User-Generated Content: Why Is It Important?

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 | Blueprint

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:

  • Blogs
  • Photo-sharing platforms (Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, etc)
  • Social media comments (Twitter, Facebook)
  • Wikis
  • Videos and podcasts
  • Customer reviews
  • Forums
  • Memes

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.

Review-based Testimonials

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.

By: Blair Sanders
  • Elizabeth Weaver

    Nice article, Blair! It’s definitely important for us in the SEO industry to be aware and take advantage of user-generated content. I particularly like your point about review-based testimonials, as they can be super powerful for a brand.

  • Rebekah Faucette

    Social media contests are an excellent way to draw attention to your site, but should not be undertaken lightly. There are several privacy issues that can arise and, if the prize is not rewarded publicly, the contest can seem like a scam for information. If you decide to implement one, ensure that you have permission to share any entries or information and announce a winner promptly and publicly – and be sure to follow through with the prize!

  • User-generated content is so crucial to success in site’s that generate revenue through page visits. This is an often-ignored strategy to these business’ success. Nice article!

  • Naima

    UGC is very important for businesses focusing strongly on customer engagement and reviews.
    It works great for SEO, because it shows exactly what your target audience wants to get from your website, and it gives you ideas on topics to discuss in the future, or ways to improve the services you offer. ​

  • Joshua Bains

    Digital media is making mainstream what Howard Gossage did in the 1960’s. He called it Leave Room for the Mouse, and created huge flows of response from mail-in ads where the audience was asked to contribute something of themselves in response to the enticing branding. This is 55 year old advertising that created popular waves, fads and mass movements yet today we say it’s the internet that devised citizen response. Not true. The internet has emplaced the concept of responsive media among us and conditioned a new generation to give its opinions at will and expect change to come forthwith. But change isn’t so easy. Possible. Never easy; this was more apparent when you had to mail in a coupon and wait 4-6 weeks for your prize.

  • Chuniq Inpower

    UGC is definitely something new I learned about with this piece Blair! The importance of a collaborative environment where your customers can contribute information that has the potential to attract new business is an awesome resource to take advantage of.