To a webmaster this is an almost passive way of building links. We can divide user generated content in two parts: onsite and offsite. Where on site a forum would bring fresh content to your site, we will be focusing on offsite link building with user generated content.
What is User Generated Content and how does it affect SEO?
One of the highest ranking methods are social signals. This means that every time someone tweets or shares a link about your company’s website, this gives you SEO benefits. Image you have a blog. It has traffic, say 100 visitors per day, and you are looking for more traffic and social buzz. You can combine these two!
The number three social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus offer a way of commenting on blogs with the social media accounts.
So, when someone is logged in on Facebook and is visiting your blog with the Facebook Comment Plugin, the comment will appear on their Facebook timeline together with a link. This also brings your website under attention with the friends and connections of the person that commented. There is a high probability that someone will click the link or leave a comment too. This might cause a positive snowball effect.
Another way of offsite backlink creation with user generated content is offering a badge. This is something you see with sites offering a protection or security scanning service. Your website then has a small image “This website 100% secure” and it has a backlink to the other website in return.
You can make that too! Find or create an appropriate image about your service. Examples: I “support Company X” or “I donated to Charity Y”. Provide the website visitor the code in HTML and ask to be placed on their website.
Steps to get user generated content
In order to get the content you want, you have to have users first. But, how do you get the users to ‘work’ for you?
You can start with a small group of followers that already are devoted to you or your brand or product. In this example we are using a forum to generate content by users. Invite the devoted followers to the forum to start a discussion with you.
Unfortunately, you are the one keeping the ball rolling. You have to spend a lot time and effort to have the number of forum members grow. Your main task is to facilitate collection, promotion, evaluation and quality assurance. You will need to engage with the content creators, in this case the forum members, and make sure the content they bring is usable.
You cannot control the members, but you can control your own content. You have to keep contributing content.
In addition you can focus on generating content that can be re-used. A few ideas are: photo content, customer testimonials, video testimonials, customer reviews. When you post this on the forum, it might be shared on social media by the members.