User-generated content, as the name suggests, is content that has been generated by the users. This includes written reviews, videos and testimonials, photos, and other kinds of content that lets people know what other people think about the website’s products or services.
Now, as you may already know, user-generated content is a crucial factor in the buyer’s journey. When prospective customers see other people interacting with your business, they’re more likely to interact with your business as well. That’s why many brands encourage their customers to leave feedback with each purchase.
However, must you work so hard to have user-generated content on your website? Does it affect SEO in Los Angeles? Does having more of it lead to better rankings on search engines?
What is the Evidence About User-Generated Content?
Interestingly, nothing has been directly said about user-generated content’s effect on SEO. However, we can deduce several things from what’s been said about user-generated content in general.
In a 2020 video, John Mueller, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, said that user-generated content could take lots of forms~ they can appear as comments at the bottom of your blogs or pages, discussions between users, or new complete pages written by users.
He added to that by saying that if a website has a large amount of user-generated content, the site admin has to ensure it meets the standards for publishing content on its website.
Moderating your user-generated content certainly seems to be very important. You shouldn’t publish anything on your website that you don’t want to be indexed by Google. As technologically advanced as Google’s bots are, they still can’t really differentiate constructive criticism written by real people from malicious comments spammed by bots.
This was further emphasized in Google Search Central’s Advanced SEO section on user-generated content when they stated that a good site could be inundated by spam if malicious users have a way of creating new pages or adding content to the site.
So, if you’ve got stringent measures on your website, then you need not worry about being overrun by spam. This is important because if your website has too much user-generated spam on it, Google’s assessment of your website may get affected, and they may take manual action on the whole site, like removing or demoting pages overrun with user-generated spam to protect the quality of Google’s search results.
At the end of the day, however, user-generated content is content, and we already know how important that is for Los Angeles SEO. It improves your website’s visibility because it lets Google know you’ve got valuable and pertinent information for your audience. The more high-quality and optimized content you have on your website, the more likely you’ll be to rise in the rankings!
To conclude, user-generated content seems to be just as valuable as self-written content as long as it’s moderated and spam-free.
Does User-Generated Content Affect Your SEO?
Because content is a confirmed ranking for SEO and user-generated content is a type of content, our verdict is that user-generated content can positively and negatively impact your rankings.
It can be positive because, as we already mentioned earlier, user-generated content is a key part of the buyer’s journey. Reading reviews and testimonials is very valuable to prospective customers—that’s why people are more likely to buy an Amazon product with many reviews than without. If you’ve got tons of customer feedback on your website, Google will be more likely to recommend it to searchers.
However, user-generated content can also have negative effects if you don’t monitor them properly. If your website is rife with malicious off-site links or copy-pasted messages, for example, it takes away from user experience and security and will have you demoted by Google.
All in all, you should only publish user-generated content that is informative and useful for your audience. Always look through your content to remove anything out of the ordinary, and have measures like captchas and verified accounts to prevent bots.