Every forum owner dreams of their forum showing up on the first page of Google Search for at least one or two keywords. Imagine getting hundreds of new visitors pouring into your forum on a daily basis, wouldn’t that be great. While getting on the first page or rather anywhere in first 10 pages of Google Search is quite unrealistic in the short-term, doing the basics right will ensure your forum makes steady progress up the search rankings.
With the amount of competition out there for even the niche keywords and the money being invested in content creation for SEO, life becomes difficult for forum owners with limited budgets. But with the right approach, a forum can find itself leaping over thousands of other websites and maintain a great search ranking. Here are the things that a forum owner needs to do to win the SEO game:
> Maintain a Blog
Content is king when it comes to SEO in 2017. So, the more useful content you have, the higher the chances for your forum to dominate a niche in the search rankings. You can collect answers from your forum and convert them into blog posts or request members to contribute. This blog can be connected to the forum and the blog posts can be a useful in getting great backlinks.
> Eradicate Spam
Spam is the biggest enemy when it comes to making a good impression in front of the search engines. When the search engines index your forum and discover spammy content and links, it immediately downgrades your search ranking and rates you negatively. Take the help of moderators and community members, plus also use plugins to keep your forum spam-free.
> Keyword-filled Content
Go back 10 years and you would open top ranking search results and find content stuffed with keywords. It had become the main SEO technique for all those who were getting to know search engines and trying to rank on it. But with multiple changes in the Google Search algorithm, this no longer works. Try to write more about a topic and let the words flow naturally. That’s the best way to avoid keyword stuffing and get unnecessarily penalized by Google.
> Get the Tags Right
Having the right tags on the forum can clearly establish the forum in a particular niche. While forum owners needs to avoid deliberately adding keywords, they can always get creative in the way they use long-tail keywords. They can use them to create tags for pages, ask questions, name topics after them, start threads, etc. Throw them into the right conversations, so that members unknowingly pick it up and start discussing and using it.
> Avoid Black Hat Techniques
When SEO was still a new concept to many forums and forum owners, a lot of so called SEO experts promised a big push in the ranking of their websites. They often employed black hat techniques, in which they used illegal methods to fool the search engines into believing that the site was of high quality and credibility. Today, indulging in such techniques can lead to suspension of your forum so it is better to stay away from them.
When your forum is neatly organised, it becomes easier for the search engines to crawl through your forum and access all the information. This also passes on the ranking value to all the links from top to bottom. Adding a sitemap is also quite helpful in this regard but not necessary for forums in general. Linking to content within the site makes the site look more credible for the search bots that index all the information on the forum.
> Get the Technicalities Right
When it comes to the basic of website management, search engines can punish you for taking it lightly. Forum owners need to make sure that the basics like adding the ‘nofollow’ attribute, setting up 404 error messages, mobile website experience, page redirects and so on are taken care off. When you are following these simple guidelines and your users are having no problem accessing your forum, then the search engines will only push you up the rankings.
> Quality Content
SEO is considered to be an uneven platform when it comes to large websites competing with small websites. But Google has over the years made the promise that quality content will be the biggest factor on which they will rate different websites. So, when it comes to forums; creating fresh content and arranging in well can give it a boost over many other websites. As forums produce so much content, the big forums often are in the top 5 pages of the search results. Linking to videos or adding original videos to forums also boosts it credibility.