Welcome, frankbyme. Forums CAN be traffic generators by virtue of creating a lot of keyword based content. Putting a forum on your site won't necessarily improve your ranking for a difficult keyword, but it may generate traffic for lots of other phrases.
Link popularity effects are likely to be indirect. If the forum becomes very popular, it will probably pick up a few links on its own. Individual threads may occasionally pick up a link or two.
Please guys ..and especially rogerd ..it's fora : )
Dictionary.com says either plural is okay.
Foras (to use a more dubious plural) help a website if they help the people using the site to get more out of it.
In Latin, yes. However we speak English here. It's "forums" ;)
Forums or fora (?!) can help a site as they encourage interaction. Remember though the busier they are the more time they take to moderate.
You will need to be able to moderate the site carefully for illegal, abusive and self promoting users/content.
If the forum is busy enough you either have to rely on the generosity of regular users who you can trust to moderate carefully or employ fulltime staff to do it for you.
Leosghost, you probably call one data point "datum", I suppose... ;) "Fora" just doesn't get used much and sounds kind of pretentious, though I've been known to use it if I'm in a formal speaking mood. :)
We've kind of hijacked frankbyme's thread. Anyone have forum & search rankings stories to share?
Actually, "forum" doesn't have a plural in Latin. It does in English, and it's "forums".
To return to the actual topic - yes, a forum or forums can help a web site, particularly if posts are SE friendly (or should that be SE-friendly? :)).
I run a site for a not-for-profit organisation, which was, when it was set up , the only site in that general subject area. I set up a message board a couple of years ago, partly to provide our friends and relations with somewhere to post relevant information and partly to advertise our site. I figured that more content (which is what a forum gives you) equals more keywords and therefore more links on SE listings.
For the first six or eight months, it was the main web site that provided the message board with visitors - ie, people who knew about our web site would also pop in to the message board to see what was going on. But slowly, it was the message board that provided the web site with visitors. People came to the message board, often from a search engine, occasionly from a link to a thread from an outside site, and would then move on to the main part of the web site.
(You can tell which way people are going from the logs: number of visitors to the message board who came from elsewhere on the web site vs number of people who arrive at pages elsewhere on the web site from the message board).
The secret is, of course, keeping the content relevant. I'm absolutely ruthless about deleting spam, flames, etc.
Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!
Dixit TheDoctor, forum est.
A client of mine had a legit case of only being able to get traffic on 2 or 3 phrases in a very niche service.
I added a Forum and now it generates over 85% of all SE traffic.
A forum allows you to get into SERP's you'd never think of.
People will tend to deep link to specific messages as well as your main URL.
The more SERPS you get the more visitors you'll get. The more visitors you get the more potential of getting free links. ;)
Sheesh a question and 7 anal replies!
****C whether it is fora or forums? We all know what the intent was!
>Do forums on websites help sites?
Yes, the sticky value is hard to beat.
>Can a forum help a sites ranking on search engines?
For pre-determined keyphrases.....probably not. But, most traffic doesn't come from pre-determined keyphrases.....so you end up catching thousands of visitors that search for things you never dreamed of!
>Do forums help a sites link pop in any way
They certainly don't do any harm. It depends on the subject matter, but generally, it has a positive affect on link pop.