Making Use of User Generated Content on Directory Sites

Are you hoping to make more use of ‘user generated content’ to increase the level of content on your site while keeping costs to a minimum? It can be a good idea, but it’s important that quality controls are in place, whether the user submitted content consists of profiles, articles or other content.

User Generated Profiles

Many if not most business directory websites invite users to submit a business profile. If you browse a few directory sites you’ll notice that some sites have consistently good quality profiles, while others offer a mixed bag, from the poorly written to the polished and professional. Engaging a copywriter to prepare profiles for your directory clients could be a costly endeavour, so it makes sense to have users generate this content – but because having low quality content on your directory site could have a negative impact, it’s important to have some quality control in place.

There are a few options for controlling the quality of content submitted by users. Some may be more suitable for your business model and budget than others:

• Have a set of guidelines or a template for clients to follow and make it clear that quality is important;

• Check and edit the material submitted, in-house;

• Refer users to a web copywriter (at their own expense) to have profiles written;

• Enter an arrangement with a copywriter for writing profiles and build this cost into your fees;

• Enter an arrangement with a writer/editor to check and correct profiles before publication;

Articles and Other User Generated Content

Similar controls can be applied to other types of user generated content like articles, or content for mini-websites within a directory. Naturally, the more content users are asked to supply, the more time consuming it will be to monitor the quality, and the less inclined clients may be to pay for professional copywriters to prepare it. On the other hand, if you have a good number of sign-ups, then you will have some negotiating power with a copywriting service and the best chance of working out a deal that is affordable for directory clients.

Duplicate Content Issues

Many directory style sites have suffered in the rankings in the past couple of years. Low quality and duplicate content is likely to have played a role in some cases. Unfortunately, duplicate content is often a problem when user generated content is being submitted – people have a tendency to use the same business profile on multiple directory sites, and even on their social media profile pages.

How do you avoid this issue? Begin with a request that the content submitted be unique, and not published on other websites. You can check content submitted using Copyscape or a similar service. Where profiles are being re-used, suggest the client has it rewritten or, if you’re using a writing service, you might offer to arrange it for them.

Quality Content: good for you and clients

It’s not easy to convince directory site clients to spend on adding unique content to your site. But if you’re able to provide a space for content, and make it affordable for them to take up that space, then you can both win. You get the content to build your site, and clients get the opportunity for additional exposure online.

If you’re interested in assisting your clients to supply unique high quality content, speak to us about your sign up numbers and content needs and let’s see if we can come up with a suitable package deal.


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