It is very difficult to launch a forum. Yet many people are interested in building a community online through foruming. If the site is struggling, the advice you may get is to advertise your forum. However, this is expensive. PPC advertising for such a site will probably not have a positive ROI. So what are some creative ideas for how to get your forum better attended?
The obvious answer is SEO. So many people will start a traditional SEO campaign as they would for any other Internet website. This is a mistake in my opinion. Forums have several extremely unique factors that many other sites don't have.
* Ever changing content
* Tightly structured conversations
* Diverse language patterns
* Keyword rich pages around specific topics
* An RSS feed for every thread
This is great raw material. As you sit back and think about it, you will realize why search engines love forums so much. So how can you come up with a really creative SEO campaign with these ingredients that will get your forum well ranked and bring in many high quality posters?
The core of the answer is RSS. But having an RSS available for every thread is not enough. All reputable forum packages offer this service. But like everything else on the web, without promotion your material will never be found. The creative approach here is to syndicate your RSS. Perhaps that's called RSSS. Or maybe RSS-squared. But a strategy that will work very well is to use RSS aggregation sites as destinations for your RSS.
How do RSS aggregation sites help advertise my forum?
Simple. Each RSS aggregation site will actually render your RSS as html to the world. This means the search engines will crawl those sites and see your forum content, with a link back to the source. Instant back-link. Will this be enough to get your forum on the first page of Google for every thread. Probably not. But will be enough that your forum participants see that their responses are getting indexed quickly. And in the end, that is what the experienced forum dudes are after. They likely have their keywords as anchor text in their signatures and are building back-links themselves. It's a symbiotic relationship. They give you good content, you give them deep links with their anchor text.
There are several advanced variations you can then apply to this RSS syndication approach. You can send the RSS from various subject areas to different topically-oriented aggregation sites. You can build your own aggregation sites that are seeded with keywords related to yours. It can get very complicated. But the general concept holds. Leverage all the positive SEO aspects of a forum with the convenience of what RSS was built to do. End result: Free advertising for your forum. If you need help setting this up, just contact us.