Back in the dark days before the Internet, a business could provide shoddy products or services and get away with it. Nowadays, many consumers will search for online reviews about a product or service before they commit to purchase. This provides an excellent opportunity for you to provide content that is ranked by the search engines and of value to your website users.
There are two different methods of adding reviews to your website, depending on if your business provides products or services.
Method for Reviews of a Service
Reviews are basically customer testimonials or feedback and many businesses already have a page of these on their website. However, these are often wrongly formatted or grouped into a single page which misses a huge opportunity for attracting more website visitors via the search engines.
This simple, yet highly effective technique will give your website far more visibility in the search engines across a broad range of relevant search-phrases and therefore, more website visitors.
So, let’s use the following testimonial example as the basis of our first review:
“I wanted to thank John and the team at ABC Boiler Co for all the help they provided when I had my boiler serviced. They were very professional, friendly and helpful.”
Typically, this is just the sort of testimonial that is amongst a group of similar ones on a single page of a business website. What we are going to do is give this testimonial its own page so we can optimise if for certain search-phrases.
We’re also going to use the word ‘review’ instead of ‘testimonial’ as it’s rarely used by people these days.
STEP 1 – Creating the Page Title
Firstly, we’ll start-off by giving the page a unique title – this is the most important part as the page title is seen as highly relevant to the content by search engines. Again, many businesses that have a single page dedicated to customer’s testimonials simply call the page ‘ABC Boiler Co – Testimonials’. Research shows that these pages get precious little traffic from the search engines.
So our new page title for our single review is going to be as follows:
“Boiler Servicing in Guildford: A Company Review by Mrs Smith”
The important words that we should include in every page title for a review are:
- ‘Boiler servicing’ (our primary search-phrase)
- ‘Guildford’ (the location)
- The word ‘Review’
So another alternative might be:
“A Baxi Boiler Repair in Stoke: Our Review of the Company by Mr & Mrs Green”
We’ve added the word ‘company’ to our title as it’s a common word added to many searches when people are searching for a specific service rather than a product, for example, ‘house clearance company in Reading’, ‘cleaning company in York’, ‘roofing company in Luton’, etc, etc.
You’ll also notice that in the second example, we added and changed a few words around. It is important to point out that whilst you want to include certain words in your page title, you don’t want to make all of the review pages to be near identical so you should mix things up a little to create individual, distinctive page titles.
You should ensure your page titles are designed primarily for humans to read and not purely to try and get the best rank in the search engines by using titles that don’t make sense.
Step 2 – Adding the Review Content
Now it would be great if every review that your customers provided was around 400 words but the reality is that most of them will around 100-150 words. Equally, a review on its own won’t help us to convert a website visitor into a new customer so we want to add some additional content below the customer review.
If we’ve got our page title right the person reading our first example review will be doing so because they are looking for a boiler servicing company in Guildford so it’s important to remember that the content should be aimed at providing a solution for them, not about your company.
You then need to create an additional 300 – 400 words of content that outlines the following:
- What service(s) you provided for the reviewer
- How those services helped the reviewer
- What the benefits of your service(s) were for the reviewer
- A summary and call to action (prompt the reader to get in touch with you)
By the end of the article, the reader will have been able to establish that you have helped other customers in their area, that you are able to provide a solution for their circumstances and that there is a genuine benefit to them in your service(s).
Method for Reviews of a Product
If you sell products, either online or offline, adding unique reviews of your products to your website will benefit your business in a three ways:
- It will help your customers to make a buying decision
- It will enhance your product page visibility in the search engines
- It demonstrates your expert knowledge of your products
It is a real shame that we see so many websites where the business has been lazy and simply used the manufacturer’s descriptions of their product. Do you honestly think that consumers believe these descriptions over a well-constructed review? And do you think that the search engines are going to reward your product pages with a high rank in the search results if they only contain the same content as thousands of other product pages?
The answer is a resounding ‘No’ in both cases.
Why Review Pages Matter
When a consumer needs to buy something, they will go through a research process that helps them reach an ultimate decision about what specific product they are going to purchase. They start with a broad key-phrase search and then narrow down their search as they understand the product sector in greater detail.
Somebody looking to buy a new mobile phone might therefore conduct the following search process to find a suitable phone:
Mobile phones >>> 4G mobile phones >>> HTC mobile phones >>> HTC One review
As you can see, the final stage of the search ends up with the consumer looking for a specific product (HTC One) and crucially, the consumer is generally looking for final affirmation of their buying decision when they enter the search term suffixed with the word ‘review’.
So if the consumer then lands on a website page that has a favourable view of the ‘HTC One’ mobile phone, and that page also has a suitable hook for them to buy, there is a good chance they will do so there and then.
For further evidence of the popularity of review-related searches by consumers, go to Google and in the search box, type just about any product and you’ll see that auto-suggest almost always prompts you to search for a review.
Creating the Perfect Review Page
When it comes to effective product reviews, the real ‘elephant in the room’ is honesty. If you sell a really poor product and your review can’t establish any redeeming qualities at all then you should really be questioning why you’re stocking that product at all.
Conversely, no product is perfect for everyone so you should never be afraid of pointing out the shortcomings of a product – a little honesty goes a long way in building trust with the consumer.
If your review sounds too biased or uses wording that is more appropriate on a sales page then your readers will be immediately turned-off. It is crucial that your review is 100% honest.
Let’s look at the core components of the perfect review page…
Constructing the page title – as with all website content, we need to ensure that the page title is structured correctly so that search engines understand the relevance of the page.
It is crucial that your page title includes the specific product name including the model number, the name of the manufacturer, the generic category of the product (mobile phone, LED TV, Weight loss supplement, etc) plus the word ‘review’. For example, if we were going to create a page title for a Samsung LED TV, a well-structured page title might be something like this:
Samsung UE42F5000 42″ LED TV Review | ABC Products Ltd.
This title includes:
- the manufacturer (Samsung)
- the model number (UE42F5000)
- the product category (42” LED TV)
- the word ‘review’
By adding all these elements to our page title, it provides a greater opportunity for our review to be found in the search engines across a broad range of different search-phrases.
Pros & Cons – from the Latin “pro et contra”, which means “for and against”, pros & cons are a really effective way of providing readers with an overview of the products good and bad elements. The reason why people like pros & cons is that they appear inheritably honest because they address both the strengths and weaknesses of a product.
Below is a screen-shot of how the highly-regarded review website TechRadar add pros & cons (or ‘for & against’ as they call it) to the beginning of their reviews
Coupled with an overall rating (out of 5 or 10), the consumer has an instant snap-shot of the product without having to read a the actual review. You can add your own personal rating or if you have the necessary data, you should ideally use product ratings from your customers.
You’ll also notice how TechRadar cleverly add a call to action (CTA) next to their product summary so if the consumer is satisfied at this point with their decision-making process and wants to buy, they are just a click away from seeing the “best deals” for this particular product,
Product features & user benefits – it is so important to outline both the product features and the benefits to the user. As with all website content, you need to focus on the needs of the reader and how the product will address a particular requirement or problem they have.
For example, there is no point in simply telling a reader that a mobile phone has ‘4G connectivity’ without telling them how 4G will help them to stream video or watch BBC iPlayer on their mobile phone. There no point in telling a reader that a kettle has an ‘Eco-element’ without telling them that an Eco-element will use 30% less electricity than a standard kettle thus saving them money.
If you’re still not clear about the difference between features & benefits, remember this…
A feature tells a consumer what a product does.
A benefit tells a consumer what a product does for them.
Summary & Target Users – The end of your product review should contain a summary of the product including the good and bad elements. It should also include your opinion of who the product is aimed at, for example:
“The iPhone is a ‘must-have’ mobile phone for those who want to be seen as trend setters however, it is expensive so for those who are on a tighter budget, you might want to consider…(link to an alternative product)”.
User Comments – The final part of the perfect product review is to add some feedback from actual users of the product. These can be simple, single-line comments rather than long-winder individual reviews. In an ideal world, you should include comments from your own customers here. If you don’t have any yet, it’s worth emailing your customers and asking them to summarise the product in a single sentence.
If this isn’t practical then an alternative is to scout the Internet looking for comments about the product from consumers on other websites. To find some suitable comments, go to Google and enter the product into the search box with the word “comments” in speech marks afterwards, for example,
This will produce a list of website pages where the word ‘iPhone’ (or your product name) is included together with the word ‘comments’.
If you are going to include comments from another website then you should include a link back to the page where the original comment was taken from. We’d suggest that adding 5-6 comments should be enough for the reader to make an informed judgement on whether the product is right for them.
Of course the validity of user comments is greatly enhanced if you provide a feedback/comments form at the bottom of your product review to encourage readers to leave their opinions on the product.