All we hear about today in the technology world is SEO. The current belief seems to be that without search engine optimization, your small business will surely fail. Your forum will go caput. Your blog won’t get any traffic. Well, sure, SEO helps keep that from happening. Keywords help Google take the users’ virtual hands and guide them to the green pasture that It thinks has the website, forum, and/or answers they’re looking for. If you can make that happen, that’s awesome. It’s probably the fastest way to drive people to your forum. But it’s not enough. Here’s why.
Direct search terms are probably the fastest way to drive people to your forum. But it’s not infallible. There’s probably a limit to the number of people searching for the term, say, “chicken gizzards” each day, week, month. So you can load up your forum with “chicken gizzards” as many times as makes you hungry, but unless someone is searching for those specific words, they won’t find you or your ventriculus.
The real trick, in my opinion, that will make your forum readily available for public consumption, is to take a lesson from Yahoo Answers. Have you ever noticed that, at 2 a.m. when your insomniac brain is pondering the wonders of the universe, you type in some random long-tail question into Google – for example, “Why do chickens eat sand?” – and bam! up pops Yahoo Answers with the first result? Most of the time, they’re in the top five search results. In our example, the first two results actually are from Yahoo Answers. Yahoo is absolutely killing it in this market! Why? Because they are the lone rangers in the long-tail question-and-answer field. No competition whatsoever. Nowhere in that search were the words “chicken gizzards,” but if you follow the first link to a Yahoo Answers page, the very first answer to the question of why chickens eat sand is that they have a little organ called a gizzard that uses the sand to grind up the food they eat. And guess what? Out of the next three results, two were websites with a forum for people who keep poultry! So the moral of the story is, it’s not just fancy-shmancy SEO search terms that drive Google traffic.
Easy peasy. Create posts about these random questions. Create a page and a question that asks why chickens eat sand, and then go in with another account and answer it. Ask follow-up questions. Perhaps someone will meander in and answer that question. Meanwhile, Google is constantly crawling. Even though you might think your forum is tucked away in some wrinkled corner of the world wide web, Google is stalking you. It’s everywhere, and it’s constantly crawling your site, indexing all of its content – long-tail questions included, not just SEO terms. You might not even have to do any specific search engine optimization if the question that you’re answering is not something that anybody else has any content for. If you just go in and type in fifty questions and fifty answers and you do that over time, you’re inevitably going to get traffic to your site. So just by having good content that not many other people have, your site will get ranked. Then once it’s ranked, and the all-knowing Google spirits deem you worthy of a spot in that top five or ten search results, that’s going get more and more traffic to your site.