“Google only loves you when everyone else loves you first.” True as it is, it does help to consider SEO in your toolset. For successful service communities, organic Google searches are responsible for the biggest share of traffic sources for new visitors, averaging on 65% with peaks up to 88%. This shows how effective SEO has been for many, and how there’s a lot to gain for you. Let's share some tips.
Top content should be sticky
More often than not, your customers are the real experts. Many of the topics and answers they create are of high practical value, and should be easily discoverable. You can help your users, and Google, achieving this by ensuring that your community content is sticky. Literally, you could keep selected content on top in their categories by turning it on. Posting sticky FAQ's also works, which provide links to answers otherwise scattered across your community. Using such index topics ensures top content will never get buried over time. And by cleverly rephrasing posted questions, you will enable Google to gain more insight and recall these links more often.
Hacking the Google Search Console
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, this tool can be used to add and verify your community using Google Analytics. It will disclose many resources, such as your index status, crawl stats and content keywords. This will help you learn a great deal about your community’s strengths and weaknesses. A nice trick is to submit a sitemap using your community RSS feed, using "/feed/topics" on your community, which provides a valid and real-time XML sitemap feed of all recent topics. By doing this, you will give Google a competitive advantage with fresh content, which it can index faster.
Use tags for vertical indexing
The hierarchy of categories and subforums is well equipped to provide structure to visitors. However, it is limited in the sense that it will only categorize content on, for example, your company’s services. By using public tags, you can gather topics into additional sets and define so-called ‘vertical’ categories. By, for instance, grouping all WiFi-related problems together, you can create new paths for Google to follow. This will easily strengthen your content’s worth, predictability and usability.
Take a deep dive with inSided
To get even more out of your community SEO, request the latest versions of the free inSided SEO whitepapers, including a Technical Reference and a Strategical Optimization Guide.