One ingredient for high search engine ranking is having the right kind of back links to your website and posting in forums is a great way to get them. Social networking sites are one way of obtaining links but I’ve found that developing individual links on a one to one basis has longer lasting affects.
When I say individual I mean back links that are generated because you’ve chatted with somebody else and they found your information link useful. When folks find information useful they tend to share it with other people. Think about it. Don’t you share useful internet articles with your friends?
A smaller more focused target is better than a wide general target. Social networking sites like Reddit appeal to a wide audience, but they are not necessarily the type of reader that will enjoy perusing through your website. Forums on topics similar to your website on the other hand, have readers who are looking for information related to the topics you’re ready to share.
One hand washes the other
Posting in forums isn’t only helpful in generating traffic through links, it’s a two way street, whereby you get to meet and hopefully help readers resolve their unresolved issues. If you cannot resolve the issue first hand, you can steer them in the right direction by sharing links to sites that have helped you in the past.
A big no-no is joining a forum and pasting links to your site all over it. That is spam. Think of joining a forum like being a guest at a party. When you meet someone at a party do you overwhelm them with everything you have to say and then walk away? I hope not. The same rules of etiquette apply to forums.
Before you join a forum, first make sure it’s a thriving forum and a community that you want to join. If the posts are very old, then it’s not a thriving forum. Additionally, not every forum suits every individual’s personality and needs. After you’ve decided to join the forum, introduce yourself. Get a feel for what everyone is talking about. Join in on conversations where can contribute quality content and also learn from forum members.
Offer to help people in their situations. When they asked questions give quality answers. Over time you will develop a reputation for being a straight up knowledgeable member of the forum. You will make friends and will lend credibility to your posts which will develop a readership for your website.
Forums can be a win-win
In addition to making friends, increasing traffic and helping others, forums are a great source for article ideas. Read through the posts often. You may find that one question seems to pop up over and over again. It may be worded differently, but in essence it’s the same question. What better way to fill a need than by researching the answer to the question and writing an article about it?
Place the article either on your website, or place it on a content paying site (one like Suite 101 or Associated Content) and share the link with forum members. You not only help them out, but you generate traffic and a few dollars at the same time.
Here’s another benefit you may not have thought of. Search engines index forums. Someone searching for an answer to a question (who is not currently a member of the forum) may read your answer because the search engine placed it high in the results page. They will read the post and potentially click the link to your site. How good is that?
Words of advice
If you have a blog or website, in addition to spending time making sure that it is attractive to the search engines by employing SEO practices, make sure it’s attractive to real people too.