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As search engine optimisers, you’ll often find us talking a lot about content; it’s an essential part of any SEO strategy, no matter what industry you work in. But did you know that there are different types of content? We’re not just talking about pages and blogs; we’re also referring to the content that concerns your business, but isn’t written by you.

Helpfully termed ‘user-generated content’, this content is put out on the internet by the very people using your goods and services. In this article, we’ll be exploring what user-generated content is, how to recognise it, and, most importantly, what kinds of user-generated content are significant in your SEO strategy.

What is user-generated content?

User-generated content (also frequently referred to as UGC for short, and even consumer-generated content), is brand specific content created by the people who use it. This could take the form of images and videos shared on social media, as well as reviews, blog posts, and testimonials.

UGC is content that isn’t created by the brand, but is instead an example of a product or service ‘out in the wild’, being used by the audience it was intended for, and its efficacy demonstrated to others who may not yet have purchased.

When we talk about user-generated content, we do have to mention those #ad posts you see on social media, where the brand has paid a user to mention, use and/or review their product or service. These aren’t examples of user-generated content in the traditional sense, as they seek only to emulate user-generated content, and harness the powerful ‘influential’ nature of it.

Those hashtags we mentioned that mark the content out as an ad should be taken into consideration if you use sponsored posts to help make purchasing decisions; they exist for a reason, to show you that the user in question has a financial incentive to advertise the product or service.

For the purpose of this article, when we talk about user generated content, we’re talking about the organic kind, that hasn’t been paid for by the brand.

Who creates user generated content?

Anyone except the brand themselves that generates content about the products or services offered by that brand are the ones putting ‘user’ into ‘user-generated content’. This includes:

  • Customers - this could be social media followers too
  • Influencers and brand ambassadors 
  • Industry critics

What are examples of user-generated content?


Most commonly associated with platforms such as Instagram, images that show off a product or demonstrate a service can be uploaded by the user, with the brand tagged in the image - shown to the right audience, this can be gold dust!


The rise of platforms such as TikTok has given users a whole new way to show off the things they’ve spent money on that have impacted their lives. Often, a short video of mere seconds can be enough to influence an audience.


Whether they’re comments on social media posts, reviews embedded on a product page, or a Google review, the experience a user has had with your brand can become valuable user-generated content.

Social proof is very much a thing, with many consumers not even considering parting with money until they’ve been reassured by the reviews and recommendations of others.

Articles and blog posts

Products and services can be mentioned, referred to or reviewed as the focus of an article or blog post, or they can be included in a list (‘Top SEO Agencies in Sussex’, for a topical example). Bonus points if these articles or blog posts generated a coveted backlink.

How can I leverage user-generated content for my SEO?

Whilst you might immediately think of social media when we talk about this kind of content, which isn’t really an area that directly benefits your SEO, some of the aforementioned user-generated content formats DO have an impact on your rankings. It can be pretty significant, too!

It’s important to keep in mind that Google uses higher rankings to reward user-focused, helpful content that sits within E-E-A-T guidelines, so in all cases, this is what user-generated content can help you work towards.

Here’s how you can use user-generated content for SEO:

Encourage Google reviews

This is a biggie - Google reviews demonstrate trustworthiness and authority, and if you’re a local business, your local SEO is improved by reviews too.

Encourage Google reviews from visitors to your premises through posters and cards, use email marketing to prompt customers to share their thoughts following a purchase, and even offer incentives for reviews left. If you’re a coffee shop, for example, you could throw in a free pastry for every customer that leaves a review!

Don’t forget to respond to these reviews, either thanking the reviewer for a positive review, or apologising in light of a bad one.

Generate FAQs

Answering questions that are generally frequently asked will help provide value on your website to the people who are interested in what you do, crucially removing barriers in the decision making process. By keeping a close eye on what your audience is saying about your product on social media, you can find out what answers would really benefit potential customers.

Create web pages

Frequently updated testimonial web pages featuring the kind words left by your customers are a good way to signal to Google that you’re trustworthy, credible, and bring value to your audience. It helps users make the decisions to buy from you too! Take Slack’s customer stories as a high profile example.

Enable reviews on product pages

How much easier is it when you find a product you like, and there are reviews right there in front of you from people who have tried and tested it? This is the kind of helpful content and authoritativeness that Google loves.

What are the benefits of user-generated content?


User-generated content is, essentially, free advertising - your customers are spreading the word for you!  

Gain insight into how customers interact with your offerings

Shape future products and services using the insight gained by user-generated content.

Increased credibility and authority

Boosted by the social proof that UGC provides, your brand’s reputation is bolstered too, cementing you as a trusted business within your industry.

It’s good for your SEO

As we’ve mentioned, Google rewards content that keeps E-E-A-T in mind, and with the A standing for Authority and the T standing for Trustworthiness, UGC can go a long way to helping you rise through the rankings.

Let us help you tame your user-generated content

If you’re wrestling with your testimonials, keen to update your FAQs, or you’re concerned about what future reviews updates by Google may mean for your rankings, it may be time to engage with SEO specialists like us here at 427.

We help businesses across a range of industries get in Google’s good books, not only through their content, which includes the user-generated variety, but also through a whole host of other techniques and ranking factors. This includes technical SEO, backlinks and local SEO; it all adds up!

Chat to us today about kickstarting your SEO in 2024.

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About Chris Simmons

Chris is our onpage SEO Specialist at 427 Marketing, having joined the team in early 2023. He works with our content team to cover the 4 pillars of SEO; content, onpage SEO, technical SEO and offpage SEO. Prior to joining the 427 Marketing team, Chris spent almost 10 years applying his SEO and content skills across several different industries in marketing agency and inhouse roles including tool hire, auctioneering, health care within the NHS and high end luxury retail in both B2B and B2C capacities. His passion for writing, content, UX, technical and on page SEO has expanded our content offerings, helping provide reliable advice about all things SEO to 427 Marketing.

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