An explosive rumor (now seemingly confirmed) is reverberating through the Search Engine Marketing universe. Late Friday, some sources started to report that Google is removing side bar ads. If you've gone ad-blind or your use of Adblock has made you forget, here is what that looked like:
According to Search Engine Watch, you will no longer see these ads shortly, but
"...the right-hand space will still be utilised for Product Listing Ads (PLAs) as well as Knowledge Graph Boxes, so you probably won’t notice much of a difference there. However the continual ‘pushing down’ of organic listings will certainly be an issue for many of us.
For businesses, this will mean the organic space is even more precious and will therefore lead to an even bigger focus on SEO.
For Paid Search advertisers, the change will certainly drive up average CPCs as the competition for the top slots increases. It’s gonna get ugly."
A very interesting discussion is also happening over at inbound.org on how Marketers plan to handle this. The consensus so far seems to be that in the end, SEO will become even more important.
Forum SEO Action Plan
It's a fact that forums increase SEO for a website. Time and time again, we have clients who tell us how adding a forum helped increased traffic to their website domain. Unlike other social media platforms, traffic from a forum happens on your domain. While you already have that advantage if you have a forum, there are ways to ensure your maximum SEO benefit. Here are five tips to help:
- Clear Meta Description on your homepage: Don't stuff your description with meaningless words. Make it a description that represents what people would search.
- Don't be afraid to be an editor: If someone creates a bad title for a forum discussion, don't be shy to rewrite it to be more SEO friendly. There is also an added benefit to make it clearer for those in the community on what the actual discussion is about.
- Don't be afraid to share your knowledge: Creating rich content on your forum is no different then creating great content on your blog. Add pictures, video and other elements that make your post shareable. Great content gets shared organically.
- Make sure you have clear and concise category names: Don't be fancy with your category names. Keep it clean and concise. Add a description that is clear as well.
- Use Google Webmaster tools: Google has given you a free tool with lots of insights. It can show you what content is getting impressions vs clicks. It can be a great way to know what content you should focus on in the blog. It's also a great way to ensure your forum is being crawled properly.
While a forum or community will not be the only thing to consider in beefing up your SEO, it can certainly be a big part of your plan. Don't be shy; take an active role to put your best foot forward.