My latest article at Practical Ecommerce, read it in full here.

Search engine optimization typically focuses on the trophy terms, the high-volume keyword phrases, because marketers need to drive the highest value with the lowest effort. Unfortunately, those juicy trophy terms are great for brand recognition and customers’ initial awareness, but they typically don’t convert as well as the less commonly searched long tail phrases. But optimizing a site manually for the millions of phrases that could drive converting customers to a site just isn’t scalable or possible with limited resources. User generated content such as reviews and question-and-answer sections can solve the problem by outsourcing long tail optimization to your own customers.

User generated content — UGC — is great for SEO for a couple of reasons. First, when customers write reviews or ask and answer questions about a site’s products, they use different words than marketers use. Customers tend to use the same words that other customers and searchers use. Enabling UGC on a site, therefore, ensures the best of both worlds: The product descriptions and category level content will be written by marketers using the brand voice, and the UGC will be written by customers using the voice of the customer.

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