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Search Engine Forums: SEO Forums Reviewed

December 2003

There is a ton of information about search engines on the web. Multiple times people have stated the fact that the value of a search engine is inversely proportional to the amount of knowledge people have on how to manipulate its results.

Search engines do not really have a product, just one secret algorithm that many people use to feed their families. For this reason these algorithms are protected with greater security than many government secrets.

On the web there are tons of experts who are ready to guide you into taking their expert advice. Some of the experts are not really experts though. By reaching out into communities you can get multiple versions of the truth before you have to change the oil or buy a new motor from a blown gasket.

Keep in mind that I am just another one of these individuals so this is just MY review of SEO forums.

The Biggest SEO Forums

A larger forum allows greater dissemination of knowledge. The problem is that with really large forums many "clueless experts" may pop up without sufficient monitoring...thus its hard to trust some of the information.

Webmaster World is hands down the largest webmaster forum

pros:

  • many official representatives of search engines (especially Google) make posts here
  • tons of information with many different perspectives

cons:

  • many of the official statements made by workers from search engines only reflect the ideals of the search engines and not reality
  • lots of misinformation floating around
  • many people believe the information is biased to promote Google

JimWorld - I believe is the second largest forum which does not have quite the plublicity...I also think it typically has slightly greater control of posts.

SEO specific Forums

HighRankings - this is my favorite forum of the "SEO in crowd". Jill runs a tight ship and keeps posts relevant. Lots of quick answers and good information going around here.

pros:

  • many of the top SEO and search engine gurus in the world occasionally post there (Danny Sullivan, Andrew Goodman...)
  • extremely responsive
  • not much misinformation floating around
  • fun feel about it

cons:

  • many of the people who post are SEOs. thus much of the information is through the eyes of an SEO. sometimes this could lead to information consistently being driven in and viewed from a perspective not shared by the average web surfer.

I view Cre8asite and IHelpYou on a similar plain as HighRankings I think because HighRankings is the newest and was well timed in relation to the growth of SEO as a business is why I like it more - I have been reading way too many marketing books to come up with this conclusion:-( All three are solid resources though.

SearchGUILD - Chris Ridings SEO forum. The nice thing about his forum is that he (like I) is completely independent of any large firms or corporations. I took it as a great compliment when another SEO blog referred to he and I in the same light.

"Yawn, yet another SEO geek writing about SEO news, http://www.search-marketing.info/blog/blogger.html.

However, this one should be on your list to visit... at first look, it's pretty good, like what ChriSEO offers (no relation or connection)." - NeilsenTech Blog

pros

  • Chris and crew frequently come up with their own compelling theories on the whats and whys of search engine news
  • is independent of large firms and corporate America
  • lots of technical know how (for example Chris made a bot to surf DMOZ listed sites to make a data resource)
  • has an extremely friendly feel about it
  • not much misinformation floating around

cons

  • feedback loop is sometimes not quite as quick as with HighRankings (though it is still rather quick)

SEO Discussion Lists

ISearch Discussion List - this may sound entirely too promotional, but this is one of those rare resources that charges which is actually worth the price. Occasionally I contribute to this list, but in all honesty I look forward to reading each and every one that comes! (especially those which have occurred since the Google algorithm change of November 16)

pros:

  • tightly moderated (by Andrew Goodman)
  • lots of cross members which post information from other perspectives
  • many of the worlds greatest SEO, search engine, and internet experts post here

cons:

  • since it is a discussion lists feedback can take a week
  • it costs (right now its $119 I believe)

Google Groups (search engines) (Google) - I actually typically go there to answer questions more than to learn. Due to not being moderated a bunch of misinformation can sneak in.

Other SEO Forums

V7N - forum primarily focused on the power of the link.

Make Me Top SEO Forum - UK biased Forum. very small, but Barry Lloyd is an extremely reputable SEO.

Resource Zone - DMOZ specific forum where you can ask editors questions. Typically people are more likely to be complaining than saying nice stuff...but that is just about all I hear from most who visit this site. "Editor XYZ has a power trip..."

I may also be somewhat biased since DMOZ has listed many single page and few page sites of mine, but seems stuck on the idea that this site you are reading is not worth listing.

I do have some spelling errors and broken links I am trying to fix, but this site is way better than many of those listed in many of the categories this site could potentially list in.

SEOchat - was extremely promising when Darin Ward owned it, but it has fallen back a bit since it was purchased and commercialized by the owner of DevShed.

Sitepoint - is now more of a technical web design issues forum

Spider Food SEO Forums - another smaller forum which I rarely visit.

Top25Web - small and new, but quickly responsive. many of the posters at this site are more of the Blog community than SEO community

WebProWorld - though not as large as Webmaster World or JimWorld this appears to have a similar mix in user base and information (relying heavily on pier to pier communication and not being so heavily SEO focused.)

My Favorite SEO Forums

Just to clarify I am completely independent and these are my favorite forums (in no particular order)

Clarification

I have not dealt much with European or Asian specific search engines and do not know much about their algorithms. In addition I probably stepped on a few peoples feet or left a few sites out. If you feel you got snubbed feel free to tell me.

SEO Forum Article Update (May 2004, Aug 2004, October 2004)

I am now a moderator at SearchGuild, V7N, SEO Zip, SEO Guy & Lil Engine. On my blog I have a more comprehensive list of SEO forums, as well as more up to date reviews.

- by Aaron Wall, owner of Search Marketing Info

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