User-generated content could hold advantages

By creating a user-generated content (UGC) area on their websites, companies can enlist the help of audiences in promoting their brand name, it has been suggested.

Writing on SEO Book, Aaron Wall claims that by setting up "a forum or community section", users can create regularly-updated free content which could then appear in search rankings.

He added that UGC helps "users feel they are part of the brand" and that as a result they are more likely to provide links to companies’ websites.

However, he advised that although UGC can be of value, marketers should be cautious of the risks it involves if users are marketing brands in "undesirable" ways.

Mr Wall warned that by allowing users to submit their own content companies could be at risk from those looking for "ways to leverage your domain or authority".

He also added that those who spend lots of time contributing UGC are often "hard to profit from".

Overall, Mr Wall pointed out a community section can be beneficial "if you tie it into a paid content model".

Research conducted by Lynchpin Analytics earlier this month revealed that failing to make full use of the various strands of online advertising means British companies could risk losing up to 50 per cent of investment returns.

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