Marketing November 19, 2012 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,275 Reads share

Using UGC And Social Signals To Defeat Google Panda

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The Typical Scenario: You’re a Webmaster, in-house developer, marketing director or SEO of an e-commerce site. The constant releases of both Google Panda and Google Penguin have virtually wiped your website off the face of the planet.

Now your website is no longer receiving organic traffic from Google and you’ve learnt that content marketing is the way forward, but there are only so many articles you can write about “packaging and storing / <insert boring niche here>” .

The Problem

Google Panda was released to reduce the number of low quality and content thin sites that were plaguing the SERPS. Unfortunately this update has resulted in a number of e-commerce platforms being penalised.

Most e-commerce sites are known for having low levels of content and due to the sheer time and financial investment required to populate each item with unique content, many sites will never recover.

Those that have been given a budget to populate sites with new content and invest in a content marketing strategy, are also finding that writing the same generic articles and posting them on their new blog isn’t having the positive effect that they may have hoped.

The Solution

Thankfully there are a number of ways to populate your site with unique content that doesn’t necessarily involve you writing it yourself.

User Generated Content – UGC

Enable Commenting & User Reviews  – Free

It might sound silly but a number of sites do not allow or are very restrictive with reviews and comments. Your site desperately needs to enable users to comment on products or services that they may have purchased.

Not only does this mean that you’ll have your users populating your site with free content, but you’ll also be increasing the trustworthiness of your site and as a final cherry on top of the cake, by introducing schema mark-up on your reviews you may also see this reflected within the SERPS and be rewarded with increased click through rates – more info available from Google.

Incentivised or Cost Involved

For the most part a user must be motivated to contribute to your site. The cost of motivating a user should be factored in when an incentivised campaign is run, as you don’t really want this avenue of populating your site with content to cost more than doing it yourself.

Incentivised Reviews – Cost Implication

Does what it says on the tin. Some users will review a product because it either exceeded their expectations, or because it did not meet their expectations. Unfortunately more often than not, it will be the latter.

There is a way around this of course. To increase positive reviews incentivising a user to leave a review should be considered. However, this should not be confused with incentivising positive reviews only, as this can backfire on you.

Social Signals – Free or Incentivised

Social sites for the most frequented websites are available on the Internet. By integrating the ability to share your products, reviews or services via these social platforms, you’re more likely to encourage user engagement and population of content.

As an added bonus, you can display feeds from Facebook / Twitter etc on your website as well; thereby increasing the amount of fresh content on your website.


By encouraging user engagement you’ll be increasing the level of unique content on your website, increasing trustworthiness and appeasing Google Panda at the same time. All this will result in increased visibility within the SERPS and ultimately more sales – all thanks to your users!

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Images:  ”Customer fills in the feedback /

Sebastian Cowie

Sebastian Cowie

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