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An important strategy for growing search engine visibility is to continually generate new, unique, and quality content. But there's only 24 hours in a day, and it can be pretty difficult to do that with your own resources. Fortunately, you can leverage the interest and knowledge of your website visitors to create new content for you, and this is better known as user-generated content. User-generated content is content that normal website visitors create for your website, and given the right circumstances, user-generated content can be a very scalable and cost-effective means of content creation.
So, what are some good examples of user-generated content? Blog comments and forums are examples where allowing people to simply express their views can help generate new content for your site. Some websites take this to the next level by cultivating expert comments and allowing users to vote or assign weights to certain members of the user community. And allowing top contributors or other experts from outside your organization to write guest blog posts and articles can be a great way to post new and enticing content, and have others generate comments and conversations around that content.
If you sell products on your site, you can allow users to leave reviews of your products as a means to generate new and relevant content. Again, you can find ways to organize and display these reviews, and you can work on ways to solicit more from your customers. In the business-to-business space, you might ask your happy customers to work with you to create testimonials or case studies. And keep in mind that content doesn't necessarily need to be textual. If users want to share interesting information in the form of video clips, photos or other media formats, by all means let them.
For any form of content that can exist on a website, there's the possibility of allowing your website visitors to help create new content. And don't forget to take advantage of user-generated content through social media outlets. A big reason for the explosive growth of these social media services in recent years is that people have a natural tendency to share interesting content with other people, and these services make it easy to do. Remember, sharing content, whether you've created it or your users have, provides even greater opportunity for people and search engines to find and see your content as authoritative.
Lastly, you'll want to make sure that you have some kind of approval process in place if you're going to let your visitors write or post whatever they want. Unfortunately, the world is full of potty mouths, automated bots, and angry people that can and will take full advantage of the ability to post inappropriate things on other people's websites. Make sure to read, watch, or listen to anything that's going up on your pages.
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