SEO smackdown: Blogs vs Forums
Content is King! Of that there can be no doubt. But this axiom makes no reference to what type of content is good, or how best to create that content. These two things are left for us to decide on.
Conventional wisdom dictates that a blog is the best way to build up a decent body of highly engaging, relevant and SEO enhanced content, over time. This is certainly true and blogs have proven their worth time and time again.
However, like any marketing method, blogging has pros and cons. In fact, the vast majority of bloggers who start a blog end up quieting. In addition, many blogs that start up are nothing more than thinly veiled spam with no real value. So while blogs are useful and can drive traffic and revenue, they also:
- require skill and practice
- require knowledge of SEO
- are labor intensive
- grow relatively slowly
- require constant innovation and imagination
- are commonplace and highly competitive
On the other hand, maintaining a forum addresses many of these problems because the responsibility for generating new content falls to your readership or community. As people ask questions, start debates and argue with each other, they build up a body of highly focused content that has great SEO benefits.
The problem with forums is that they:
- rely on an active community
- require regular and persistent moderation
- produce content that is not necessarily SEO enhanced
So while your forum might be on topic and generating content in that subject area, the debates are not necessarily laden with juicy SEO keywords and keyphrases. Posters may use foul or abusive language, which can be tiresome to moderate, or may simply not post anything at all.
In effect, we can view a blog as an SEO scalpel. A precise SEO tool for creating focused, highly engaging and relevant content - in small amounts. Whereas a forum can be viewed as an SEO broadsword. An implement for producing large amounts of vaguely niche oriented content.
For my money, I wouldn't consider giving up a blog in favor of a forum. However, if you have a small, but active readership for your blog then setting up a forum might well be the catalyst that really shoots your website to the top of the SERPS (Search Engine Results Pages) and starts bringing in lots of traffic and revenue.
Of course, forums require the use of a good CMS, or a good developer to advise and implement a proper forum. You might find, for example, that a hosted Wordpress blog is not sufficient for your requirements.
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