User-Generated Content – What Is It and How to Use It to Your Benefit?

User-Generated Content – What Is It and How to Use It to Your Benefit?

Everyone who has ever been involved in doing SEO knows that content is king – after all, the position of your website in the search results depends largely on the things you publish. However, content, meaning all kinds of texts, images, videos or recordings can be created not only by site owners but also by regular users. So can user generated content affect SEO or even brand image of your company? Keep reading to discover top SEO benefits of UGC!

Table of contents:

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is a relatively new concept in the online world. It’s been used more and more frequently alongside the development of various social media platforms and websites relying on user activity. In simple terms, it’s all content created and shared by users. It can be an image, a recording, a comment, or a review.

User-generated content has also become one of the elements distinguishing traditional media from new ones. After all, television, radio, and newspapers provide us only with content generated by professionals.

It’s worth keeping in mind that user-generated content can be created by virtually anyone. Therefore, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an author of a comment or video is an expert in the field.

Types of User-Generated Content

The most popular types of user-generated content include:

  • Comments on social media or your website,
  • Reviews,
  • Testimonials,
  • Videos,
  • Q&A sections,
  • Case studies.
user generated content example
Source: https://www.currys.co.uk/

5 SEO Benefits of User-Generated Content

What are the main benefits of user-generated content? Does it have any impact on SEO? Let’s find out!

1. User-Generated Content is a Great Way to Put Customers in the Center

By letting customers and users voice their opinions, you show them they really matter to you. This way, they somehow shape your brand and build a relationship with it.

Respond to the comments and use available feedback to determine areas for improvement. Google values websites that are active and tailor their content to users’ needs.

2. User-Generated Content is Outstanding Social Proof

Social proof is an important tool that may be more effective than the most profound advertisements.

Use comments and reviews to build your credibility and trustworthiness. Position yourself as an expert. Show new potential buyers that you offer quality products or services appreciated by former customers.

UGC can help you expand your reach. It allows users to verify whether your promises are worthy of attention.

3. User-Generated Content Can Complement Your Website

If you haven’t mentioned certain aspects or elements in your content, users can ask questions in the comments. They frequently interact with each other or wait for your official response. This way, they draw your attention to things you didn’t take into account.

It’s a great way to complement your website content and ensure that it answers all the necessary questions.

4. User-Generated Content Helps You Understand Customers

UGC can help you understand your customers’ needs and expectations. As a service or product provider, you may have a hard time deciding what aspects are the most important for buyers. Analyzing comments and reviews is a great way to find elements that should be improved and refine your strategy.

5. User-Generated Content Helps You Attract Returning Customers

Building relationships with buyers, showing them that you care, responding to their comments, and implementing changes based on their suggestions is the best way to win returning customers. If you want to make sure that people will go back to your store and benefit from your offer in the future, user-generated content can help you do it.

How to Get UGC?

Probably every website owner wants to attract active and engaged users willing to diversify the content and put their two cents in it. Fortunately, there are methods that can help you influence the visitors’ activity and increase the number of actions taken by the users on your website.

There are a few ways to get user-generated content:

  • Contests – organizing contests where people can show off their skills or works is one of the simplest ways of improving user-generated content on a given website or a social media platform. Moreover, it doesn’t have to be very complicated. Ask your brand followers for an original and humorous answer to a question. Offer attractive rewards and wait for UGC.
  • Reviews – do you know a person who decides to buy a more expensive product without checking its reviews on the Internet? Well, we neither. But it’s not surprising. After all, customers’ reviews are much more reliable than ideal descriptions available on the manufacturers’ websites. The reviews themselves are also a part of user-generated content. Encourage buyers to write a short review. Send them an email, or attach a note to the package.
user generated content example
Source: https://www.uniqlo.com/
  • Surveys – once customers finalize the transaction, send them a short survey asking about their experiences. Use attractive graphics that will encourage people to interact.
  • Gadgets – attach nice little accessories like cards to packages to encourage people to take photos and share them with others. If you run a local business, think about Instagrammable decorations. Create a leisure area with hammocks, or swings where clients of your restaurant or a hairdressing salon could chill out and take photos. Once they share them online, the chances are that people who see them will also want to visit your place.

Need more examples?

Manufacturers frequently use UGC to show the advantages of their products and devices. This method is used by Huawei which regularly organizes contests for the best photos taken with their devices. Then, the brand publishes the most impressive ones on its fan pages followed by thousands of people.

As you can see, inspirations are all around you. Take a look at your market rivals and discover their strategies.

Is User-Generated Content Always Beneficial? Risks of UGC

Although user-generated content can benefit your SEO and company in a number of ways, it’s crucial to keep in mind that there are certain risks. UGC isn’t always a bed of roses.

There is a chance that your market rivals will leave fake negative comments on your website. Your customers may blame you for aspects that aren’t your fault (e.g., a package damaged during shipment). People may publish misleading information related to your policy or offer. There are also trolls who can simply write unflattering reviews for fun. There are many risks.

In such situations, user-generated content can have a negative impact on your business. It can decrease your credibility, trustworthiness, and brand image.

Is there any solution to the problem?

There are a few activities you should focus on to ensure that user-generated content brings benefits to your company and SEO.

How to Make Sure UGC Benefits Your SEO?

What should you do to use UGC to your advantage?

First and foremost:

Moderate Comments

If users are allowed to post comments on your site (for example, under blog articles), it’s worth thinking about moderation. It’s a precaution against spamming bots with links, or just poor-quality posts (offensive, intrusive advertising, etc.).

It’s worth thinking about mechanisms to block bots from adding comments (Captcha).

Keep an eye on brand mentions in social media (you could use Brand24 tool). Monitor hashtags and read reviews published on various platforms, including your website and Google My Business listing. Make sure that there are no offensive or rude comments that could be inappropriate for certain recipients.

Moderate content that isn’t compliant with the netiquette. Try to mitigate potential conflicts.

Answer Reviews

Don’t leave comments or reviews unattended. This applies to both negative and positive pieces of content.

Respond to customers and show them that you care about their opinion. This will help you build relationships with buyers. Moreover, your activity may discourage some users from writing very negative and impolite reviews. People often vent their emotions online because they think that they won’t face any consequences. Show them that you monitor the situation and are ready to prove your point.

Manage Duplicate and Low-Quality Content

If you notice that someone leaves spam comments or reviews, get rid of them. Such pieces of content may increase your internal duplication which is an important ranking factor.

Low-quality content doesn’t benefit anyone. Keep your online space neat and organized. Give all users and customers the right to voice their opinions but make sure that these opinions actually have a purpose.

Choose Valuable UGC Content and Publish it on Your Website

Go through available reviews and comments. Choose the ones that may bring value to potential buyers and publish them on your website. This will support social proof and will convince people to choose your offer.

The Takeaway

You already know what user-generated content looks like and why it’s so important for online recipients. It can benefit all companies and enterprises that use it to their advantage. User-generated content is neither time nor money-consuming. All you need is a website, social media profiles, creativity, and open-mindedness.

Interacting with your customers will help you engage them and build relationships with them. It’s an example of a virtuous circle. The more comments or photos published under your posts, the greater the chance that other users will join the discussion.

Answer users’ questions and acknowledge both positive and negative comments to build your brand authority and recognition. User-generated content is an effective tool for reaching your goals and winning the hearts of new potential customers.

Do you need help with getting the best out of user-generated content? Contact us!

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Author
Content Specialist - Ania

Content Specialist

A graduate of editiorial studies and currently a student of media management. She joined Delante team in July 2019. She is interested in issues related to social media and content marketing. She took her first steps as a copywriter in the culinary industry, hence her love of good cuisine. She loves to dance and in her free time she browses through travel blogs and pictures with sweet pugs.
Comments (1)
  1. Hey!
    First of all, let me explain that I am not a robot – I am a Contenteam copywriter. That means, we share the similar niche😊
    I just wanted to underline, that many potential customers google the reviews. And they pay attention to how the brand responds to negative or absurd reviews. This is why you shouldn’t be afraid of naughty trolls. They give you the opportunity to demonstrate your sense of humor, willingness to help or the overall attitude to unexpected situations.
    Just a little observation!
    All the best

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