User generated content caught people by surprise. This is why some call it a phenomenon of the digital age. By definition, it’s when the users are the ones who provide the content of a page. It consists of reviews, comments and chat forums among others. It has become a category in SEO because user generated content has been, believe or not, more trusted by other people than regular content.
Think about somebody’s Facebook mobile upload of a shot of the steak they’re eating at the neighborhood steakhouse. With the caption, “Melts in your mouth”, your tendency is to check out that steakhouse yourself to sample their meat. It’s word of mouth recommendation, virtual style.
But there is one website that completely depend their content on the users. Yelp is defined as a social network, user and local search website. They categorized their features according to geography with products and services that run from restaurants to barbershop to jewelry stores in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. As of the start of 2012, Yelp has had over 70 million unique visitors.
Another thing Yelp has done is to simplify the life of local search. Unless it’s done for research, search is usually with the intent of finding the ones that are in proximity. Because of this, with Yelp’s programming of segregating features not only based their category but through their location, they have improved local search by 30%.
What are the things SEOs can learn from the strategic campaign of Yelp in local searches? Based on a study done by BrightEdge, here are a few SEO can apply.
1. Developing software that can supervise rankings in different locations. It can also parallel local with national results.
2. Concentrating on cities that have poor performance and knowing keywords that would best apply.
3. Improving on the landing page mistakes to make sure the highest ranking page doesn’t land in a different location.
4. Knowing the location of the users as this influences SEO performance on pages that have high traffic.
5. Upon knowing this, factoring in elements for better optimization in that location.
6. Submitting these local companies on search engines.
7. Utilizing the benefits on online local communities for a company listing like Google+. Seeking smaller, unknown local portals and community sites to register your profile and including as much photo as you can, business hours and other important information.
8. Coming up with local-specific landing pages for searchers within that particular location or location name.
Studying the successful paradigm of Yelp, one last thing BrightEdge has discovered is that “each page should be tailored with content that is specific to that location and that content should be compelling and refreshed regularly.”