Today, we’re going to uncover all the ins and outs of one of the most effective link-building strategies that really does the trick of getting you to the top. It’s called crowd marketing!
This strategy taps into the unlimited resource of forums and communities for building quality backlinks. According to Crowdo, only 2 percent of search engine optimization (SEO) specialists use it to rank higher in Google, and you can take advantage of that to spearhead the race.
What Is Crowd Marketing All About?
Crowd marketing is an SEO method that harnesses the power of forums and digital communities to build organic and relevant backlinks. Although it’s quite a time-consuming and often neglected method, it can jump-start your SEO campaign and give you a massive boost in Google rankings.
What Platforms Should You Use for Your Next Link Building Campaign?
Picking a relevant, clean and unspammed source for your crowd marketing campaign should be on the top of your list. Resources to consider are:
- Blog Commenting
Building links with blog comments is not worth the effort anymore. Most of them are poorly moderated or not moderated at all, which means they are a breeding ground for spammers. This makes blogs an unsuitable source for backlink-building purposes.
- Review websites
Review websites are trusted by most users and are a perfect opportunity to build a good reputation and raise your brand’s trustworthiness and awareness. However, they won’t get you very far in terms of link building, as those websites are limited in number and scope.
- Social Media and Q&A Websites
If your primary concern is driving traffic and shaping your brand visibility, then social platforms like Quora and Reddit should be your go-to. Yet, it should be noted that they don’t push the SERP needles that much. Therefore, if your top priority is ranking higher in Google Search, perhaps you should consider our next option.
- Niche-relevant forums/communities
Yep, we’ve got a winner – you can definitely hit the jackpot with these. Well-moderated, targeted forums are visited by thousands of people and thus filled with social interaction. These forums and communities are the treasure troves waiting to be tapped into, and backlinks from these platforms are capable of giving you a significant boost in Google ranking.
The Real Value of This SEO Strategy
Given that crowd marketing is largely unexplored, there’s a good chance that your competitors missed out on the sweet opportunity to cash in on a multitude of niche-relevant forums and communities brimming with the target audience.
Here are the perks you can get from a skillfully planned crowd marketing campaign:
- Create a strong and diversified backlink profile juiced up by the links from niche-relevant communities and forums
- Rank higher in search due to the regular influx of organic-looking links preferred by Google
- Increase brand awareness, gain exposure and shape brand trust, thanks to real user interaction
- Get a significant boost in traffic to your website that can lead to an increase in sales
How To Pick the Right Forums for a Backlink Campaign
Selecting a suitable forum for your backlink campaign is not rocket science, but it still requires some forethought. Here are the main points to consider:
1. Is It Relevant to Your Niche?
The forum you work with has to be relevant to your niche, which implies the forum itself and the topics discussed must revolve around the type of goods or services you offer. For instance, if you have a car dealership in Chicago, you need to focus on car-oriented forums, preferably local ones.
Links from a relevant resource carry more ranking juice and are better for both forum users and search engines alike. Remember: the more relevant the forum is to your niche, the “heftier” the backlink, which is your goal. Consider this hot-n-cold micro-guide:
A common thread on a common forum – Freezing! These are the threads where people exchange pleasantries. They pass no juice and consist of irrelevant chit-chat between users.
Topic-related thread on a common forum – Getting warmer! A backlink from a common forum will carry some SEO weight only if the subject of discussion in the thread matches your niche.
Topic-related thread on a niche-relevant forum – Hot! That’s an optimal choice you should be aiming for. In this case, the entire resource is relevant to your niche, not only the thread, which is why the backlink will pass enough juice to your website.
Regional forum (if your business is local) – Sizzling! These forums are hard to find because very few of them exist, but if you manage to discover this unicorn, you’ve hit the jackpot and will be rewarded with the juiciest link of them all.
2. Is It Properly Moderated?
Forum moderation implies the degree of self-promotion and spam forum admins allow and how thoroughly they review the content and comments in each thread.
The degree of forum moderation can be determined at a glance – just look through different threads and see how spammed they are, whether the discussions are riddled with links and how relevant the comments are to the topics of the threads.
The forums can have:
- Low to no moderation: These communities are usually filled with meaningless comments, an abundance of links to random websites and spam in general. Forums that aren’t taken care of at all should obviously be passed on.
- Mild moderation: You may come across a few shady comments, but link-wise, only relevant links are allowed. Forums with this type of moderation are preferable because they offer an optimal balance between quality and ease of link submission.
- High moderation: These forums allow no spam and handpick the comments in every thread. It’s incredibly hard to submit a link to any thread on forums like these, but they’ll definitely pass more juice if you pull it off.
3. Is It Popular?
First and foremost, if a digital community has hundreds of thousands of members, that usually means that its degree of content moderation is acceptable.
Moreover, Google favors backlinks from high-traffic websites as it considers them more trustworthy and valuable.
Lastly, the more traffic a website has, the more people can potentially land on your website and explore what you have to offer.
If you’re only dipping your toes in community marketing, forums with 30K+ monthly visitors would be a good start.
Keep in mind that even if the forum is uniquely relevant to your niche but has no traffic, it means it’s either riddled with spammers or inactive and using it for your forum marketing campaign will be a waste of time.
4. Are Its Metrics Up to Snuff?
Apart from relevance and popularity, you should take a look at the key metrics of the forum’s domain.
Usually, the better those figures, the more ranking weight a backlink from that domain will hold.
Here’s a rundown of the metrics you should analyze:
- DA/DR (domain authority/rating): This metric determines the strength of the domain. The higher this metric is, the higher the domain ranks in the search engines. Ideally, you should look for domains with 40+ DA.
- PA (page authority): This metric is evaluated just like DA, but instead of the entire domain, it focuses on a single page. It’s a perfect way of assessing whether a specific forum thread will be worth your while.
- TF (trust flow): If you want to check whether the resource you’re planning to use is trustworthy, TF is the benchmark you are looking for. The website with inbound links from reliable sources, like Wikipedia or educational resources, has a high TF rating and a higher ranking weight.
- CF (citation flow): This figure is based on the number of external links. It should be evaluated together with TF because it doesn’t indicate whether the page’s information is to be trusted. Yet, it’s handy for assessing the trendiness of the page.
Myth-busting: Dofollow or Nofollow Forum Links
Don’t be afraid if a lot of the forums you come across only allow nofollow links.
You’ve probably heard that nofollow links are useless, which is a widespread myth in SEO.
In reality, a sane balance of 50/50 dofollow and nofollow links is something you should aim for.
Google sees nofollow links as “hints,” thus, there may still be causality between nofollow links and higher SERP ranking.
How To Write Forum Comments Like a Pro
Now that you’re armed with extensive knowledge on choosing suitable web sources for link building, let’s dive right into learning how to fill them with engaging and qualitative content with backlinks.
- Use proper style, grammar, and slang: Make your comment as natural-looking as possible, check for grammar mistakes and use slang when it’s in line with the general feel of the thread. Look through all the comments and try to use the same style and slang the other forum members are using.
- Analyze the post details and general mood: The worst you can do is post the same text with the link everywhere. Your reply should be natural-looking and unique. It shouldn’t stand out from the rest of the replies. Attract unnecessary attention, and you’ll raise suspicions of the advertising intention. That’s why you absolutely must read the post carefully and make your reply is helpful to the author of the post and engaging for other users.
- Software for mass posting is a no-go: Do not use software for mass posting under any circumstances. It’s a sure way to be considered a spammer and get banned on the spot. Besides, it’s frowned upon and penalized by Google.
- Include the link naturally: The link to your website should look as natural and casually mentioned as possible with a suitable anchor text seamlessly inserted into the text. Clickbait and ad-like comments or comments with hidden backlinks will be deleted by forum admin and may even hurt your website rankings.
Forum Link Building: White Hat or Black Hat?
Crowd marketing aims to be an organic link-building approach, and if it’s well-implemented, the rewards are massive. A successful forum marketing campaign implies posting engaging and useful content that creates maximum impact for the reader, benefits the forum members and contains relevant backlinks to your website, seamlessly injected in the context.
Quality should be prioritized over quantity, thus spamming or using automatic software for posting replies is a “no-go.” These ugly practices are commonly referred to as black-hat SEO methods, and that’s not what we advocate here!
Search engines are smarter than ever, and trying to game the system without providing any value will just get your website penalized.
Crowd marketing can be time-consuming. It requires lots of work and dedication, but it can be a game-changer in your fight for higher Google rankings if you commit to it. You can undoubtedly work on it yourself if you have enough free time and resources on hand, but even SEO nerds prefer delegating this massive task to reliable link building services. Whether you choose to hire a freelancer or backlink providers, make sure you are not dealing with untrustworthy specialists making big promises and delivering poor results. Remember that suspiciously cheap services usually translate into a lack of proper research and use of bots/automated tools that will harm your website instead of giving it the desired SEO boost.