This blog post is guest-written by Scott Koester, Product Manager for Bazaarvoice Search.

Reviews now have an even bigger impact on search results.

On Tuesday, May 12, Google introduced Rich Snippets, a new feature that allows Google to display product rating, review count, and actual review text direct in Google search results.

We already know reviews have a positive impact on search, and this further underscores the need for reviews on any and all websites that want to attract people researching or buying products or services. Organizations without reviews will be left even further behind in the search game.

And it’s great news for Bazaarvoice clients – this free feature will automatically be turned on for all 525+ brand sites Bazaarvoice powers, driving traffic to more than 2 million pages.

We already know that reviews on sites enhance the customer experience and drive sales. Now, Rich Snippets amps up the impact reviews will have on natural search results. Searchers – especially those who are ready to buy – won’t be able to ignore these review snapshots.

Google’s own experiments have shown that users find the new data valuable — if they see useful and relevant information from the page, they are more likely to click through. And we already know customers are looking specifically for product reviews – December 2008 Nielson research found that 81% of shoppers seek reviews.

Maximizing results with Rich Snippets

Review volume matters. Google’s Rich Snippets will show a summary of review information, and pages with more reviews will appear more favorable. In short, it’s important that all products are reviewed – and reviewed a lot.  Bazaarvoice Community Managers, who act as an extension of their clients’ marketing teams, constantly gather and share best practices for driving new volume and engagement, so our clients’ sites rank well.

Syndicate manufacturer reviews to retailers to boost traffic. Retailers need more reviews, and today manufacturers can help build this volume through content syndication. BrandVoice – Bazaarvoice’s product that enables manufacturers to capture reviews on their own sites, then syndicate them to retailer sites – allows the manufacturer to directly, positively impact search results for its key retailers.

Grab the long tail of search. Searchers are getting more specific: according to Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Analytics Evangelist, the average search string has increased 25% since 2008. And the more specific the search, the closer the searcher is to buying. For example, a search for “Nissan Sedan,” may be a search for generic information; however, a search for “2009 Blue Nissan Sentra SE Austin,” is an indication that the searcher knows what he wants and is looking to buy.

More and more, user-generated content drives the way shoppers search, and Rich Snippets is one more way Bazaarvoice clients can benefit from reviews on their site. Here is an example of how content powered by Rich Snippets could be displayed.

Google Rich Snippets

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