Search engine optimization (SEO) has evolved very quickly that it is indeed a major challenge for web administrators, companies, and organizations to find appropriate link building strategies for their sales and marketing objectives. This is because from time to time, algorithms change and some of the old, tried and tested as well as reliable search engine optimization practices are no longer effective. According to SEO experts, some of these practices which are considered outdated include the use of meta keywords, search engine submission, and back linking from blogs and forums as examples. And this leads to the question, “is it possible to perform search engine optimization with forum comments at this point in time?” The Importance of Link Building An article pointed out that Google has been telling us that there are different factors in order to influence ranking and apparently, there are more than 200 rank affecting factors to consider. Furthermore, from the words of a Google executive handling search quality, content and links are still the two most important factors which affect ranks. Thus, it is foolish if you ignore the effectiveness of links as page ranking factor in order to be successful with Google. Today, you need sustainable link building activity and that it needs to grow. Forum Link Building Forums are always a perfect way to earn and build links; but lately this link building activity has been the subject of debate as there are spammy forums out there and real forums are affected; hence, many are doubting the effectiveness of forum link building nowadays. Spam forums promote low quality contents and auto setting up of profiles just to have a link are just two of the ways where forum link building is abused. But, when it is used properly, it is still an excellent way to gain following in a certain niche and acquire links that will provide stronger traffic to your website. Things You Need to Be Conscious of when it comes to Link Building through Forums Now that you know how forums are still effective when it comes to search engine optimization, you need to know things that are needed for effective link building activities using this method. SEO practitioners are making a mistake by using low content quality forums to bet their links with. One should understand that content quality comes from people and forums offer high quality links provided that reaching out via links are useful when you have legitimate and helpful contributions to encourage users to visit external links you are promoting. Here are things you need to be conscious of: The first thing you should do if you want to build links via forums is of course to determine if the forum is a spam site or the real thing first. Basically, doing this is chicken feed as there are some signs that will let you recognize a spammy forum such as the following: One is that it has lots of pop–ups. You haven’t started browsing down the bottom yet you are already invited to another site. Second, it has low quality content like off tangent articles. These things were just posted for the sake of quick links. Third, there are no contents to read and what you have are just links to another site. Real forums are definitely difficult to find but with patience as one of your weapons, you can discover them when you look at these details: It has at least 1000 forum members. The forum has accumulated over 10,000 posts. You know that it is a top notch forum when it gets at least 10-15 posts daily. When you find a real forum, you should also check if it allows signatures where you can add links. The final step about forum relationship is to read the Forum Post Guidelines and the terms and conditions for users. The rules of engagement tend to separate spammers from those who are trying to look for meaningful and helpful content and also useful link building activities as well. Basically, one of the ways to abuse a forum is by not following rules and other hidden etiquettes when it comes to posting. Forum posting is still one of the ways to increase efficiency of an SEO model. When you post in forums, you are trying to capture and acquire involvement and contribution of a larger section of a certain niche. Post Penguin Effect In the old days, Google search was about quantity instead of quality. It was basically manipulation and more beneficial for spamming. Thus, there were many artificial links in those days diluting real Google search results. Thus, Google introduced the Penguin algorithm, an effort designed to combat spam links. With that, Google was able to detect manipulation so now it only promotes links that are of high quality in terms of content and really add value to the web in general. So, it is now more focused on presenting sites on search results that are real sites in the first place. Forum Commenting in the Penguin Era But this doesn’t change tactics and strategies when it comes to search engine operation in particular – link building activities. Forum commenting has been abused heavily in the past due to manipulation and spammy tactics. Today, you have to implement the following in order to not be penalized by Google when it when using this option for links: It is wise to stay on forum relevant to your product or post comments relevant to the forum. Don’t merely promote yourself or your product or services but leave a supportive message behind. If you can help someone, the better. Is It Possible? Google just changed the algorithm and it only renders ineffective manipulative tactics when it comes to SEO. Thus, traditional SEO activities like forum commenting are still effective but only if you do it right. Now, is no longer the time to post comments carelessly. Not only did Google changed algorithms, people has also become sensitive with regards to forums and are leaning towards those that contain high quality content. Related posts: Is Guest Posting Dead? What Can Guest Posting do for Your Business?
Is PageRank still your metric of SEO? Article by Greg Szalas Before I will focus on the main topic and explain a bit of principals of PageRank I would like to explain what really should be driving SEO in your company. As we know the best way for harvesting readers or customers is to write great content. This has been repeated by Matt Cutts over and over again. That’s true but not always possible. Nowadays webmasters and publishers borrow a bit from here and a bit from there. It appears that links became very valuable therefore waiting for someone for linking to your great content might take literally ages. From Google point of view which is for me a bit ancient just for the reason mentioned above can leads some of us nowhere. The truth is that great content will work in a long run. PageRank? How would you like it served, Sir? PageRank used to be the Google search engine measure popularity of particular website compared to others. Zero indicates a lesser important site while 10 the most authoritative. New sites will get PageRank of 0 before they will prove (or fail) their value and climb on the Google ladder of trust. Sites with better PR used to (theoretically) rank better than sites with lower PR. That would make sense simply because more authoritative site is the better chance of delivering better, more accurate content and therefore to get higher SERP rankings. I said ‘used to’ be because Matt Cutts in his webmaster videos mentioned quite few times that page rank is looses on its value. This indication from the source translates to “delays” in current page rank updates many of us is waiting for. Problems with installing toolbars also plays important part against. This measure should not be used for number of reasons. One of the most important is that cause distraction from things like improving content which will drive traffic to your site. We’ll talk more about possible way of boosting traffic to your site later on. Whilst the other is basically time consumption which equals money in most cases. Testing SEO strategies is possible the most common way of proving right / wrong thinking but this is not how professional should really behave. Hit and miss techniques are for amateurs in my understanding. Even developing a solution with hope to boost PageRank might not guarantee any results now nor in the near future. Are you dead PageRank? So the question here is should we wait for PageRank and use it as indication of our SEO strategies? Is page rank dead? I don’t think so. Yet, it might look like Google abandoned this measure from the point that no update to it had been made in past 8-9 months. However the search engine giant may come to that conclusion in a near future. That does not necessary mean that PageRank as a measure of popularity is gone forever. In my opinion it just has been abused by many therefore its relevance as ranking factor had to recede into the background. A similar thing happen to web directories which were the best way to improve (read manipulate) ranking in search engines. Will great content strategy move your PageRank? Let me put it this way, it won’t harm your website page rank. Even with the best content in the world buried in a treasure chest you will not get any results. That is where boosting traffic to your site might help. Because good quality content is very linkable you should focus on social shares and other ways of promoting your content. Furthermore , the content you write should be well optimised even through good internal linking and wise selection of words or appealing page titles / meta description. Social sites such as Facebook which might seems to fade away a bit and losing their grip still play important role in reaching more audience you need. Twitter is in its Golden Age, blooming as a tree so therefore you shouldn’t forget about benefits might offer you in boosting more traffic to your site. While sharing your content you must remember about frequency of updates on social media websites. This must perfectly reflect what on your website. No gaps or mistakes in posts either. Cutts, the Google head of the Webspam is also responsible for search engine optimization issues. In one of his statements regarding this matter we get some important factors we should focus on: If you had the best content in the world without concerns on above factors then, You could have miss your opportunity to shine in front of many. Will good quality links will boost your PageRank? They should. At least that is what we know. Google repeatedly confirmed that quality comes before quantity. This is where after Panda 2.0 update huge overhead appeared on everyone in SEO business. You must not forget about incoming links while working on links pointing to your site. They are as important, if not more so. There were some cases where internal links when perfectly tweaked lifted optimised page very high in SERP’s. However do not take it for granted as that requires a lot of practice and doesn’t have to work in next Google algorithm update. Therefore links are only one fraction of the PageRank equation formula. They should be concerned on a level with content, website SEO optimisation as well social media impact. Conclusion Whether you like it or not Google plays their cards. If you want to join the game then you must obey their rules. Great content is one while reaching your audience is the other. Which one do you think is most important? In my opinion you cannot separate these two things. To be able to successfully deliver anything these days you have to see big picture of this puzzle. SEO specialist is no longer someone who works just on getting links and optimising content. Furthermore, it is not one man job any more. Delivering content and reaching audience in first place is effort of many. The current reality is that it is more about planning your strategy and ensuring that all your parts fit well with others. You have to combine all the available tools and put as much effort in what you do as you can. Otherwise you are just wasting your time. So should PageRank be your metric of SEO. I would not advise to completely relay just on this factor. As I mentioned before PageRank is reflection of great content and good quality links (which you will get giving good content to your audience). Remember what I said before about social presence. To be honest there are better tools than PageRank toolbar in your browser (which might get abandoned any time now). First that comes to my mind is Google Analytics. There you can find out if your content is great, average or poor simply by looking at conversion rates such as new and returning visitors or time spent on page. For me PageRank is dead and can stay this way as long as websites I optimize occupy positions in search engines I want. Ticking all the boxes from my SEO list is everything I need. Not a green bar telling me what I did was right. So is PageRank still your metric of SEO? Because it is not definitely mine! Updated: 24/11/2013 Related posts: The Social Side of SEO in 2014