Why Your SEO Plan Needs To Include A Community

3 minute read

December 12, 2013

Why Your SEO Plan Needs To Include A Community

  1. Customer language: When a customer writes on your forum, they are using customer language. They are not using SEO speak, technical jargon or the thoughts of your marketing department. They are asking real questions and phrasing things the way a searcher in Google or Bing would.
  2. SEO friendly structure: A little secret you might not be aware, most forums do not need SEO help or plugins. They do not need sitemaps. The structure of a forum, by nature, is easy for a robot to crawl.
  3. Fresh content: It’s hard to publish new blog content 2-3 times a day, let alone 2-3 times a week. A healthy forum will have fresh content all day long.
  4. Engagement: When people are on social media, they can get distracted by other items in their stream. When a customer comes to your community, they are on your platform. They are likely to look at more pages and more content and share links to your content to their social network, blog or elsewhere.
  5. Shareablity: Forum posts are easy to share. Not only will link sharing help your SEO, it will also likely lead to engagement of new users.

Before You Leap

A forum is not a panacea, though. Before you get going on a community consider the the following:

  1. Do you have the right team in place? A forum will require someone to manage/moderate the community.
  2. Buy in from your team/company? Someone will need to answer questions or be the guru when you get going. Nothing is more depressing than seeing a community with lots of questions and no response from the company. Sure a moderator can do some work in keeping things on track, but you will need a product expert or a support person to keep an eye on things.
  3. Are people likely to engage? If you have a business where people engage with you already, it will make things a lot easier. For example, do you get many likes on your Facebook page?
  4. Do you have the right type of business to do this? There are very few businesses that would not have a topic which is suitable for a community. Sometimes it takes creativity. As long as people are able to talk about your company/product/service or reach out to your support team, you have can create a community!
  5. Do you have a plan? Just like with a website, just putting it up does not mean you will get traffic. Do you have a marketing plan roll out? Beta testers? Email blasts? How will you get the ball rolling? How will you keep them coming back?

Final Thoughts

With the right team and planning, a community can be a great way to create user generated content and increase your SEO traffic.

Vanilla Forums offers a cloud based community solution that can be an integral part of your SEO strategy. Try Vanilla Forums Cloud Solution free for 30-days

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Adrian Speyer

Written by Adrian Speyer

Adrian Speyer is the Head of Community and Lead Evangelist for Vanilla by Higher Logic. Besides spending many years in digital marketing, Adrian has been building communities of all sizes for over 20 years.

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