In case you never heard of user generated content a.k.a. UGC then you should know it is simply content which is created by visitors of your website such as product reviews, blog comments, social profiles, etc. This user content may seem small and unimportant in the spectrum of SEO, but on the contrary it could be a beneficial element of search engine optimization for your website. Essentially, visitors to your website can be treated as content providers or contributors, thus like having your own team of copywriters.
Taking it further if properly optimized this content can be used to increase rankings for your pages. You can take lead of optimizing user created content on your website. I don’t recommend taking control of users private accounts, modifying blog comments, or reviews without explicit consent or notification to the members of your website. However, with permission and consent then it’s all game. I would recommend adding a simple checkbox or radio button to your registration pages for users to opt-into your website’s content optimization program, allowing you (the webmaster) the right to change or modify content as seen fit for the purpose of better search rankings. This type of control over your website will be very beneficial.
You don’t want to change the context of your visitors content. Don;t change what they say, but instead you want to change the way they say it — change the words they choose. A website which lacks user generated content could potentially be missing out on tremendous opportunities for more traffic. A website which integrates user generated content is more likely to do well within the search engines, because it creates fresh and unique content which feeds search engines. It’s even beneficial to allow user generated media or user generated videos.
Tom C. over at SEOMoz discusses ways to use user generated content for SEO, he does a great job at explaining ways you can use UGC to effectively drive up in the ranks. Visitors to your website are like SEO consultants or content producers, if you have a way for them to register for an account which includes a profile page then you know have a new page created for your website. Furthermore, requiring users to fill out complete profiles including a description will create fresh content for each profile page created. It’s a brilliant way to put your website on SEO auto-pilot.
If you have an informational website or website with no user generated content then you should think of ways you can integrate user created content. It can be as simple as adding product reviews to your ecommerce website or allowing comments on your article pages. However, I suggest using full profile pages if it fits your website as this is the greatest benefit.
Share your comments, how do you use user generated content for SEO on your website or what fresh ideas do you have?