Vice president of sales and marketing for PowerReviews Cathy Halligan has drawn attention to the marked influence that users of social media have on the constantly shifting process of search engine optimisation (SEO).
Her explanation highlighted the importance of user generated content in affecting the way Google and other search engines index, rank and present their search engine results pages (SERPs) to their users. For example, even as recently as the beginning of 2010, user generated content from social networks did played very little part in Google SERPs for online shopping.
This has changed radically in the past 20 months as Google has radically altered the way it presents its SERPs to include user generated content, particularly product reviews. This is because online shoppers and consumers of online content continually indicate that they trust and rely on the opinions and reviews of other “real” internet users (rather than simply accepting the seller’s sales spiel at face value)
Google now values keyword rich user generated content like product reviews very highly, a fact that is indicated quite clearly whenever you search for practically any commercial product online, including services such as hotel rooms and car hire. You’ll find customer reviews incorporated and prominently featured in order to allow the user to get a clearer idea of what they can expect from their intended purchase.
In the constant refining process of helping users find accurate, useful and relevant content, social media is currently one of the chief tools of evolution with its generally honest and forthright user generated content.
Online advertising agencies have been told repeatedly over the last couple of years to become engaged in social media activity, or at the very least not to ignore or discourage it. From an SEO perspective, the relevance and importance of social media user generated content cannot be overstated.