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

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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 Shoes.com 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!”

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