I had someone who was reading my previous entries in my Learning SEO series ask about using forums to learn SEO. I promised I would write a article 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 in Cre8asiteforums, linking forum owner Kim Krause Berg together with a range of other moderators like Ammon Johns and Jill Whalen.
Cre8asiteforums was (and still is) a tremendous place to talk about SEO and web design and accessibility and usability. One of my favourite individual forums on the website was one called The Website Hospital, where people could bring their site’s URL and concerns about it, and ask questions. That was were I learned a lot about auditing websites, 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 is a thread I started in November of 2005 which was an interesting read, on SEO Myths.
Another forum I have gotten plenty of value from over the years is 1 telephone Webmasterworld. The majority 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 individuals are often open with information about changes that they encounter to rankings and traffic to their websites. You can see changes taking place online from what they write.
Another place which can be informative about how search works is the Google Webmaster Help Forum. If you encounter problems with a website, it’s often a good place to search to see if anyone else has experienced something similar — it’s possible that somebody has, and the answers they received may help you also.
There are other forums online that concentrate upon SEO and Search. I’ve included the ones that I am most familiar with. There were some others that I participated on, that are not very active anymore. It will not hurt to start off as a lurker, and learn about the culture and customs 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 events and conventions after being involved in forums for a couple of years, I finally had an opportunity to meet in real life many folks whom I had just met in discussions in forums. It was nice getting a chance to do so.
You can learn a lot through forums.