Is there a relationship between SEO and user generated content (UGC)?
User generated content consists primarily of customer reviews, testimonials and social media mentions. However, depending on your business model, you could leverage other types of UGC in your internet marketing.
Content generated by your customers is a great tool for building trust among prospects, growing brand awareness and improving the perceived authenticity of your business.
And, yes, you can also use UGC to help boost your SEO.
What Is User Generated Content (UGC)?
UGC includes reviews, testimonials and social mentions, but your customers can create all kinds of content, depending on your company’s products or services.
In the social media world, customers generate content for you by creating pins in Pinterest, making comments on blog posts and posting linked mentions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Customer-created videos make up a huge (and growing) segment of YouTube content. They’re also viewed 10 times more than videos generated by the brand they reference. Brands are also using customer photos to improve sales and online authenticity.
The Benefits of User Generated Content
Research done in 2014 by the social influence experts at Crowdtap indicated that UGC is 50 percent more trusted than other media by a large segment of consumers. Your prospects may be skeptical of how great you say your business is, but when consumers say it, they tend to believe it.
Each type of UGC has its own unique benefits, and you can leverage each one in a different way.
User reviews, for example are supremely important in today’s digital world. As we learned last week, 90-plus percent of U.S. consumers seek out online reviews before making a purchasing decision, and almost that many consumers give customer reviews as much credence as they do recommendations from a friend or family member.
Customer testimonials are also highly influential. They help build trust and overcome barriers on the path to purchase.
But the most impressive benefit may be the way that UGC can improve your site’s search engine optimization (SEO).
Optimizing User Generated Content for SEO
Here at Be Locally, we have literally hundreds of ways we optimize UGC for SEO. And although we can’t give away all our secrets, we can tell you a few of our favorites.
You can optimize testimonials for SEO by giving your customers suggestions for writing and submitting them. You can quote them in optimized blog posts and social media posts.
Optimize customer photos the same way you optimize your photos for SEO — it’s still one of the best ways to boost your site rankings in the SERPs. You can also optimize YouTube videos to boost SEO by using a carefully written title and description and adding the right tags.
Speaking of tags, you can give your customers a unique hashtag to use when mentioning your business on social media platforms. You can have fun with this — and your customers will definitely have some fun with it — by making yours memorable. Just make sure any hashtags you use are related to your keywords and key phrases.
One of the most memorable hashtag campaigns in the last few years was the #IceBucketChallenge for ALS. You can read more about some of the most effective and well-known hashtag marketing campaigns for inspiration.
If you would like more suggestions on obtaining reviews, testimonials and other UGC — including strategies for optimizing that content for SEO — contact Be Locally today.
Be Locally SEO provides a full range of online marketing services to customers in Utah and across the U.S. We offer web design, SEO, content marketing, social media marketing and Google AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) marketing assistance. Contact us today to learn more about how you can leverage user generated content to improve your site’s SEO.