User-Generated Content: Why Is It Important?
When we think of web content, we typically envision a static web page that only administrators have access to change. This was the case in the years following the internet’s introduction to the world. However, the web has shifted from a read-only state to a place where the reader has input in what information is presented online.
User-generated content (UGC) as the name suggests, is online material created and distributed by a particular site’s audience rather than solely by the company itself.
There are many common forms of UGC, such as:
- Photo-sharing platforms (Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc)
- Social media comments (Twitter, Facebook)
- Videos and podcasts
- Customer reviews
These are just a few ways in which readers can help write your brand’s story. Supporting UGC opens up a wide range of opportunities to engage with your audience and connect with them on an advanced level.
How Does UGC Benefit SEO?
“What is the best donut shop in Atlanta? Does this vacuum really last as long as the commercial claims? What do others think about the gas prices?”
Many readers want to know what other customers think about a particular topic, product, or situation, so they turn to UGC sources to find their answer in addition to a primary source. UGC is relateable, adding to the appeal drawing in its audience.
UGC performs well on the social media front, which also helps its SEO. Most UGC is easily shared and reaches new viewers, as well as create more UGC in the process. It becomes a cycle, promoting your site and boosting your rankings.
In this same way, Google is catching up to the potential benefits of UGC through its Hummingbird algorithm. Google Hummingbird works to make sure that your search results accurately represent what you are looking for.
Hummingbird relies heavily on conversational content, because that’s what many users are looking for. UGC is typically written in a way that is easier for Hummingbird to notice, thus highlighting your material as opposed to pages solely geared for sales purposes.
How Can You Take Advantage Of UGC?
UGC is the focal point of SEO today, as many businesses rely on social media, blogging, video and other means to convey information. Incorporating UGC into your SEO and social media campaign can boost your rankings, and even increase your conversions.
Need some UGC ideas to mix into your strategy?
Here are a couple of tips to get you started:
Social Media Contests
These contests bring an extra buzz to your social media campaign. It not only engages your current followers, but it potentially expands your fan base as well. Contests draw attention to your pages, mostly because of user participation and promotion, then the added activity begins to positively affect your SEO.
We have all heard the adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity as long as they spell your name right”. In internet circles, it can be true. Word of mouth is a critical component to your site’s success. When you hear feedback from your customers, make sure you take advantage of the fact and incorporate these thoughts in your SEO campaign.
When visitors come to your site, in many cases they are looking for information about your product and services, but also reviews that justify using your company. These reviews add a powerful boost to your organization’s ethos and creates a relationship between you and your customers.
Incorporate UGC Into Your SEO Strategy
The future of online marketing steers toward UGC, and rightfully so. The more you include your customer base, the better the relationship you will create. Embrace the idea of using UGC when conducting your campaign and get your targeted community to help promote your site for you.