Josh Himwich, director of e-commerce operations and user experience for Diapers.com, discusses how PowerReviews’ SEO software helped drive traffic to the e-commerce site
Q Why is it challenging for user reviews to drive traffic to e-commerce sites?
A When Google and other search robots are looking at product detail pages, with the way the technology currently works, they can’t index the user reviews — they’re blocked. So, it’s challenging to figure out how to expose those reviews to search engines.
Q Why can indexing user reviews drive more traffic?
A There are certain qualitative words that we would never use to describe a product, but customer reviewers would. We shy away from words like “best,” but a reviewer might say something to that effect. For example, Google would index the word “best” along with a certain product. So this increased traffic when people would type qualitative words, as they often do, into a search engine.
Q How does PowerReviews’ software help marketers index more easily?
A PowerReviews packages up the first 15 user reviews, and we put them into our own database. So we, instead of PowerReviews, serve up the first 15 reviews for all of our products. Now, the engines can index those phrases. It’s easy in concept but hard in execution.
Q Why was now a good time for Diapers.com to use the software?
A It’s always a good time for search engine optimization (SEO). But specifically now, even in this tough economy, pay-per-click (PPC) prices are not going down. The only way to combat that is by being good at SEO. The good thing about SEO is that a lot — I’d say 80% — of the work is up front. If you do it well up front, then you only have about 20% maintenance. But with PPC, you’re in the weeds all the time.
Q Why is this type of marketing effective for the mom demographic?
A Everyone wants to be very cautious and careful with their babies — that’s the spirit in which these moms give reviews. The reviews are very in-depth and give specific observations about the interactions of their children with the products. They want to have that sense of helping other parents. So indexing those reviews is important.
Q What were the results?
A Just two weeks after the launch in February, we saw big lifts in traffic. On the product detail pages where we have user reviews, we saw a 48.8% increase in natural search traffic and a 33.2% lift in natural search sales.