By Michael DeHaven, Group Product Manager, SEO, for Bazaarvoice
Bazaarvoice manages User-Generated Content (UGC) for over 1300 brands.
Compared user reviews from the audience for a chocolate caramel square to the marketing text on the package. Some negative and positive reviews.
80%-90% of UGC on major brand web sites is actually written by users.
Language styles – the words that you typically think of (or marketers think of) are totally different than what actual users write when writing reviews.
7 Principles of User Generated SEO
- Don’t forget the fundamentals of SEO – UGC will not fix a site with poor SEO
- Search engines get bored – they want new stuff. By leveraging UGC, you can keep content fresh.
- The Primanti Principle – a primanti sandwich has French fries in it. You want to have the right amount of fries. The same applies to search.
- Beware of dilution – Be Strategic
- Unlock the long-tail vault
- Top-level or us domains – because of algorithm changes, all the content should be on th
top-level domain. Google values freshness more than ever
- Ask for Content at Relevant times – ticketmaster asks for pictures the day of the concert; Rosetta stone asks for reviews after completing a lesson.
- Convert Reviewers into Advocates – 5% of the users writing reviews are willing to answer questions about the product. Ask at the right times.
three Strategic Targets
- Target keywords (UGC on the product page
- Target keywords plus the word “reviews” (archive/paging) – eliminate or reduce product description, to not target the same keywords, sort by helpfulness, keep pricing & buy, insert 40 reviews, and paginate (don’t worry about separating UGC pages by keywords or categories, Google doesn’t like that anymore.)
- Extreme long tail (archive/paging) –
Can reviews improve SEO for a well-optimized site? Yes, because traditional SEO lacks freshness. Normally, SEO traffic will increase 15%-20% with UGC.
For testing, on a non-optimized site, they put the reviews in, took them out and put them back in. When reviews were active, Googlebot showed 200% more activity and SEO traffic increased dramatically. Typically, you should have 6-8 reviews per page for an 80/20 balance. (20% marketing written, 80% UGC)
By adding separate review pages, Rosetta Stone grew their keyword footprint by 36%. Reviews (UGC) add keywords that marketing will never think of, but that users are using for search.
Unleashing User Content Beyond SEO
Take phrases from your reviews that can become amazing marketing content.
By 2014, 53% of all purchases will be influenced by online research in some way.
Multi-environment interactions. Connect the users interacting with your brand site to your social properties and vice versa. Let them connect in the environment that they prefer and integrate them with all other UGC. Use reviews and UGC to help you build a better product. This will also improve your reviews. You can correct problems with products much more quickly when the users are telling you exactly what is wrong.