User generate content, or UGC in its abbreviated form, has significant benefits for the brand and the way it is perceived by the customer, but within the right settings it can also boost SEO. Here are the main reasons why.
The main distinction is centred around differentiating between the marketing speak and the customer speak, with the latter providing more uniquely structured content and genuine signals for Google to pick up when crawling the web and ranking pages. Marketers tend to end up on the beaten track more often than they realise and any customer generated material will usually be more natural in form and content.
This is all great, but in order to benefit from reviews and other sources of UGC, a brand needs to house this content on its own Urls rather than on a third party site. This is what makes the difference! And those natural reviews need to be readable, normally in HTML text format which makes it accessible to the Google bot.
In any case, UGC can be a great source of free keyword research and ideas, which in the light of the ‘not provided’ limitation is even more valuable for businesses gunning for lucrative phrases in SERPs. If located within user reviews in catalogues for example, this material can significantly increase non-branded long-tail traffic.
Keyword rich quotes about products and services also add to the Social Media value of content and interaction and brand building. Google and slowly other Search Engines are increasingly using these signals in their ranking algorithms as part of the effort to ‘understand’ natural patterns rather than mechanically assess value and ranking power.
This source of content and online leverage is a great opportunity, but other sites/competitors most probably also appreciate this trend, so the sooner the issue is addressed, the sooner it will bring value to your internet presence.