Skip to content

How Building Products Can Stop Losing the Online Review Battle

Learn how building products can stop losing the battle with online reviews.

by Zach Williams

It's no secret that your building materials products are being compared online. Yet what most building material manufactures don't know is the massive shift that is happening in reference to how their audiences are reviewing and comparing them online.

What we are seeing is that there are publications, bloggers, YouTube channels and even entire websites dedicated to comparing products within the building materials space -- that means brand to brand as well as category against category.

What is happening is that your audience is going online and they are searching for comparisons between you and your competitors. Unfortunately, the problem is that most manufactures don't even know that this is happening and, if they do, they don't feel like they can win this battle.

So what I'm going to show you how to not only get ahead of this curve on this trend, but how to win the battle and take advantage of it so you can out-position and out-market your competition.

There is a trend that is happening online with your audience where they are comparing your products against your competitors.

The trend that we're seeing is that your audience ... regardless if it is a builder, contractor, architect, or end homeowner ... is changing the way they are researching products online.

What is happening is that your audience is going on to search engines, let’s say Google, and they are searching for your product versus your competitor.

Oftentimes, they'll will even be searching for your category versus another category. Yet when they are searching for this information, we are seeing that most manufacturers' websites aren't showing up in the results. They are not even a part of this conversation that is happening online.

People have refined the way they gather comparison information

The shift that is happening is that your audience used to go to your website and do research there. Next, they go to a competitor's website and do research there. Then try to figure out the comparisons on their own.

Instead, they have gotten smarter ...

People are literally asking these search engines, whether it is Google or whoever, to give them the comparison information directly.

They are asking search engines to give them what they are looking for in reference to a comparison. That's why they are typing into the search box field, "your product versus somebody else."

Get a custom report on how to outperform your competition
195 Google Analytics 4 What Building Materials Marketers Need to Know Banner

If you go online and search for comparison information, chances are that your website is not going to rank or even talk about this information.

Screenshot 2016 08 31 09 55 24

So let's take Kohler for an example. They are one of the biggest building material manufacturers out there.

If you go to Google and you search for “Kohler versus…” and then you wait a second and don't type anything, what you are going to see is that Google will actually give you examples of other searches that other people like you have searched for.

So you will see:

  • Kohler versus Moen
  • Kohler versus Delta
  • Kohler versus another brand...

The reason why Google is doing this is because they know that other people like you are searching for this comparison information.

There are literally tens of thousands of people searching for those terms. They are expecting Google to give them that information on how Kohler stacks up against these other competitors.

Next, let's say you type in, "Kohler versus Moen," You would expect to see Kohler or Moen show up on Google search results.

However, when you look through that page, what you are going to see is that Kohler and Moen don't show up at all.

Screenshot 2016 08 31 09 58 41

I'm going to remind you that people are searching for the comparison. They are thinking, "Should I use Kohler or Moen?" and they're not finding anything from either of these manufacturers.

Instead they are seeing third-party websites talking about them. These manufacturers are seeing videos coming up talking about their products.

The problem with this scenario is that Kohler and Moen are a step behind already in their marketing and promotion. They are leaving it up to these third-party websites to sell their products to their audiences, and this is happening across the industry.

And … it’s probably happening to you and you don't even know about it.

Besides the setbacks of letting third party websites take away your audience from finding your manufacturer website and content, negative information found online can also create a host of issues. Let us say that the first thing which comes up about your product versus your competitor is a negative review about you. You are already behind the eight ball of having to overcome that argument on why your competitor's product is better.

Yet the reason why most manufacturers don't want to talk about their competition is one of two reasons. The first is they are either too scared to mention their competition. The second reason is they don't want to go down the route of negative advertising and negative marketing.

The problem with taking this stance is that your audience is looking for a comparison and is expecting you to give it to them. They are expecting an unbiased review of when your product is right and when your competitors might be a better fit.

Your objective is to give them this comparison. If you can do this effectively, you're going to gain trust and be seen as an authoritative figure in the eyes of your potential customers as well as your audience as a whole.

An example of someone who is doing this right is the DuPont Tyvek product, which is a house wrap product. This manufacturer is oftentimes compared to Zip, which is owned by Huber. Instead of shying away from the comparison, what Tyvek is doing is that they produced a great .pdf and content around how their Tyvek product compares to Zip.

If you go onto Google and you search for Tyvek versus Zip, the manufacturer's content is the first thing that shows up. Why? They are Tyvek, and they are seen as the authority as Google is awarding them for that.

And you can do this as well.

You can literally lead the conversation on how your products are being compared to your competitors in three quick easy steps that I'm going to show you.

1: Track what websites are saying about you and make better content

The first thing you need to do is go to Google and search for your product versus every single competitor that you have. Also, search for your product category versus another competing category.

So again, if it is insulation, such as fiberglass insulation versus spray foam for example, search for those if that applies to you. Then what you want to do is catalog every page that comes up for those terms.

Your goal is to literally create better content than what you see Google is serving up to you. You want to create the most authoritative resource about your product category or your product in comparison to competitors that is out there online.

So you're going to see what they are doing and you are going to do it better than them by including stats, data, images, videos and whatever it takes to create the best piece of comparative content about your products versus every single one of your competitors.

Be truthful and stay away from sales pitches

I want to be clear. This content that you are creating needs to be factual. It needs to be the truth. It doesn't need to be a sales pitch.

Your audience will smell a sales pitch a mile away. Your content needs to come across as an unbiased resource on why your product is the best. But, at the same time, it's not bad to say that your competitor might be a better fit in a certain scenario.

If you can do that in an authoritative way and not be scared to talk about it, it will only help your position in saying when your right and when you are not right.

People want to work with the people they trust. By saying that your competitors might be a better fit in certain scenarios, it really helps your positioning at that point.

Oftentimes, it will help push somebody over the edge to work with you even if you are not the complete right fit, because they want to work with people that they trust.

2: Get other authoritative websites talking about your content

The second step once you create that piece of content is to go and promote it online. What you want to do with the promotion is to get other websites and authoritative figures in your space to literally link to you and to broadcast your content to their audience. If you can do this, that's not only going to help your ranking in Google, it is also going to get new eyeballs on that content from potential customers that don't even know you yet.

The way you do that is to literally reach out to people. Reach out to those websites that you know your audience reads and reach out to publications and YouTube channels were people compare products. Establish a relationship with them and get them to link to your content.

3. Get the authoritative resource to create a similar piece of content to yours

The third step that you need to do is to close the door on random online third-party comparisons by getting another authoritative resource or publication online to write a similar piece of content to what you have written.

You essentially want them to back up the piece of content you have written online by themselves and put it on their website. What you are trying to do is to get them to create a piece of content that says, "Hey this is some information on how your products compares to a competitors and, by the way, here's another great resource that links to my website."

This strategy really closes the gap and goes full circle in reference to being a de facto resource for your product versus the competitors online and will help you outrank them in the process.

If you follow these steps, I know it will work. I know you will get a ton of traffic. We've done the same exact thing for a few of our other clients and two things have happened.

The first thing is that they are getting a flood of traffic because people are actually searching for these terms.

The second thing that is happening is that it is helping them in their sales process because people are going online to research products in reference to a competitor’s products.

I hope you have found this helpful. If you want more information on how you can outperform your competition, go to our website at and subscribe to our newsletter or like us on Facebook.

Start a Project
Let's do great work together!

Content marketing placeholder 2