The eCommerce world is seemingly full of new insights every minute. Every time you think you have an industry-standard method for building reach and gaining web traffic, a new one takes its place. Is there a lasting way to keep your business visible through every change and innovation in the internet? While the internet continues to evolve, people still buy things and behave in relatively consistent ways from one year to the next.
Taking human purchasing behavior into account is crucial to understanding what the most important facet of eCommerce is today. When people look to make purchases online, the first thing they do (and have done for at least a decade) is search for the product using a search engine, most likely Google. This means the visibility of a product is greatly affected by its ranking on these online searches. The strategy of making web content rank higher on the online search is called search engine optimization, or SEO for short. How a company approaches SEO can separate them from the competition and make the growth process simpler.
SEO Can Turn Searches Into Clicks
By utilizing an SEO strategy, your company will appear in the top ten or so pages when a customer searches on Google or other search engines. Potential buyers use every kind of search technique imaginable, from highly specific searches that zero in on exactly what they’re looking for to slapdash, poorly spelled searches. Remember that humans will be human no matter what.
A good SEO strategy will help you make sure your website performs well no matter how the buyer searches. For example, someone looking for a bulk plastic packaging supplier for their supermarket chain might search for “plastic bag manufacturers,” or the more industry-standard term “plastic packaging manufacturers.” They might also just search for something like “how 2 buy plastic bags online.” If your SEO team is on their game, they have a plan to make sure you appear high in the search rankings for each of these buyers. You never know who is looking to fill the big orders, and you certainly can’t tell by their spelling and grammar.
How Customer Reviews Improve SEO
Customer reviews are obviously beneficial for business. Studies have shown that 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a website that has customer reviews. A whopping 95% of people who search online say that customer reviews are essential to making the purchase. People who search your site are 105% more likely to make a purchase after interacting with user-generated content like reviews or customer questions that have been answered by a company representative. Some websites even have options for users to answer other users’ questions.
Search engines use internet bots called web crawlers, sometimes referred to as “spiders,” to scan the internet for pages and then catalog that content in every web page. Spiders are attracted to unique and fresh content, so if you have user-generated pages popping up regularly in the form of reviews, they’ll return to your site more often and regularly reposition it in searches. Any good manufacturing company you can think of has detailed descriptions of their products on their webpage and will export those descriptions to any ecommerce platform they use. But, strict replications of your product’s specifications won’t draw the same attention from web crawling spiders. Every review of your product is unique and adds heft to your product’s online clout by differentiating your product in search engine results.
Customer Reviews Add a Human Element
Looking at it from the human side, it’s easy to see how more unique content attracts web traffic and customers. Just like spiders, real people “crawl” the web looking for the ideal purchase for their needs. After a while, it gets tiring, and every site begins to look the same. So, consumers will be more likely to interact with your site if your content is unique and has a high quantity of fresh, articulate customer reviews.
People have also begun to search for the word “review” after the product they’re looking for. They know that the most trustworthy information they can get will come from other customers like them, rather than the official press release of a product. These “product name + review” searches have become more common along with the growing popularity of customer reviews. By being aware of the new trends in consumer keyword searches, your business will be able to keep up with SEO strategies and gain visibility on the search engines.
Sites like Amazon have begun to include a helpfulness ranking for their reviews. A yes/no selectable button appears when you’ve read a review with the text “was this review helpful to you?” The review helpfulness option alone was responsible for $2.7 billion of added revenue for Amazon. At one point, the endless generation of reviews can be overwhelming, forcing the user to wade through too many opinions. Amazon’s solution was to weed out some good and some bad reviews for maximum usability.
Manufacturing Companies are Using Customer Reviews to Build Business
Here at eKomi, we provide review management services for manufacturing companies like International Plastics, a firm based in South Carolina that has been supplying plastic bags and other kinds of plastic packaging since 1964. Lead generation has evolved a lot since then.
Generally speaking, you want as many good reviews as you can, and International Plastics has them in spades. They have an aggregate 4.6/5 review rating and over 500 reviews. Many of the reviews are detailed and thoughtful, and their customer service team has even taken advantage of the odd bad review. There are studies that have shown that the presence of bad reviews can actually help conversion by 63%. An even mixture of positive and negative reviews on any website shows that the company isn’t censoring bad feedback.
Manufacturing companies do lots of shipping, and mistakes are a reality of any shipping-based industry. Lots of manufacturing companies’ bad reviews are due to shipping errors and product presentation errors. Though only 3.59% of their reviews are classified as bad (1 or 2 stars), International Plastics’ VP of Operations, Mark McClure, has taken the time to answer many of them personally and works towards remedying the situations. This shows that International Plastics can stand behind their product and that they care about customer outcomes more than raw sales. By following the example of International Plastics, you can make sure your business is staying competitive for the long haul.