While less than 9% of Internet users contribute the majority of user-generated content (UGC) (Rubicon Consulting, October 2008), most regular Internet users have at one time or another placed a blog comment, asked a question on a forum, or written a product review. Online UGC has been growing in incidence and importance over the last few years, but it’s only recently that search marketing practitioners have seriously considered the impact of UGC on SEO, and actively tried to harness its power to boost search engine rankings, exposure, and enhance site usability.
The following data illustrates the growing importance of UGC:
1. Consumers are relying more on UGC in purchasing decisions.
- Online product reviews and evaluations were cited by 83% of shoppers as influencing their purchasing decisions on some level (Opinion Research Corporation, July 2008).
- Nearly one-half of adults in the US read ratings and reviews at least once per month (Forrester, October 2008).
- Eighty-one percent of online shoppers reported consulting reviews at websites during the December 2008 holiday shopping season (Nielsen Online, December 2008). Almost two-thirds (63%) felt that having multiple reviews for a product was important.