Leveraging User Generated Content at IS2011

IS conference 2011

Great IS Conference 2011 presentation by Michael DeHaven of Bazaarvoice (@stormseo) on ‘Leveraging User Generated Content for SEO and Conversion’.

Top 7 tips for SEO work around User Generated Content:

  1. Don’t forget SEO fundamentals – you have to start with the fundamentals (h1 tags, keyword targeting, great writing)
  2. Search engines get bored – ‘static sites are so 2005’, search engines crave something new (keep it exciting)
  3. The Primanti Principle – Primanti (a restaurant in Pittsburgh, PA) is one of the best places to get a corned beef sandwich.  Traditional ingredients with the exact amount of french fry additions.  Not too much, just enough to be interesting and dynamic.  Web pages are the same – you start out by building with foundational elements but add in the ‘meat’ of the webpage and layer on 8-10 pieces of fresh, User Generated Content (your french fries) to give to Google to devour.
  4. Beware of dilution – be strategic.  The average review, user question or answer is about 100 words long.  Average product description is 300 words long (fully search optimized, written by professional marketer).  Given the amount of text, be sure you don’t dilute your hard work around content optimization by putting in too many user reviews – it will blot out the work you’ve done.  Figure out the math.
  5. Unlock the potential of the archive – Tap into your treasure trove of reviews from the past.
  6. Ask for content at relevant times – Timing on requests for UGS is crucial.  Software product, solicit requests an acceptable amount of time after using it.
  7. Convert reviewers into advocates – allow your current customers to play a role in other parts of you

What should you expect from UGC?

For many communities, they receive a steep increase in Google traffic (15 – 25%) – with keyword targeting a steady but slower growth.  Make sure that your reviews can actually be viewed by search engines (not hidden or in java script).

Googlebot crawled (Bazaarvoice client) Cabela’s site 200% more often when constantly updated product reviews were included on product pages – without them, Googlebot showed less interest.

Review readers act differently – where to buy up 82% / add to cart up 125%.  Do people who use Q&A convert more often?  45% converted more often than those who didn’t.  When you find an answer – you buy!  And also call less, 3 answers on a page resulted in 81% fewer customer service calls.

Offline testing (adding rating in print coupons for newspaper inserts) worked too — Rubbermaid coupons with reviews were redeemed 10% more often.