User-generated content (UGC), engagement and interaction allow brands and consumers to connect and build relationships that develop and create loyalty that is extremely valuable. However, it doesn’t always help with your search rank – So how can we combine these two?
UGC is a broad range of data including anything from video, photos, comments all posted and compiled on various discussion boards, forums, review sites and online campaigns. What they all have in common is that they are created by everyday participants; visitors.
Another common feature of UGC is that search engines have a few problems ranking the information. SEO by the Sea, internet marketing and search engine optimization services, consulting and research reports the following as typical mechanisms for ranking documents in a web search that make ranking UGC more difficult:
1. UGC tends to be fairly short
2. There usually aren’t links to or from UGC
3. Spelling mistakes tend to be common in UGC
A patent application from Yahoo explores an approach for indexing UGC and introduces three concepts that might be helpful in ranking so that it will show up in search results:
1. Document goodness
2. Author rank
3. Location rank
With the overwhelming amount of UGC online today it is not surprising that search engines such as Yahoo are looking into how to rank information. It shouldn’t be a surprise to companies and brands then, that they should consider how their own UGC is being ranked and what initiatives they might take to enhance the status of the content.