SEO for Product Reviews, Part I

If you do any SEO work on branded or named products or services, hopefully you’re already optimizing for “keyword review” or “keyword reviews”. Not only is it good because people actually search for those phrases, but it’s an effective strategy for getting better placement in Google. However before we get into any tactics, I think it’s an important to show a first hand example of how ignoring this strategy can be bad for your company or product.

About 18 to 24 months ago Google started giving pages with “keyword review” or “keyword reviews” favorable rankings in it’s algorthym for “keyword” searches. It’s hard to say whether they are devaluing on page factors like “add to cart”, “buy now” or “purchase now” in text, alt text, or image names, or if Google is giving a higher score to pages with more unique content, which consumer reviews would be. While I haven’t tested extensively to isolate the two factors, I can say I get better results on websites with reviews than websites without.

The reason I bring this up is I have been getting an increasing number of hits for the following phrases:

So I went back an reread my post Writeboard, Backpack, and Basecamp Review, and while not a completely horrible review it’s not a very positive one either. Now to be fair I did go back and strikeout the one feature that has been updated, but I still stand by my original review, the product is close but not far enough along for me to consider it “finished” enough to become a paying customer. So the question is why haven’t these issued been addressed, it’s been almost 6 months and I’m not the only one asking for them. I think the answer comes from 37 signals who owns the suite of products. It just doesn’t matter – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals)

Today I spent a lot of time fielding questions about why we did this or that with Campfire. Why we added certain things, why we left out others, why the UI looks like this and not like that, etc. It’s always a blast to interact with people who are genuinely curious (and not just there to bust balls).

My favorite answer to the “why?” question is always: “Because it just doesn’t matter.” I think that statement embodies what makes a product great. Figuring out what matters and leaving out the rest.

While I will agree that’s a great line to take when launching a product or service, that just doesn’t hold water 6 months down the line. To take a line from Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start “ship, fix, ship, fix, ship fix …”. To cut to the chase I’m the person 37 signals wants to reach with their product. Not only am I a small to medium sized company that they are most interested in, my business also resembles a “virtual corporation” in many ways, in short a business who wants to leverage web productivity applications. The icing on the cake in this is, I’m an affiliate marketer who could promote their product through their new affiliate program.

For suggestions and strategies on how to use reviews see, SEO for Product Reviews, Part II

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