Of course, companies say their products are great – but how do you trust them? Then people turn to user-generated content.
Many marketers already know that user-generated content, especially on social media platforms, is highly trusted by customers and can have a huge impact on their purchasing decisions.
In fact, accordingly Nielsen, 84% of consumers say they trust their peers’ recommendations, especially from other sources AllSocial, users spend an average of five and a half hours a day dealing with user-generated content.
What many marketers don’t know, however, is that UGC is good, too Search engine optimization (SEO). When trademarks publish authentic, relevant, and useful content recommended by existing customers and engaged by other users, search engines are more likely to rank your site on search engine results pages (SERPs), resulting in more traffic and conversions.
So it makes sense to integrate UGC into your SEO strategy, marketing activities and marketing campaigns. Also, make sure you start with the customer’s first entry port when searching for products and services online.
I’ve put this piece together to cover:
- What is user-generated content?
- Examples of user-generated content
- Pros and cons of user-generated content
- Five ways user-generated content can improve your SEO
- Concluding remarks
Let’s take a closer look at the relationship between UGC and SEO and how it can increase your website’s visibility, traffic, and conversions.
What is user-generated content?
User-generated content is content in any form, such as images, videos, text, audio, and reviews, that users have posted through channels social media, blogs, forums and websites as part of a social media strategy.
Instead of promoting your brand through regular channels, you should also tell your customers about your products and services and publish content on your behalf.
Now for the interesting part – how is UGC so effective? It evokes a psychological response, social proof, which is the concept that people monitor the activities of the masses. If most people behave in a certain way, it has to be right.
If you constantly see one of the two restaurants empty and the other busy, would you most likely choose the right one? An empty restaurant can actually offer good food and great service, but it is assumed that another restaurant is better because other people use it more.
It is a social proof in action, and the same concept can be applied when customers use the company’s products and services. We are also very influenced by the advice of our peers. If we don’t know much about something, we probably believe and trust someone who knows it.
A brand can tell its customers how great its products and services are, but the mood would be much more meaningful if it came from someone outside the business. Therefore, social proofing helps increase conversion rates. UGC builds trust because the overview comes from real people, not companies.
Examples of user-generated content
UGC can take many forms through many channels and can be used for both B2C and B2B industries. Below are some examples:
Vision Express Instagram
The Swedish Tourist Board’s YouTube campaign
Mine Pro TikTok
@goproWalk in the water together ## GoProFamily member @ jeremietronet + ## GoProMAX ## gopro ## fyp ## Carribean Sea ## kite surfing♬ Original sound – GoPro
Pros and cons of user-generated content
- Gives you the opportunity to reach a wider, untapped audience who is not currently familiar with your brand.
- Increases brand engagement and awareness.
- Helps you find new and unique, functional content that you may not be aware of.
- Gives your brand a personalization and human touch, not just behind the business screen.
- Makes your content trustworthy and authentic when real people use and enjoy your products and services.
- This can be extremely cost effective as you would use customer-generated content. They have done all the hard work for you.
While these are not shortcomings per se, you need to know or consider some of the following when using the UGC strategy:
- Sometimes it can be difficult to predict and control because not everyone likes your products and services. Although you can choose which UGC to use, it can give negative feedback, so make sure you have a response or contingency plan.
- Therefore, you need to devote enough time to monitoring the content to make sure it does no more harm than good. But otherwise you would probably have spent that time producing your content.
- You need to be aware of some legal issues. The content belongs to the user who creates it, so make sure you have explicit permission to share it and give it back to them. Part of the UGC is also created through social competitions and many social networks, especially Facebook and Instagram, have strict rules, so be sure to check them out too.
Five ways user-generated content can improve your SEO
I think it’s safe to say that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and one pro that I purposefully left out of the list above is SEO, because it deserves its share and its impact is invaluable. I know I’m a little biased, but here we are.
Accordingly BrightEdge.68% of the web experience starts with a search engine, not a direct visit to a company’s website.
Seeing that Google gets smarter every day and can now better understand mood, natural language, intangible context, and user intentions, it’s no wonder that user-generated content should be part of your SEO strategy.
1. Provides new and relevant content to Google
Google is now so sophisticated that you can understand who your content is for. That’s why it’s now more important for brands to create content that sounds relevant to customers, rather than search engines to rise to the ranks.
Creating authentic, trusted, user-generated content that benefits the user is a sure ranking factor, because Google understands that you want to provide users with useful and relevant content that will solve their search query and help them make a purchase.
This concept is also part of Google’s “Medic” algorithm update, which aims to show results that better match the purpose of your search. It also sheds light on Google’s acronym EAT, which better captures and ranks professional, authoritative, and trusted content that targets your money for your life (YMYL) businesses.
With respect to health, fitness, wellness and safety sites, Google does not want to leave users to find content that could harm their happiness, health or wealth. Google wants to make money correct content, not just relevant.
If your user-generated content meets Google’s EAT guidelines, you’ll have a better chance of ranking it.
2. Implements basic SEO
In terms of SEO optimization, some of the key attributes to consider are keywords, titles, backlinks, internal links, images, word count, tone of voice and language.
User-generated content, especially customer reviews and testimonials, can of course be optimized for websites, and the work is done by the customer, not the way you win.
This is because reviews and testimonials often talk about brand products and services, weaving through these concepts, phrases, links, and other attributes, of course, to strengthen your SEO without having to do it yourself.
3. Helps with long tail keyword ranking
Long tail keywords are longer terms with less search traffic and competition, but because of their specificity, they usually have a higher conversion value.
Your SEO strategy may include keywords with higher search volume, but they are usually more competitive and difficult to rank by. Targeting long tail keywords they’re a little easier to rank and are more relevant to blogs and guides, allowing you to drive more traffic to your site with a specific search to solve your problems and questions.
When you collect user-generated content, it shows what your customers love about your products and services, giving you an idea of how your audience is talking about their hotspots and what they’re looking for.
This can, of course, reveal long-tailed keywords, or at least inspiration for what to research. Knowing what long tail keywords sound to customers can make a huge difference, as it allows brands to understand feedback and opinions as SEO keywords.
4. Increases social signals
User-generated content can improve social media optimization, especially on social channels such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and TikTok. Not only does this arm social media managers with fresh and unique content, it also enhances it listening to social media, branding, social inclusion, and monitoring and encouraging you social community to share, like and comment on content.
These are all types social signals, which usually help show a brand’s popularity and proximity to a particular piece of content. Search engines see if a brand is validated and trusted on social media, and are more likely to show it in the SERPs as well. In addition social media posts that contain links will drive more traffic to your website.
5. Saves time and resources
Although this is a more indirect effect on SEO, it is still worth considering. Using UGC or running a UGC campaign means that your customers become content creators on your behalf, saving you time and resources that can be better spent on other SEO strategies.
Integrating user-generated content into your SEO strategy is worth its weight in gold, and surprisingly, only 16% of companies do so. (Merkley and partners).
UGC has so many benefits, so it’s definitely worth considering. It can increase search visibility and social engagement, provide users with unique content, create a unified and interactive customer experience and community, and drive traffic to your website.
Embedding UGC in your marketing strategy and campaigns can tick all of these boxes, but marketers can’t get away with it, it’s that it increases conversions and is essentially the company’s main line. Therefore, trademarks cannot afford to ignore user-generated content.
If you’re not sure where to start, Hallam’s team is happy to offer advice contact us today.