Posting on forums related to your industry can generate significant referral traffic to your website. Forums can get you more direct referrals and as a bonus – sometimes even backlinks. CNET is a great example of a website with a forum. If you own a software company, you can create an account, answer user questions, and post links to articles on your website etc. Here are a few things we recommend:
- Pick a relevant forum: You want to find a forum where users are asking questions, conversation is happening on a regular basis, and the conversation is relevant towards your website vertical (like our CNET example).
- Create a forum signature, with a link to your company’s website, as well as relevant social media accounts (Google+ is a big one for forums).
- Occasionally post links to content on your site, such as a blog post, that further answers the question being posed in the forum.
- Make sure that Google indexes links to your site posted in forums. When you post a link in a forum, use good anchor text that includes the topic of the page you are asking people to visit.
- If users in the forum thank you or ask questions, be sure to respond.
Forums can be a little bit tricky to run on your own website. You can get spam complaints from Google and they can take a lot of time to maintain. But public forums on other sites, such as CNET, can be good if you want to get conversations going and increase traffic back to your site. Yahoo Answers and Quora are two of the forums that you should be monitoring regularly. These are probably the two easiest to use. People frequently use these sites to ask questions. Do not spam on these sites, but rather always answer questions to the fullest extent possible and include a link to your website’s relevant blog post or article – if it would be useful to the reader.
Steps to complete this task
Look for forums that are related to your business. Search for keywords in your industry and add the word forum and you should find plenty, if not Yahoo Answers and Quora are also great places to find potential traffic. Create an account and be sure to include a bio with links to your business, social media profiles, and other relevant information.
Look for a “Welcome” or Introductions” sub-forum to introduce yourself. You have to be careful when posting that it doesn’t come across as an advertisement. The general rule is be more of an “expert” than “salesperson”. If you come across as pushy could be banned, and your product or service could be maligned on a site that ranks high on search engines. Find other recent posts that ask a question – answer the question, include a link to your blog or other content, and monitor your response.
Make sure to provide valuable information relevant to the topic. Most forums have a very strict policy about spam. Don’t immediately bring up your product or service. Make sure your message is on topic and then slowly bring your business into the discussion. Become a valued contributor to the site. Use your account to talk to other members, reply to questions, or to ask your own questions. Become a known entity and marketing opportunities will become available to you.
Just like reviews, immediately respond to complaints and criticism. When users respond to your comments and posts, respond to them. Acknowledge them by name, thank them for their input, and answer any question or give feedback.
- Leave comments on blogs relative to your business or industry to get more backlinks.
- Publish guest blog posts and press releases.
- Get links from lists of resources and online directories.
- Engage in other bloggers’ content.
- Generate more traffic by posting on website forums.
- Join blog aggregating sites.