The rumours have now been confirmed (by Google itself!):

You can use your customers' appreciation for your business to boost your own SEO!

Would you like to improve your SEO without very much effort? It's definitely doable and you'll learn how to do it in this article.




In this article, you'll learn:


    what important info Google has already confirmed

  • how to improve your SEO using customers

  • how to do it for free without much trouble

Before you continue, I'd like to remind you that we've created some free PDFs on the topics of SEO and other relevant information for online shop owners:

Download 5 whitepapers from our experts – for free!

5 SEO SEA whitepapers package

How does content boost SEO?

Content is very important for SEO. The more content you have on your website (domain), the more information Google has about your website.

It works like this:

Google is basically a robot that scans your website and tries to predict what it's about. Then, it starts to ranking your website for specific keywords so users can find it.

Common SEO Pitfalls Webinar

The most important job for Google is to satisfy users. Therefore, in order to rank higher your content has to be relatable to the users' intent for a keyword/search term they entered in Google.

If it seems to Google your website doesn't satisfy the users intent, you simply lose rankings for those search terms.

However, if you optimise your website (especially your content) for SEO, you can gain a lot of traffic from Google organically. And of course, organic traffic is free!

In short:

With a lot of content, Google will see what your page is about and know that it is valuable and relevant to show its searchers.

Is SEO a relatively new topic for you? Check out our introduction to the topic:

Whitepaper introduction to SEO and SEA

Does user-generated content work for SEO, too?

You already know that you need a lot of content. Naturally, it takes time to produce all that content. Wouldn't it be great if someone else created it for you? Well, how about your users or customers? They sure can! 

However, the question until now has been whether or not it even counts in terms of SEO.

The truth is that it has been long speculated by many many experts that it was, but because of Google's secrecy regarding their ranking algorithms, it has never been confirmed. But now this:

John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, shared the following very important information in his Ask Google Webmaster video series on YouTube:

Overall, Google doesn’t differentiate between content you wrote and content your users wrote.

If you publish it on your site, we’ll see it as content that you want to have published. And that’s what we’ll use for ranking.

In short:

User-generated content works the same for SEO.

However, it can be good or bad. What I mean is:

If you have a large amount of user-generated content, you have to make sure it meets your standards, so it won't harm your SEO.

You can watch the whole response here:

Make user-generated content work for you

There are different types of user-generated content:

  • Customer reviews (both short and long)
  • Photos and videos

    • from enthusiastic customers using the product

    • of the products alone

  • Comments, questions and testimonials

  • Creative content made for competition

And these are just the examples. You can think about what kind of user-generated content you could use on your website. And then: make a marketing strategy for it.

Download the Reviews as UGC whitepaper

If the content is high quality, you will be rewarded with higher rankings in Google. And you know what that means for you: more free traffic.

There is some work to do

However, you have to take care of these two things:

  • moderate user-generated content

  • be sure it doesn't slow your website

Mueller himself recommends moderating user-generated content:

A simple way to do this is to block those pages from being indexed by default, and to only allow them to be indexed if you’re happy with the quality.

For example, you could block them with a no-index robots meta tag, which you remove once you’re happy. Figuring out how much it takes for you to be happy with the content is up to you.

Some sites collect information on how happy other users are with the content, which might be useful for this.

Also, be sure that the pages on your website that are filled with user-generated content work the same as the rest of the website. In other words, it still has to work fast as speed is now a ranking factor as well.

The last thing is you have to make sure of is that users don't use your website for their own SEO purposes.



stealing-seo-powerDon't let your users trick you with their user-generated content

They can simply create some random content just to be able to put some links to their websites. This way they will be somehow stealing your SEO power from your website. And if their websites (the ones they link to) are low-quality, it can affect your rankings.

What Mueller recommends there, is to use the rel="ugc" attribute:

Finally, one thing to keep in mind with user-generated content is that, by default, you probably can’t vouch for the links that were added.

For these, we have a way of telling us that these links are user-generated content with the rel=“ugc” attribute.

One last thing:

If you use user-generated content, such as product reviews, in your online shop, don't forget to optimise product pages themselves:

Download product page SEO checklistThis article was first published on our Polish blog: Klienci mogą napędzić Twoje SEO [potwierdzone info]

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