Search engines are the number one source of traffic for most brand sites today, so naturally, every marketer is thinking about ways to improve their ranking. Everyone knows user-generated content can be a very powerful tool to improve SEO ranking.

Like many companies, OpenTable recently implemented the complete SearchVoice solution with SearchVoice Inline (SVI), which ensures reviews are crawlable by search engines and drive traffic directly to the product page. SVI is complementary to the SEO-optimized OpenTable microsite, which is optimized for long-tail searches (for more information, check out the cross-funnel indexing white paper written by Range Media).

OpenTable’s team tackles several SEO-related projects each year, and they were eager to add the fresh, relevant content that diners submit each day to the website’s restaurant profile pages in HTML, which allows search engines to crawl and index the reviews. The OpenTable team was particularly interested in this content because it gave them a scalable way to add unique content on their over 12,000 restaurant profiles worldwide.

What makes this content so valuable from an SEO perspective is threefold:

  1. For most restaurants, the volume of user-generated content is far greater than the traditional restaurant information offered in a site.
  2. While the information on a particular restaurant may not change year after year, user-generated content is contributed all the time, keeping content fresh.
  3. Last but not least, user-generated content is authentic. It is written in the customer’s own words, which are obviously closer to search terms used by searchers.

We looked at a variety of metrics to use to measure the impact of this additional content. First, we considered the impact to overall search engine traffic to the OpenTable.com domain, but that was too broad. Since we had added the content directly to the restaurant profile pages, we focused on the impact to search engine traffic to only the restaurant profiles.

There were quick wins – an uptick in traffic within three days of implementing this solution – but, as is often the case in SEO, the real benefit has been the consistently higher traffic driven to the restaurant profile pages over time. Within four months, the traffic increase was 10%, and as compared to the previous year, traffic has increased 17%.

The number of unique keywords that drove traffic increased significantly as well – a finding that is consistent with a similar study about adding UGC to the product pages that was done back in February.

Overall, the addition of fresh, relevant, and unique content has been extremely valuable to the SEO efforts of the OpenTable team. We have seen even greater results for retailers and smaller websites that haven’t been able to invest in an in-depth SEO strategy due to difficulties in scaling content across hundreds or thousands of products.

How do you add and index fresh content to your product pages?

BV ResearchMaximize the search impact of your UGC.

SearchVoice Inline contributes to a 17% increase in OpenTable’s natural search. Read more in our full case study.

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