review, short introduction and that's it. With review marketing, the content creates itself.

Source: Instagram 

  • In an absolute emergency you can get by with a simple repost. On Twitter with one click, on Instagram and Facebook in stories, on LinkedIn through classic sharing. In addition to SEO valuable interactions, this shows your buyers that you are actively interested in their opinion and are ready to respond immediately.

When using reviews in advertising, be aware of the applicable regulations

It is forbiden to:

  • Claiming that your reviews are verified when they are not.
  • Posting fake reviews or ratings.
  • Misrepresenting texts in order to promote products, including on social media (e.g. deleting Facebook reviews).

In practice, be especially careful of the last point. When using reviews in posts, you must not edit them in any way, even if the verbiage is convoluted or you only need to replace a single word.

Key detail: the quality of your UGC will show up in SEO

This is especially true for reviews. If all you do is collect stars and use the classic "it works" and "it was a gift", you will have neither keywords nor inspiration for your content.

Only reviews that look like this can have a positive effect on SEO:

  • Reviews are long and packed with information. Ideally, they are around 200 characters long, clearly structured and error-free.
  • They contain mentions of pros and cons. Purely positive texts create a bubble in which it is easy to drift away from reality.
  • They are written by people who know they can express themselves authentically, in their own language. It's the only way to get an insight into their thinking and vocabulary.
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What to take away from today's article

SEO is the foundation of digital marketing success. You can sell a quality product, have a great website and customer support, but if your site isn't visible, no one will come to it. And it's not an easy battle - the top 3 links in a search engine get more than half of the organic clicks, and less than one percent of shoppers make it to the second page of Google.

We believe that UGC is an invaluable asset that can help you compete in this competitive environment, even if you don't have a huge budget. In fact, quality social proof is often free, and with a properly set up review marketing campaign, you can collect new reviews literally every day.

UGC supports SEO for three main reasons:

  1. It provides a quality source of keywords. Both in short-tail and more valuable long-tail form.
  2. It supports off-site SEO. A single private post from the right nanoinfluencer is all it takes to kick-start the social proof effect.
  3. Makes it easy for you to create quality content that engages search engines and buyers. From blogs to social media. So that you actually plan content based on customer needs and interests, not just guessing from your always limited experience.

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