Search Engine Optimization Forum
When you think of search engine optimization, chances are optimizing a forum is not the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, most SEO strategies seem aimed at website page ranking or content creation.
However, many of the same principles (and a few new ones) can be aimed at increasing the visibility and success of your forum.
What Search Engines Love
- Clean coding and design of platform, making it easy for search engines to crawl and index
- The number of backlinks a site has linking to its, i.e. how many other websites are linking to you and sending traffic your way.
- Not all links are created equal. Links from high authority sites such as a well-known news outlet will have a greater impact than your friend putting a link on their blog.
- The quality of the content contained within your website or forum (including frequency of posting).
- Time on site that your users spend on domain
- Social sharing of webpages
- And the best, as forum users most likely users of your product, the keywords and phrases they use are similar to the terms being searched on search engines.
Search engine optimization is made up of many components and to list all of them would require an article far longer than this one. However, those are the three main components that many other factors would fall under.
Above all else, search engines want to connect their users to a site that answers their question. That is why when someone searches for something such as “hosted community software, ” you’ll see Vanilla Forums right near the top.
And since Entrepreneur Magazine is a well-known, widely circulated publication and website, they show up well in that particular search. Since Vanilla Forums is mentioned by name and linked to in this article, we show up well too. That is SEO at work.
Translating This Method to Generating Forum Traffic
By now you see that the key to generating positive search engine results are content, traffic, and popularity. All three are important and should factor into your plan to generate traffic for your forum.
Some basics you will want to consider:
Consider keeping your forums open
Forums that require registration before viewing the content will be more challenging from an SEO standpoint. In general, forums that are run this way will see an increase in membership since that is the only way to view the content. However, continued engagement may not be there.
Open forums will see less memberships since anyone can come in and view the content. However, This also allows the content itself to be searchable. In general, the easier you can make it to join and interact, the better off you will be.
Create and Encourage Video
Search engines love dynamic sites with a variety of content and nowhere is that more true than with video. Search engine algorithms are constantly changing, but content is still king and video makes for great content. Whether you create your own or not, encouraging your community to create and share their own is a great way to help enhance your SEO.
Video is a dynamic medium that is searchable in its own way, and video sharing sites such as YouTube can further link to and from your forum which also helps.