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Content marketing is the hottest thing in SEO. A subset of content marketing, user-generated content (UGC), is also pretty hot. It is not new by any stretch. But suddenly, it seems to be getting a lot of attention. Should you bother with it on your website?

A 2014 analysis cited by Agency Analytics suggested that, on average, people trust UGC more than other types of content across various media. Approximately 59% of UGC is charged compared to just 39% of more traditional, legacy content. Though the analysis is about eight years old, it is hard to believe that UGC has lost respect among web users.

Should You Bother with User-Generated Content on Your Site? 1
SEO Search Engine Optimization Data Digital Programming Business Technology Concept

More About UGC

At this point, you may be wondering just what UGC is. For that, we turn to Salt Lake City-based Webtek Digital Marketing. Webtek experts describe UGC as any content created by website users, whether using a different platform or the same platform on which the content appears. Customer reviews are a perfect example.

Anyone running a WordPress site can add customer reviews through one of the dozens of plugins created for that purpose. Install such a plugin, and customers can leave reviews on your site without being registered members or signing in. Every thought is considered a piece of UGC.

UGC could be anything from customer reviews to comments left on blogs or guest posts. Even social media content is considered UGC. Social content would not be on your website, so that is a different topic for another post.

Why Put UGC on Your Site

Webtek suggests there are several good reasons for putting UGC on your website. First and foremost is encouraging engagement. As anyone in the SEO industry can tell you, attention is gold. Customers who regularly interact with the businesses they buy from tend to be more loyal. Furthermore, loyal customers tend to spend more.

SEO experts talk all the time about engaging with customers on social. Why? Because they know that social media engagement works. If it works for sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, it stands to reason that engagement would work equally well on a company’s website.

Here are a few more reasons to consider UGC:

  • Trustworthiness – Website visitors put a lot of stock in reliability even if they do not think about it consciously. UGC increases reliability because it shows customers that their peers are engaging with a particular company.
  • Referrals – UGC acts as a referral of sorts, even if the content does not contain specific language. Customers see UGC and suddenly have a reason to dive deeper. They have a reason to consider if the company is worth doing business with.
  • SEO – Search engines love to see updated websites. They also appreciate updates that include UGC. From the search engine’s perspective, UGC amounts to more authority.
  • Time Spent – Encouraging customers to leave their content encourages them to spend more time on a website. More time can lead to greater engagement. It can also lead to higher conversion rates.

Webtek points out that UGC can be passive or active. In a passive scenario, obtaining UGC doesn’t require any effort on the website owner’s part. Comments left on blog posts are a good example. Active UGC is the opposite. Active UGC tends to result in higher click-through rates and better conversion.

UGC is not right for every website. Furthermore, it needs to be used responsibly. Used correctly and at the right time, it can yield fairly good results.