As hard as the SEO industry strives to please search engines, search engines strive even harder to please their users. So when the popularity of social commerce content soars with users, search engines sit up and take notice.
1 in 4 UK consumers use the internet on their phones every day, and an increasing number of them do so to shop.
In fact, mobile phones are so thoroughly integrated into the shopping process that they're nearly as popular as sales assistants among consumers looking for information in-store.
But - and this is a big 'but' - reviews and other social content will only help your SEO if search engines can see it.
This sounds common sense, but far too many people assume that anything users can see will be seen and valued by search engines. Sadly, it's not that simple.
Earlier this month, Richard Anson spoke to the IMRG Communications Channel Summit on the crucial importance for brands of controlling their online reputation.
He certainly didn't mean silencing your critics by censoring negative feedback. This tactic is a hangover from the pre-digital era and anyone trying it today will fail and will suffer a terrible consumer backlash.
We're in the middle of the biggest change in the consumer shopping behaviour since the rise of ecommerce. The time when brands and retailers could control the purchase journey, and decide which channels shoppers could use, is past.
Now consumers are in control of a purchase journey than spans multiple channels and prioritises the social information of friends, family and customer ratings over traditional, 'official' sources like marketing materials or sales assistants.
We've known for a while that consumers' pre-purchase research has spread far beyond retailer and brand sites. Even so, we were shocked to see just how great the change was. Around 90% of consumers will spend at least 24 hours researching a purchase of £200 or more - but they'll only spend the last few minutes on a retailer site.
There's been a lot of guesswork on the real impact of Google’s latest algorithm change. So it's refreshing to finally see some hard data, reported at SEOMoz. They've crunched the numbers to see if sites with lots of user generated social commerce content (reviews and consumer Q&A) have got more traffic from Google after Panda.
Social commerce content has the potential to be a powerful tool to improve SEO for ecommerce. But not all social commerce tools are created equal and not all have the features necessary to help you with traffic and search engine rankings.
Here are the 3 key considerations when adding social content (like user reviews or consumer Q&A) to your site.
Traffic is the lifeblood of any ecommerce site. Even household name brands and retailers prioritise making their sites as attractive to search engines as possible - which is exactly what SEO does.
Filling your site with quality, unique content is the gold standard of SEO. And using social commerce content for SEO is the very best way to do this: scalable, cost-effective and proven to work.