How to integrate user-generated content (UGC) into an SEO strategy

UGC stands for user-generated content and as audiences become more savvier and ask more questions before purchasing, it is becoming more and more popular to include in SEO strategies. Examples of UGC include product reviews, customer imagery and videos, and comments.

The reason why it is so popular is down to one thing, authenticity. Authentic content from actual customers (users) giving their honest opinions has far greater weight than traditional marketing content created by biased brands. With UGC now a firm trust signal search engines are taking this content into account when indexing brands’ web content.

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How UGC can improve your organic visibility

As mentioned, the authenticity that UGC provides is a key factor as to why it can be really important for your SEO strategy. It’s also extremely important due to it helping brands meet and support Google’s E-E-A-T (Expertise, Experience, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness) criteria for content and evaluation of a website’s overall quality and credibility.

E-E-A-T is all about ensuring Google is providing its users with the highest quality search results. Therefore those brands meeting these guidelines are rewarded higher up the SERP (Search Engine Results Page). This is exactly how UGC will help you meet these guidelines.

Benefits of integrating UGC in your SEO strategy

So as well as meeting Google’s E-E-A-T signals, helping improve your search engine rankings, and building authenticity and trust, there are many other benefits. They include:

  • Content variety – UGC provides your brand with additional content in a variety of media types. With the content being created by your users it can also enhance your content, by resonating with other users, as it is first-hand content produced by users in the position of other customers.
  • Builds a community – Having content provided by users in your audience you build brand ambassadors and increase your awareness to other audiences you might not have necessarily engaged with normally.
  • More user engagement – UGC provides an opportunity for brands to engage with their customers and increase the time users spend on websites. By brands increasing their user engagement and communication with their users, they can encourage them to return and keep their brand at the forefront of their minds.
  • Social signals – UGC is exceptionally big on social media and as the way in which users search develops with the likes of TikTok SEO and Pinterest, you can ensure your brand is visible across multiple channels.
  • Free up time and resources – by using content created by others, brands can save themselves time and resources, which can be invested elsewhere. For example, a PPC strategy to support your organic activities.
  • Insights for improvement – by sharing content from your audience you can gain insights into challenges and opportunities, providing you with continuous feedback to improve your business.

Still unsure? Here are 30 UGC stats that showcase why it can be so impactful for your marketing.

Risks of using UGC

Now we can’t mention the benefits, without discussing the potential negatives. The biggest risk of UGC is the quality and negativeing it could bring. For example, if your brand opens itself up to reviews, it needs to be prepared that everything might not be positive.

This is why we mentioned a thorough SEO strategy should be in place first. In your strategy, you should detail your expectations of the quality of UGC and the process for engaging with your users, who have both good and bad things to share. By doing this you can prepare your brand and mitigate the risks.

How to integrate UGC in your SEO strategy

The key thing for brands using UGC is to ensure they have a detailed strategy in place first. This will help you and the users you want to create content to fully understand what content will actually benefit your business. So once you’ve crafted a strategy you’re happy with then here are some ways to increase content created by your users:

  • Invite UGC creators to contribute – As we said UGC has become so popular that there are now professional UGC creators. These are people who have specialist skills for creating content, and by using them you can ensure you’re producing high-quality content that you can benefit from.
  • Encourage and incentivise user content – A simple way brands can do this is through offering discounts, freebies and access to events. You can even ask your audience to vote on their favourite UGC to increase more user engagement and content.
  • Empower your audience – When sharing UGC brands should ensure they are crediting the creators. This will show to your community that you also care about supporting your audience as well as your own benefits.
  • Ask for feedback – Reviews are an extremely powerful form of UGC, however, to get them you need to ask for them. Ensure your brand is regularly asking for feedback through email marketing or things like Instagram stories.

Brands that use UGC well

Now before you set off to start incorporating UGC, we thought we’d share a few examples of brands who are already doing a great job. That way, you can learn from the experts.

Apple

The brand has been known for using its innovation and designs to produce the latest technology. However with a higher cost price, before users commit to a purchase they want to know exactly what they’re getting for their money. This is exactly what Apple did with their #ShotoniPhone campaign which involves using UGC images on billboards, TV ads and more to show exactly what their products can capture.

Gymshark

GymShark is another retail brand that seems to be nailing its UGC strategy, don’t believe us? Just take a look at the Gymshark Instagram. The brand has over 6.9 million followers and is regularly sharing content from users who love their products.

Coca-Cola

An older example but a great one. Back in the mid-2000s Coca-Cola launched its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. The campaign involved Coca-Cola cans and bottles with the most popular names on them. Encouraging users to find a product with their name and sharing social content with #ShareaCoke. The campaign even became so popular that users started to find products for their friends and family, helping expose the brand to further audiences.

Want to learn more?

To learn more about UGC and how it can benefit your brand, contact our team today.

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