Building out the content of your website should be at the heart of your SEO strategy. We all know that producing quality articles can be both time consuming and expensive. Why not let your online community help you build your content out?
User generated content isn’t anything new, and you’re seeing it pop up on more sites all the time. More ecommerce sites are incorporating user reviews. Service and information based companies are using their audience as guest bloggers to help with new articles. You’ll also find more websites encouraging their community to share experiences by uploading pictures and videos or discussing topics within a forum.
Getting your loyal followers involved with the content on your site can help for a number of different reasons. From a users perspective there is a greater chance that they’ll return as they have a reason to come back and find out what’s new. Users may feel that they’re more connected to the site being able to contribute and learn from what others are adding. From an SEO perspective this new content can be indexed by search engines leading to more visitors finding the site through long-tailed keywords. You will also find it can help generate links if other websites and blogs in the industry find this new content adds value.
One thing to keep in mind is that there are always going to be people who will try to take advantage of this by adding irrelevant Spam links. To help minimize this, make sure that your website is setup so that a no-follow tag is applied to user generated links. You can also setup a system where frequent trusted contributors are rewarded by not having this no-followed tag applied.
Analyze your site and figure out where a user generated content strategy would make sense. Whether its reviews, blog posts, videos, a wiki, a forum or something completely different, each website will incorporate user generated content a little differently. When done well it, can be a powerful tool to help both the user experience and your SEO efforts.