User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content created by users of online platforms. It can be in the form of photos, videos, text posts, product reviews, and more. It's highly trusted by consumers and impacts purchasing decisions.
Yet what many marketers don't know is that it's also good for SEO. Search engines such as Google and Bing rank websites based on whether the sites' content is relevant and useful. Over 25% of the search results for the 20 largest brands in the world are linked to UGC.
As a result, integrating UGC into your SEO strategy is an effective way to boost your brand's search rankings and to build social proof for your products.
How does UGC influence SEO?
More than 1/3 of shoppers begin online shopping through a search engine, not by directly visiting a company website. Consumers are actively looking for content that is unique, relevant, and trustworthy — 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. Since search engines prioritize fresh and relevant content in search results, the steady flow of UGC that customers are posting about your brand online improves your search rankings.
Furthermore, once a visitor has made it to your site, displays of user-generated content images and videos can also increase the likelihood of a sale. A study by Dimensional Research shows that 90% of consumers claim that their buying decisions are influenced by their peers' online reviews. On average, browsers that interact with UGC on a company's website are 2x more likely to purchase.
Social media and SEO
Nowadays, SEO cannot be effective without a well-executed content curation strategy on social media. How do social media marketing and SEO work together? Sharing content on social media channels drives engagement and brings visitors to your site.
This, in turn, boosts site visibility, which indirectly influences website performance on search engines such as Google. In turn, user-generated content can be used on social media to attract more organic traffic to your site.
Re-posting or regramming real customer photos and videos on your brand's social channels not only expands your brand reach but also encourages browsers to participate in content creation for your brand.
UGC best practices by network
In order to incorporate user-generated content into your SEO strategy, you'll need to decide which platform(s) and which types of UGC to focus your efforts on. Each social network attracts a specific demographic. Take a closer look at the platform(s) your target audience is most likely to engage on and focus on developing content best suited to those platforms.
Facebook: The largest of the social network, Facebook has 1.7 billion monthly active users and remains the most used social media site among all ages. Needless to say, it's a great space for sharing curated content. Facebook is especially pertinent for brands that have a strong video strategy, the site tallies eight billion video views a day.
Twitter: Twitter is an excellent platform for the global brand. With more than 40 languages supported, it's not surprising that 79% of Twitter accounts are based outside of the U.S. This is an ideal platform for an emerging business, 75% of Twitter users feel more confident purchasing from an SMB after reading its Twitter feed.
Instagram: Arguably one of the best networks for user-generated content, Instagram's visually dominated platform is the ideal location to discover and share customers' photos and videos about your brand. Most social media networks have about a 1% engagement rate. Top brands on Instagram generate a per-follow engagement rate of 4.21%.
Snapchat: Snapchat is still a relatively new channel for marketers, but it has become a popular source for UGC. Many marketers use Snapchat to host influencer takeovers (where an influencer or celebrity runs the brand Snapchat for the day) to give fans an authentic view of the brand. Brands also use Snapchat to run social contests and campaigns or to make an ask to their followers.
UGC builds social proof for your brand and helps to cultivate a loyal customer base that will collaborate on content creation and help to share your brand message. Content created by real customers can boost search engine rankings and drive visitors to your site, all the while increasing the likelihood of conversions. Implementing a solid UGC strategy is not only important for developing an authentic brand voice but also for improving your SEO ranking and increasing top-line revenue.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.