It would be wonderful if visitors to your site, as well as potential customers, could rank you higher in search engines. Although it may sound too good to be true this is actually a very functional strategy thanks to user generated content (UGC).
You will see a common thread in the top online platforms: they all rely on user-generated content.
You don’t need to be on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest to benefit from this “growth hack”.
This post will discuss the UGC content categories, and, most importantly, how user generated content can positively impact your overall SEO and search ranking.
What is user-generated SEO?
Let’s suppose you have written a wonderful piece of content. It has 5,000 words and uses all the best SEO techniques. The next step is for Googlebot to crawl the content and decide how high it ranks on a virtual EA-T scale (Expertise Authority Trust) before indexing it.
Imagine that the same post you wrote is now being updated with around 200 words per day. There are also user images and videos posted in the comments.
The post will expand significantly and it will also cover the topic in an even wider context. Googlebot will crawl it again and it will be richer than before. This can help improve your rankings.
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While a few comments won’t make a difference, you can increase your SERP (search engine result pages) growth by using some of the UGC tips we shared in this post.
What are the types of user-generated material?
Your visitors will benefit from being active on your website twice. Visitors not only make the site more enjoyable for other users, but they also send positive signals to search engine spiders.
These are the most common types of UGC:
Visitors are capable of writing content on many topics. Since they are working towards a goal, they will do their best to create a quality post (assuming that they aren’t spammers).
When your UGC environment has been set up properly, contributors can prepare well-researched, detailed posts on topics that are really interesting to you and your niche.
Reviews and testimonials
G2, Capterra and Yelp are just some of the UGC websites built on testimonials and reviews.
This type of UGC is beneficial to you from two perspectives. The first one is of course the obvious increase in content size and everything that comes with it.
The second is even more important: it is Google E-A–T. Reviews and testimonials are one of the most important contributors to your Google “karma”.
A positive rating on these sites, BBB (Better Business Bureau), Google Business, and other search engines can significantly improve your authority and standing to help you achieve higher SEO rankings.
Quora is a great example of the UGC strategy with Q&A (questions & answers).
A Q&A section is a great addition for your website. Visitors’ questions will not only generate new content but also shed light on problems and issues that might be unfamiliar to you.
People will be more active if they have a place to discuss different topics. All you have to do is steer the conversation in the right direction. Shopify, for example, is using forums UGC to its advantage.
You might be surprised by the number of users who are prepared to help others or correct them if they are wrong.
A comments section at the end of an article can make it even more useful. Your site visitors can spark a discussion, or cover aspects of topics that you have not written about. This will help you to expand on the topics that are important to your business.
social proof is another side effect of comments. Users who see that there’s a lively discussion under a posted post increase the authority and strength of that post. This is because they can see that others have found it useful or took the time to expand on your idea.
Videos and images
Visual creatures are common, so it is a good idea to allow users to upload images and videos.
Visual content can be used to entertain people, provide more relevant content to users, and communicate complex or difficult concepts.
For increased engagement, you can leverage the content of your organic influencers by curating their content to your page. users will prefer UGC images over brands’ content because they are more authentic and relatable.
Many elements can be used to expand your content and improve your SEO. Let’s look closer at how this effect is achieved.
How can user-generated content improve SEO performance?
Search engine optimization involves incremental improvements that eventually lead to a significant increase in organic traffic. It is difficult to make everything 100 percent better but it is easier to make 10 improvements per increment of 10 percent.
This is precisely what user-generated material brings to the table. These are just a few of the many improvements that can be made to your website.
Content added regularly
Content marketing is a key ingredient in organic traffic but it can also be a barrier to many websites’ growth.
Let’s say you want to increase the number and quality of keywords indexed. You need to publish 100,000 words in this year. This is approximately 2,000 words per week, which sounds easy but can be quite difficult in practice.
Your visitors can generate user content, which will increase the number of words that are published. This will increase the number of keywords search engines can index. It will also increase the likelihood that some keywords will be able to meet Google’s ranking criteria and knowledge graph. Your keywords will be ranked well in SERP.
Allowing comments, even if they seem small, can significantly increase the content of your posts. Some users might leave a few words but others may write entire essays, commenting on, criticizing, or expanding upon the original idea.
Keywords with long tail keywords
Let’s say you have a website about golf. You are conducting keyword research to create your content calendar.
You decide to search for “How to” keywords in order to find traffic posts. The Semrush keyword magic tool will show you these results.
Chances are that out of all these keywords you would write an article on “how to swing a golf club” and other keywords would be put on your content list to… never be seen again.
You want to make the most of your resources and time so that you can maximize the impact of your content. Only large content departments can write for every keyword, no matter how little traffic or how long it takes to rank.
UGC can help you. Your content will be filled with long-tail keywords by users. They will include secondary keywords in their contributions as well as variations of the primary keyword.
This does not refer to spammy links in comments. We mean the outgoing links to authoritative sites.
If a visitor creates a comment, and wants to prove their argument with proof, they will link to another website.
You could make all UGC links “nofollow” to prevent spam, but it still creates a natural outgoing link profile that is more natural than if it were done by you.
Rate of bounce
You can create natural links with user-generated content. Here’s how it works:
You receive a comment on your post. Respond and include a link to another section of your website that explains the topic in greater detail.
This will reduce the bounce rate. Users will not leave the landing page immediately after they have looked at it, but instead will click on the internal links to your site and browse other content.
Time on site
A user-generated content SEO effect is also the time visitors spend on your website. The engagement rate of new visitors is increased by user-generated content, including comments, images, and videos. They also make the site more enjoyable for them.
Google has not confirmed this, but they do track site visits as a ranking factor. Your SEO success is dependent on how much time your audience spends surfing UGC.
Social media mentions
Your site will benefit from more social buzz. Social media shares are increased by user-generated content. Your site is now being shared by visitors on social media.
Social shares don’t affect your ranking, but brand exposure does. Search engines will receive more ranking signals if your website is frequently mentioned.
The greatest SEO pros for user-generated content
You may have noticed that all of the SEO methods user content generation uses is similar: it is the natural growth and emphasis on natural content.
Rankings are the main focus when you write content for your website. It is important to have the correct keyword ratios and the correct number of links, titles, URLs and URLs. You may still end up writing a post more for Google than your readers.
When submitting UGC, visitors don’t have a ranking goal. All of their text, keywords usage, links, and other information are completely organic. Google loves a well-optimized blog post. However, natural language is important.
Cons of user-generated content
While we discussed the many positive effects user-generated content can have on your SEO, there are also negative aspects.
Most users will post content if you allow them to do so rationally and in accordance with a code of conduct. There will be some who will attempt to exploit the situation and post spam or vulgarities.
These encounters can be minimized by setting clear rules and controlling the UGC posted on your site.
Content Review — Before publishing, review all UGC. It may slow down natural content flow and decrease engagement but it will ensure that nothing negative is published on your site.
Keyword Filters — Make sure to blacklist keywords most associated with spam or make sure you review content with those keywords.
UGC Moderators – If you plan to heavily rely upon user-generated content SEO, a UGC moderator is a great idea. This person would oversee the publication of new content and ensure that it is in line with your rules.
Captcha – This is your first line of defense when you aim for UGC. It will filter out all comments and posts that are completely untrues.
The user-generated content can help you increase your organic traffic.
You can increase the content of your site by giving visitors the opportunity to participate. This will help you build links and social mentions.
UGC has many other benefits. As the number of written content, images, and points of views increases, so does engagement. Search engines will notice this.
You will need to create some guidelines to ensure that your user content generation SEO strategy is not misused. It is minor in comparison to the many benefits that UGC SEO can bring.