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Community Building and User Generated Content Forum

    
Utilizing forum for SEO
links and other
smallcompany




msg:4255577
 6:44 am on Jan 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Recently I've stepped into a forums world. I created it as an addition to existing website that promotes stuff through affiliate marketing.
I use a suite that comes with the blog and CMS. For now I run forums and blogs.

It's very slow as many suggested here when I asked for some advice.

Anyhow, I wonder about utilizing forums for SEO purpose. Is it OK to start using existing phrases for few backlinks?
If not, how do you normally do it in your forums (and blogs if you run them through suites like vbulletin)?

Thanks

 

rogerd




msg:4261881
 8:53 pm on Feb 2, 2011 (gmt 0)

Smallcompany, what do you mean by "use a forum for SEO?" Forums can be great generators of search traffic, most often for long tail terms. Ranking for high traffic terms is possible with some optimization and strong inbound links. As with most UGC, though, expect long tail activity.

By "using existing phrases for few backlinks" do you mean link out from the forum? You can certainly do that, but of course the potency of those links will depend on the linkage and authority of the forum, and where those links are located.

smallcompany




msg:4263187
 4:18 am on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

Is it unethical to use existing post text for linking back to the pages within the site?
I know that definitely does not happen here at WebmasterWorld for example.

londrum




msg:4263228
 11:04 am on Feb 6, 2011 (gmt 0)

i do it. its no different than wikipedia linking to their own pages.
if you think its going to annoy your users (which it probably will) then just make it so it only affects old posts that havent been replied to for 3 months, or something

rogerd




msg:4263932
 9:58 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think londrum's suggestion is good. Some sites automatically link keywords to little ad popups, which is really annoying. A link to other useful content on the site shouldn't be too objectionable.

smallcompany




msg:4263999
 11:49 pm on Feb 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

A link to other useful content on the site shouldn't be too objectionable.


That's what I meant. No those annoying ads. Just links that point to related content.

Thanks to both for your input.

robzilla




msg:4264002
 12:32 am on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

its no different than wikipedia linking to their own pages.

It's actually quite different, as I see it. On Wikipedia, editors work together toward creating a single encyclopedic page over which (after publishing) they can still exert control, but of which they ultimately have no ownership.

Forums are vastly different in the sense that members contribute individual posts in which they express their personal thoughts, feelings and opinions. Because you sign your posts with a nickname, you own your words -- you are not, as is the case on Wikipedia, anonymously or invisibly contributing text to a collective endeavour. Scroll down on WebmasterWorld and you'll read: "Member comments are owned by the poster."

The trouble with converting parts of users' posts to 'relevant' links is that it implies that the member who has originally posted the message, has also inserted the link. After all, noone but yourself and the post's author will suspect that you have begun to link certain words and phrases to certain pages after the post was created.

To answer your question: yes, I believe the technique is rather unethical, because you would be changing the original intent of users' messages.

Automating the process of converting phrases to links is especially risky. To illustrate: imagine one of your members has written an emotional post about the recent death of his beloved cat. A few weeks after the thread has last been active, he/she returns to it and finds that one or several occurrences of the word "cat" have been exploited, as it were, to link to a page about cats in general and thus wholly unrelated to his/her cat. A poor illustration, perhaps, and the effects likely differ from one forum to another, but I assume you recognize my point of concern.

I think londrum's suggestion [of making it so that this only affects older posts] is good.

Remember that just because posts are old, that doesn't mean they are no longer read. As you mentioned, "forums can be great generators of search traffic, most often for long tail terms," and much of that long-tail traffic will likely be directed at older posts, so that they will be read for months and even years to come, even though they may no longer accept new replies.

rogerd




msg:4264278
 6:15 pm on Feb 8, 2011 (gmt 0)

Limiting the number of links per page is a good idea. I find reading Wikipedia annoying when the text is stuffed with internal links. Keeping your links to, say, 2 or 3 per page will maximize the link juice and won't overwhelm users.

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