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Forum on website to increase keyword SERPs?

1:35 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I was just thinking, would including a discussion forum (e.g. Vbulletin) on my website for visitors/customers to join help position my website better in search results?

One of my competitors has a forum on their website and I did some searches on Google based on some posts in their forum, and I can see that these posts end up ranking in the top 10 on Google.

Another great example I see this on is WebmasterWorld. I would start a thread on here; then search Google and I would see my post already being listed on Google.

Thank you,

3:18 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Google seems to be very friendly to forum posts in general. Of course, that can be a double edged sword. I can't prove it, but they also seem to somehow focus on *negative* forum posts. I have one rare forum post for a product that happened years ago. When you put in the name of the product... There she is! Like a sore thumb. Even though I know there's a pile of praise posts... Those do come up, but old Mr. Negative is #1.

I think the hard part is controlling the negative stuff. If you attempt any deletion, most people will scream 'censorship'. It probably depends greatly on your customers... If you get a lot of cranks, I wouldn't do it.
3:32 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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You are on to something. But...

You must consider how to deal with the high percentage of people who feel that "HELP!" accurately describes their specific problem. That can kill a longtail strategy fast.

The other issue is time. Do you have the time to cultivate the community? To moderate the community? Will people feel inspired to return and help others? Who is going to moderate? Who is going to deal with the spammers? Do you have staff that is able to deal with getting hacked? There are many vBulletin forums getting hacked [google.com] right now.

Forums come with a lot of baggage. Not trying to dissuade you. Just advising caution before jumping into it, to carefully consider what you are getting into.
4:18 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for the replies!

Yep, that's definitely true. Just based on the competitor I was researching, there were a lot of negative posts being made. It seems like the forum ends up turning into a "customer support" forum for angry customers.

However, I believe this company does very well; so it is strange that even with customer's posting threads that contain the word "scam" that they are still able to bring in business.

Yes, managing a community like this would definitely take a lot of resources. This is something that maybe I would add later once I have the resources to manage it.

I feel like adding a forum can be a great for SEO, but also need to keep the negative posts to a minimum or it can backfire on me.
7:52 am on Apr 3, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Forums are great places to post issues even negative. Some forums are very strict and some leave free wisdom. Negative feedback is actually unlimited source for your improvement. If you combine social pages, you can link person opinion to their blog and you know person ID. Facebook is very good at this point. If you are Facebook developer than all developers can see your profile (checkbox).

1. You need to define strict security points. Many are at URL (vBulletin forum).
2. Define strict conditions for member folders inside vBulletin like 'SPAM'.
4. Define Query which will automatic move members to SPAM folder.
5. Define country checkbox which enables posting just from specific country.

Last point actually solves 95% of SPAM members.
We posted the largest forum and came to the conclusion that:
1. people post because they have time but admin and moderator do not have time.
2. positive thinking of moderators is great to expand forum.
3. attacks from other countries with spam material (guess which word is the most searched) will be specially from some countries which you will limit with the checkbox.

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