I had someone who was reading my previous entries in my Learning SEO series ask about using forums to learn SEO. I promised that I would write a post about the value of forums in learning SEO.
Back in 1998 I became a moderator of a couple of forums on small business and website promotion on Yahoo Groups. Those lead to me becoming a moderator at Cre8asiteforums, joining forum owner Kim Krause Berg along with a number of other moderators such as Ammon Johns and Jill Whalen.
Cre8asiteforums was (and still is) a tremendous place to talk about SEO and web design and usability and accessibility. One of my favorite individual forums on the site was one called The Website Hospital, where people would bring their site’s URL and concerns about it, and ask questions. That was were I learned a lot about auditing sites, and seeing what worked well on them, and what might need some help. This thread is a good introduction to it: Getting Started in the Website Hospital.
Here’s a thread I started in November of 2005 that was an interesting read, on SEO Myths.
Another forum that I have gotten a lot of value from over the years is one call Webmasterworld. Most of the members of this forum are practicing SEOs or siteowners, who enjoy sharing their experiences. It reminds me of a weather vane, in that people are often open with information about changes that they experience to rankings and traffic to their sites. You can see changes taking place on the Web from what they write.
Another place that can be informative about how search works is the Google Webmaster Help Forum. If you experience problems with a site, it is often a good place to search to see if anyone else has experienced something similar – it is possible that someone has, and the answers they received may help you as well.
There are other forums on the Web that focus upon SEO and Search. I’ve included the ones that I am most familiar with. There were some others that I participated on, that aren’t very active anymore. It doesn’t hurt to start off as a lurker, and learn about the customs and culture of a forum before you start participating in it. You may find some that you enjoy participating in very much.
When I started going to conferences and events after being involved in forums for a few years, I finally had a chance to meet in real life many people whom I had only met in discussions at forums. It was nice getting a chance to do so.
You can learn a lot through forums.