The Power of Forum Marketing
Be honest, forum posting is all tied up with gaining spammy nonsensical links from some or other software provider. But was is the actual essence of the strategy? I find it odd that many of my “seo compatriots” seem to turn their nose up at the chance of adding this service to the one they offer their clients. “It’s black hat”, or “the links aren’t worth anything now”, often comes up if this kind of promotion is talked about. More fool them really. Forum posting should never really be about the link building aspect of an online marketing plan. Its purpose is to establish authority and bring your name to the forefront of whatever community it is you are posting in. This can be a great way to attract new clients who have been impressed with the advice or strategy they have gotten from your posts on the forum. Forum traffic is as good at converting as social media traffic. And that converts very well, far better than search engines traffic does.
- Extend your authority throughout a whole community through helpful and insightful advice. Let those you are targeting for business know that you know what you are talking about. This can gain you as much, if not more traffic than a guest post would.
- Do not overly promote your business, let your advice and knowledge sell your credentials. People are likely to be put off if they think that your information has an ulterior motive……even if it really does have one.
- Try to get no follow links if you can in any footer or avatar. This is really all you should be thinking about when it comes to links from the site. Not getting so many as to look like you are using the place as a link supplier. Google may well have an issue there. Posting where you think you can get a specific point to as many people as possible, that will allow you to be seen as a strong authority on the subject is the goal. You don’t want to be spraying opinion around like a poorly disciplined dog at a lamp post party.
- Make sure all contact information is placed whenever you post. You may have to pay to be able to do this but you want as many people as possible clicking through to your site as easily as possible.
How many customers do you want? You should sign up to as many as your budget and time frame allow. Due to the fact that you are not going to these places to place hundreds of posts, (I recommend about 2 or 3 good ones a week), having a few of them helps to get your authority out to a larger audience. Content sharing is what the internet is all about. It is how companies grow brands and authority. Make sure that you only limit this weapon with quality over quantity. This is imperative here.
What SEO value is there?
Not a lot, short term. As I stated above care needs to be taken not to overly spam links to your site from various platforms, no following links would stop that threat. You will pick up more visitors, and if you have pages relevant to the posts you are making being linked to, lower bounce rates and client inquiries. This will lead to social shares, which are of an seo value and possibly bookmark links from people who want to make sure that they can get to your site or page quickly and easily. The fact is we all do seo or online marketing to gain clients and make money. That, in my mind, should be the goal rather than making everything about ranking. You only want to rank to get clients anyway don’t you?
Making sure that you spend probably as much time promoting your ethos and information on forums as you do on social media is incredibly important. In fact they are very similar in execution and make up. You should want to gain traffic from as many different areas as possible as a business, and grow your brand as widely as possible. Brand authority is incredibly important to your “rankability” as a site anyway. You can share infographs or memes with those who frequent that community as well as promote any content that you have written that may be useful to a particular thread, just as you would on a social media site. Some forums have many thousands of members for you to impress with what you know. Just be careful not to be overly promotional, no one likes the car salesman trying to push a 3 year old car on them at their sisters wedding after all. They may like to get to know someone who explains how to service their car so they don’t have to pay a garage to do it though.