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Forums: part of your linking strategies?


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#1 Nadir

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 05:57 PM

There is so many places where you can insert a link to your websites. We all use directories, niche websites, paid listings, articles sites, natural links etc.

I would like now to try to post my client's links on forums related to their industry. For example, one of our customers is a fashion designer. There are literally thousands of fashion forums. Is it worth it to submit to the maximum of them?
SEO companies or Webmasters: do you use forums a lot as a way to both gaining links and promoting services? How effective is it in terms of ranking and sales?

#2 rmccarley

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 06:15 PM

If the forum offers live links, especially in a sig file then sure, why not? While I don't think they help much as far as SERP position, they are useful for getting a site crawled quickly. And every litle bit helps.

If the links aren't live I wouldn't waste my time if my intended result is SEO.

However, my experience is that I get a lot of click-throughs with sig links. So if your intention is traffic it becomes worth doing again.

#3 Sorvoja

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 06:16 PM

I do not recommend using forums, wikipedias or blog comments for link building. When I was a active member at SEOChat I got a lot of new business by having a one line ad in my signature. I guess somebody in need for SEO went to the forums posted some posts and then contacted me, so the advertising value of forums could be great.

#4 Adrian

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 06:40 PM

Even if forums have 'live' links, there's nothing to say the SE's will take them into account for link pop. Matt Cutts stated that they don't count all links for limk pop, even if they show up as a backlink. And prime targets for ignoring links are going to be forum sigs where it would be easy to spot recurring links and sig taglines. Guestbooks, blog comments (though most seem to have nofollow anyway now) and obvious advertising on sites would be other prime targets for ignoring link pop I'd say.

The amount of actual click through traffic you can get from sigs on relevant forums is a lot more worthwhile, in line with Sorvoja's comments. Actually getting involved in forums can help general visibility, word of mouth among other forum members, and perhaps you're general standing in the industry.

For SEO, not really effective, for general marketing, possibly very useful :)

#5 Nadir

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 06:47 PM

Right, so we'll do it for Marketing aspect!

#6 Foghorn

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 06:51 PM

I don't think forum sigs have counted for anything in Google for quite some time. The forum spam that does seem to be working though is memberlist spam in unmaintained forums. That's more for pr though as many forums show the url or an image link to your home page.

Forum sig links still seem to work well in MSN though.

#7 cre8pc

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Posted 28 November 2005 - 08:08 PM

Is it worth it to submit to the maximum of them?


Maybe it's already understood, but the idea of "submitting" to forums to get backlinks is the fastest way to be banned from forums. If it looks like a link drop and acts like a link drop and the forum has rules against link drops...well, anyway.

There are people who think a link from a profile page is worth something, so they run scripts to "join" and automatically fill out profiles. These forums are one of the many that kill the registration the instant it appears because we can tell it's an automatic submission.

We allow links in sigs as a way of thanks to those who volunteer to help fellow members. We don't permit them so that members can manipulate rank with our blessing :roll: We like to think that if you say something smart and helpful, you might impress someone and they'll visit the url in your sig.

#8 AbleReach

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 01:07 AM

I advise participation in forums because forum activity helps people learn new material while defining their own views and becoming comfortable with saying what is important in their eyes. It's a great way to get to know your community, while defining one's own branding.

Forums are for community.

Link drops are like pamphlets strewn in the streets by passing planes.

Sig links are like handshakes.


Elizabeth

#9 rmccarley

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:17 AM

I agree with Kim (Hello Kim!). I pick up most of my SEO work by posting *something* that gets enough attention by *someone* to visit my site. Once there they see a bigger picture of SEO and usually get that it isn't something you just do on the occasional weekend and that it *is* worth investing in. Since they learned all that from *my* information I guess it's only natural they call me. Which is kind of strange since I haven't actually posted any services on my site.

But I still get the calls!

#10 Brad

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 07:39 AM

Links in forums should be considered a viral marketing strategy not an algo or link-pop strategy.

The former takes longer and Kim, Ablereach and rmccarley nailed it:

I pick up most of my SEO work by posting *something* that gets enough attention by *someone* to visit my site.


It means you have to have something to say and that requires work, preparation and commitment to being part of a community. But given that people will start to check out your profile and the link to your site.

First rule of sales: people buy because they like and trust you not your product.

#11 Nadir

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 12:38 PM

Very interesting suggestion Brad and others, Thanks.

#12 randfish

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 12:52 PM

Links in forums should be considered a viral marketing strategy not an algo or link-pop strategy.

That is exactly what I was going to write. Forum readers are pre-disposed to being bloggers or web publishers, so the chances of them providing a link if they like what they see is higher than the normal Internet populace.

#13 Nadir

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 01:06 PM

Ok then I'll link to seomoz!

#14 Ron Carnell

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:13 PM

Forum readers are pre-disposed to being bloggers or web publishers ...

I'm going to assume you mean Cre8 forum readers, Rand?

Very few of the forum readers in my writing communities can even spell HTML! :)

#15 AbleReach

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:30 PM

I would like now to try to post my client's links on forums related to their industry. For example, one of our customers is a fashion designer. There are literally thousands of fashion forums.

Nadir, does your fashion designer like to write, or have someone on their staff who likes to write? Why not teach them how to do the forum thang on their own?

Elizabeth

#16 Nadir

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:52 PM

Elizabeth, yes I'm sure they have someone who can do it, but then, that would mean that they do their internet marketing inhouse...which is not interesting for us since we would lost a part of our contract with them.
But what I'm going to do is ask them to write an article, and then submit it to targeted sites. Also there is forums were we can post commercial announcements, we'll do that too.

#17 mcs

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 04:57 PM

Sig links are like handshakes.


Elizabeth - that's cute, I like that :)

#18 randfish

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 05:10 PM

Very few of the forum readers in my writing communities can even spell HTML!

Ron - I'm guessing, however, that there's still a "higher" percentage of web-savvy folks in the forums than in any other community or site on the subject. Forums, no matter where they grow, attract the web-savvy and they become bloggers and article writers and content creators. Even if the process is very slow in some fields, I'd still say it's a better shot than posting your link to say... guestbooks or writing it in a telephone book, etc.

#19 Brad

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 05:14 PM

Also there is forums were we can post commercial announcements, we'll do that too.


<clapper rant on>

In a small way I have some experience with this. I have a forum in which I have a board set aside for authors or indie movie producers to announce their books or movies. (Got tired of chasing them out of the regular forums. :roll: ) Anyway the forums are in conjunction with my niche directories which are on the same topic.

Now in a year's time a free listing in my directory will drive 10 times the traffic as the forum, because in the forum after about 30 days their post will not be visible by default. I tell them this - I even give them links to all my competitor's directories. Do they get it? NO! :shock: All they understand is spamming the forums. You can't get them to take the time to actually submit their site for a free permanent listing. :mad: gah!

<rant off the clapper>

Okay the lesson of the story is:
Sure link dropping in forums gives you a little quick action, I've done it myself. :twisted: But don't overlook the real treasure and become too fixated on just forums to drive traffic.


:)

#20 Nadir

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 05:23 PM

Brad "But don't overlook the real treasure and become too fixated on just forums to drive traffic. "

Of course i know that forums won't bring me huge traffic, but that's a good way to get know by people...

#21 AbleReach

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Posted 29 November 2005 - 06:48 PM

I'm sure they have someone who can do it, but then, that would mean that they do their internet marketing inhouse...which is not interesting for us since we would lost a part of our contract with them.

How many respected members of fashion forums are not members of the fashion industry?

This is not marketing that you could do, unless you yourself were a fashion designer. Instead of thinking of forum participation as Internet marketing, what about a term like networking or think tank? (think tanking doesn't say what I mean ;-)) IMHO they're more likely to find fashion contacts than learn how to take over your job.

If they are the kind of people who would get inspired by forum participation, they will be much easier to get interesting new content from, which would give you more to market. They'd expand the practice of writing about and thinking about their market, which would help you do the actual Internet marketing.

Participating in a fashion forum might help them feel more comfortable with fashion in the web environment, but it is not going to turn them into web markers.


Elizabeth



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