User-generated content: not an SEO fairytale

Posted on June 18, 2011

 

Have you ever noticed that characters in fairytales get some pretty amazing gifts? Personally, I’ve never had someone come up to me and offer golden cups, eternal, youthful beauty or a casketful of diamonds. At least, not in a completely sober environment. We all know in real life, such gifts just don’t happen.

Except they do. Without too much work, and just a little planning, you can be on the receiving end of some quite valuable gifted content.

We’re not talking about scraping here, or anything from the dark end of the search engine optimisation spectrum. We’re not even talking ‘gift’ in the sense that dodgy SEO sales jobs mean it. We’re talking genuine, quality, search engine-attracting content that your users generate.

It’s not that difficult to make this fairytale come true:

1. Reviews. User reviews are an incredibly good source of content. Not only do they provide you with a free content resource, they tend to naturally contain keywords and they attract traffic.

2. Comments. It’s easy to forget that comments count as content. Encouraging them on your site can keep your pages fresh. They perform the handy side purpose of engaging your users more fully with your site, as well.

3. Guest posts. If you want more guided content options, supplementing your content with guest posts is a good option. This arrangement generally requires some reciprocity – returning a guest post for another blogger – but this has the advantage of spreading your brand.

…and they ranked happily ever after.

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