How To Get Free Unique Content With Product Reviews: 15,000+ Words In 12 Hours

With the recent Google update of Panda attacks, now more than ever retailers need to focus on creating unique content that’s also high-quality. An easy way to get this content is to ask for help!

Today, I’m going to cover how you can optimize customer product reviews to make more with your online store. By asking your customers to give you feedback on the products they buy, you get inside your customers’ heads and you get killer content for your product pages.

Before my column ran last month, I was embarrassed that I didn’t have any reviews on the example product I was writing about! I decided to go all out and email every single person who ever bought this product to see how many reviews I could get before my next deadline.

Well, Shazam, Pee Wee! I got hundreds of reviews! And it worked so well, I started rolling this out to some other products immediately.

In this week’s column, I’ll share what I’ve learned so far.

Benefits Of Products With Reviews

Products with reviews convert better

  • Social proof: People buy this and it works!
  • Real people actually shop with you
  • Show additional benefits
  • Stories sell stuff

Product reviews have SEO Benefits

  • Get more unique text content with reviews
    • Beef up existing product page content
    • Sometimes enough text for an additional page
    • Panda-proof: reviews not syndicated via feeds
  • Get more keywords with reviews
    • Better long tail SEO
    • Customers use different keywords than you do
    • Rank for your best keywords + “reviews”
    • Get  activity related keywords:
    • Excuse to get breeds of dogs worked in to the page

First, just offering product reviews isn’t enough. We’ve been doing that on the store for over a year. A certain percentage of your customers would love to give you feedback on what they bought and why, but you just need to remind them. Email is perfect for this.

Mamaw used to say, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” She’s right! Take one SKU at a time. Start with your best-sellers, and fire up your email software.

What Do Customers Really Think About This Product?

Seeing all the feedback for one product from dozens and dozens of customers was mind-blowing. It’s easy to see trends when product feedback comes in one big blast in one afternoon.

After we got over 250 reviews, I stuck them in a text file where I was looking for three different things in the text:

  • Customer success stories
  • What people liked and didn’t like
  • Customer keywords — the language regular people use to describe this product.

Customer Success Stories

I like customer stories and reviews. The more I feature them on a product page, the more conversions I get!

Here are three examples:

Example  1 – Being able to see the improvement has helped my sanity greatly. Especially when dealing with my neighbor who believes he is entitled to utter and complete silence living in a condo. I have yet to tell him that he sounds like a rhino when he walks around upstairs.

Example 2 – I bought this to train my Jack Russell Terrier because we were gong to be taking her on a long flight from Tokyo to the US. Anyway, she learned very quickly, on level 1, that barking was a no no while wearing the collar. Now, I just have to show her the collar when she’s barking and she gets quiet. This makes the product worth the extra price.

Example 3 – I work the night shift, & my german shepherd / black lab mix never barks when I am home. However it turns out when I’m away he goes into guard-dog mode and barks at everyone (even my landlord neighbor). …  It turns out this amazing little gem trained him to stop barking after only 3 corrections. 3 corrections, on level 2 no more barking. Worth every penny!

What Customers Like & Don’t Like

The second thing that I like to look for in these customer reviews are recurring themes. After you read 250+ reviews, you’re going to start to seeing the same things over and over again. And with this product there were several recurring themes.

People liked:

  • Quick results – stops barking now
  • Multiple levels for different dogs
  • Sleep feature saves battery life
  • Bark odometer/counter shows it’s working

People didn’t like:

  • Smart dogs can become collar-wise
  • Too sensitive for some dogs
  • Short product lifespan (after warranty expires)
  • Buttons aren’t very user friendly
  • Contact points too short for thick hair

I got this summary over to our customer reps and product experts for feedback, and got several pages of notes to update the product page to reflect what prospects want in this product.

Language Lesson: Customers Use Words You Don’t

One of the advantages to asking your customers for these reviews is you actually get to see the keywords that real customers use to describe what you sell. We got over 15,000 words from our customers in these 250+ reviews of user generated content filled with keywords, filled with customer stories, using different words that customers use to describe these products — including misspelled words.

Customers wrote 15,000 words of unique text:

Content                        Length                        Unique Words

Original text                ~1,000 words                 400 unique keywords

Reviews text                ~15,000 words                1,600 unique words

Keyword cloud from original product description

This tag cloud below shows frequency of  keywords from the product description. I wrote an extended caption field. Notice how it focuses on brand, features, and benefits.


Help Yourself By Asking For Types Of Keywords

In the reviews form itself you can ask questions designed to get keyword loaded answers.  In this example, we asked for breed of dog and activities owners did with their dogs.

Here are just the ABC’s of the breeds customers volunteered:

aussie shepherd, australian shepherd, beagle, bearded collie & cavachon, beauceron, belgian tervuren, black lab, black labs, black & tan, blue heeler/bull terrier mix, bluetick, bluetick coonhounds, border collie, border collie mix, bouvier, boxer, boykin spaniel, brittany, brittany spaniels, cairn terrier, cardigan welsh corgi, cattle dog/aussie and border collie, cheasapeak bay retriever, chesapeake bay retriever, chesapeake retriever, chihauhau, chocolate lab, cocker spaniel, collie, corgi mix, corgies…

This  tag cloud shows the frequency of keywords from 15,000 words of text in 250+ customer reviews. All the words here were not contained in the original product description. Notice how this keyword cloud focuses on dog breeds, problems, situations, and results.

Once we get this page spidered, based on previous successes, this will likely more than double the number of keywords driving traffic and sales to this page.

Homework For You

Email every customer who ever bought a SKU and:

  • Ask for a review
  • Put the reviews form in the email itself.
  • Have a contest to increase response rate
  • Ask product-centric questions
  • Ask for success stories
  • Give folks plenty of room to write

Deal with customer service issues:

  • Don’t do it on a Monday
  • Let customer service know it’s coming
  • Respond to problem reviews as they come in
  • Fix customer service issues
  • Address product issues in page content

Organize review content:

  • Pull out good customer stories
  • Organize content into themes
  • Grab “quotable quotes”
  • Summarize pros and cons
  • Make sure reviews are in plain HTML on the page

As retailers, we deal with products on a daily basis. We are jaded. We may talk to customers, but we are not customers. Customers have a completely different vocabulary.

You need to learn how customers view a product, use the terms that they use in your product page copy, and solve the problems they have in their terms if you want to sell more on the Web. It’s that easy!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Retail | Search & Retail


About The Author: owns Gun Dog Supply, an online retailer of dog training collars and teaches retailers about conversion optimization and SEO for e-commerce at You can follow him on Twitter @RobSnell.

Connect with the author via: Email | Twitter | Google+ | LinkedIn


Get all the top search stories emailed daily!  


Other ways to share:

Read before commenting! We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here.
  • Michael Dorausch

    What I love best is that Rob is in the trenches and this stuff isn’t just theory. I’m finding the same thing in my industry by allowing others to create unique content. Reading this motivates me to turn it up and get back to emailing for more.

  • Rick

    You are a mad man Rob! I just forwarded this blog post to a few of our clients. It’s amazing to me how many retailers ignore product reviews.

    By letting your customers create unique content that is hosted on your site you are essentially building your own real estate. That’s the approach Amazon took to grow into the giant they are today. They built a ton of real estate and now rent it out via the 3rd party marketplace.

    It seems like such a simple concept but most retailers still do not seem to grasp it.


  • Rob Snell


    Brother Steve says the only reason I write SEL columns or speak at shows is so I have deadlines to finish my GDS projects instead of doing endless R&D on new ideas! ;)

  • Scott

    Very insightful but I’d also love to hear your suggestions on affordable software and development solutions for implementing product reviews as well. Power Reviews for example seems a bit pricey for a small business.

  • Joseph S. Thomas

    In your opinion, do you think reviews aggregated from APIs have a similar effect for large-scale websites where obtaining tons of unique reviews are out of the question? And how many unique words do you think a product page needs for Google to notice it? Do you think ~150 words of unique content would make a difference in traffic or organic SEO performance?

  • J_Mac

    Great tip Rob! You know as a standard business practice we send a survey to all our customers upon shipment of the order. At the bottom of the survey form i ask them to provide us with an optional testimonial and give us their permission to publish it. Other than post a few testimonials on our “testimonials” page i never even conceived of using them as content. My bad.

    This is an absolutely brilliant idea and as i look over the surveys I’ve accumulated over the past 10 years, i now have thousands of of testimonials to leverage as content. Thanks for the fantastic idea.


Get Our News, Everywhere!

Daily Email:

Follow Search Engine Land on Twitter @sengineland Like Search Engine Land on Facebook Follow Search Engine Land on Google+ Get the Search Engine Land Feed Connect with Search Engine Land on LinkedIn Check out our Tumblr! See us on Pinterest


Click to watch SMX conference video

Join us at one of our SMX or MarTech events:

United States


Australia & China

Learn more about: SMX | MarTech

Free Daily Search News Recap!

SearchCap is a once-per-day newsletter update - sign up below and get the news delivered to you!



Search Engine Land Periodic Table of SEO Success Factors

Get Your Copy
Read The Full SEO Guide