‘Just like people trust people, customers trust customers!’
The saying stands true, especially when we talk about user-generated content, commonly addressed as UGC, referred to as the future of content marketing.
Over the past few years, user-generated content has become an interestingly popular approach for businesses and marketers to upscale their Search engine optimization (SEO) efforts.
Don’t believe me? Have a look at these numbers –
- More than 80% of customers go through User-Generated Content before they make a purchase!
- Approximately 34% of customers believe that UGC is credible.
- 88% of potential customers trust online reviews posted by another customer!
However, all that glitters is not gold!
While user-generated content can be a powerful tool for improvising SEO, it is imperative to consider the cost and benefits before deciding whether to implement it or not.
Hence, in this post, I have presented a thorough cost-benefit analysis to help you make a clear decision.
What is User-Generated Content
Before anything else, it is essential to understand the basics of user-generated content.
Consider this – Suppose you are looking for a restaurant to take your friends and family to dinner. You would reach out to your phone, Google ‘the best places to eat,’ and look up reviews. Once you select the restaurant, you are blown away by its ambiance, presentation, and taste of food. You click a picture and post it on social media and give a shout-out to the restaurant.
For you, it may be a random Instagram post, but it is super valuable for the restaurant.
Now you see, we as humans always look for the experiences of an existing customer before trying a new place, product, or anything new.
Long story short, user-generated content is any content that the existing users of a brand create. The benefits of user-generated content are manifold. Since the customers themselves create the content, it is raw, authentic, and doubles up as excellent social proof.
Now that you have a glimpse of user-generated content let’s delve deeper into its various categories.
Types Of User Generated Content
Social media posts
Social media is booming and constantly growing. With a user base of over 4.6 billion people, it is one of the most influential platforms where people express their views and opinions clearly. Social media is a vast ocean of user-generated content where users tag their favorite products and brands while flaunting their products or services.
Especially visually dominated platforms like Instagram and Pinterest allow users to create and publish content such as posts, updates, and stories.
Numerous video-sharing platforms like YouTube, Tik Tok, and Vimeo allow users to create and share videos. These videos can be in the form of shorts, vlogs, or even product tutorials to showcase the product’s use case.
Reviews and testimonials
Reviews and testimonials are the most common type of user-generated content where people share their opinions, experiences, and preferences about a product or service.
Potential customers largely use platforms like Google, Yelp, Bing, etc., to read customer reviews and ratings.
You can create a forum or a Q&A section on the website where your customers can ask and answer questions about your brand and your product or service. It also acts as a platform where the customers can share their tips and advice on the product.
A blog or a news section is a common sight on a brand’s website where blogs and articles are published to upscale the knowledge of the website visitor about the particular industry or the product or service.
Moreover, a brand’s existing customers can be asked to publish their content in the comments section of the post or in the form of a guest post on the website. Brands are increasingly adopting this method to increase user-generated content across their marketing touchpoints, like the website.
Benefits Of User Generated Content for SEO
Now that you are updated with the basics of user-generated content, it is time to understand how incorporating UGC can benefit your SEO efforts.
Improved Search Engine Ranking with new and active content
Search engines are more likely to rank websites higher that have relatively more actively engaged and regularly updated content. Including user-generated content can improve your search engine ranking since it signals that your website is highly engaging.
Redirect traffic from social media to your website
Your website is the first connection point between you and your prospective customer. It is a crucial marketing touchpoint since your customers get to know you better through your website.
However, as mentioned above, UGC is more likely to be shared on social media, and through social media, your customers may be compelled to check out your website to explore more. This will not only elevate your brand awareness but also help improve SEO.
Increase your website’s dwell time.
The website’s dwell time is determined directly by the quality of its content. Including user-generated content is a smart move to keep your website visitors hooked and lure your prospects’ attention.
Since UGC is the content posted by your brand’s existing customers, it will motivate your visitors to explore more to learn about their experiences.
A cost-effective form of marketing
With user-generated content, you can bid adieu to all those means of marketing that demand large chunks of money. All you have to do is aggregate the valuable content created by your customers and showcase them on your website.
Costs of UGC for SEO
Before you decide to leverage UGC, you must understand a few associated costs to better inform your plan of action.
Beware of Legal Repercussions
You need to be sure that the User-Generated Content you are using is not infringing on any copyrights or intellectual property rights.
If you fail to do so, you may need to bear some serious legal consequences, which will not only burn a hole in your wallet but may permanently tarnish your brand’s reputation in the market.
Content requires serious supervision
Since your customers are not professional content creators, you must moderate the content before publishing it on any platform. While UGC can be a great way to generate authentic content that converts, you need to ensure content quality standards.
Caution – A poorly written piece of content can damage your SEO!
Master the art of tackling fake and unknown sources
Another major problem with user-generated content is dealing with anonymous and fake profiles. Your genuine potential customers may find it extremely challenging to trust a review coming from someone whose identity can’t be verified in the first place. Subsequently, this can deter them from interacting and engaging with you.
Over to you
Besides giving you a deep insight into everything you need to know about UGC, including its pros and cons, UGC’s cost-benefit analysis will help you decide whether you want to incorporate it into your marketing strategy.