User-Generated Content (UGC) is a form of content that is created by users rather than the site owners. The term is often used to describe reviews, comments, and other content created by visitors to a website. In some cases, UGC can be used to improve a site’s search engine optimization (SEO) by increasing the number of links to your site.
UGC is usually free for users but it can also be paid. For example, paid UGC may be provided by staff writers who work on commission or in exchange for free access to the platform.
The term “user-generated content” was coined by Eli Pariser in his book The Filter Bubble: How Your Online Life Is Being Modified To Match Your Profiles, Beliefs And Past History (2011).
In his book, Pariser claims that companies such as Facebook and Google use algorithms to filter what users see online based on their personal data such as age, location and political affiliation. This means that users only see information that matches their profiles — which can lead to a bubble effect where people are only exposed to opinions similar to theirs or people with similar interests lose interest in certain topics because they no longer see any news about those.
Types of User-Generated Content
The most common types of UGC include:
- Reviews: People share their opinions on products and services they’ve used or purchased.
- Images: People take photos and share them online.
- Videos: People create short videos about products or services they like or don’t like.
- Infographics: People use data visualization to show readers how something works or how to do something (such as how to cook a certain type of food).