An internet forum is a place where people can exchange ideas on topics of interest. Its members can post discussions and read and reply to messages written by other participants. A forum can focus on various topics and often develops a sense of virtual community among its members.
Forums are also known as a bulletin board or discussion group, differing from a blog because a user or web administrator usually writes the latter and generally only allows responses from other users regarding blog material. A forum usually allows all members to post and start new topics.
An Internet forum is not the same as a chat room, as members in a chat room communicate at the same time, while members of a discussion group post messages that will be read later by other users each time they log in. Also, forums tend to be more focused on a specific topic than chat rooms.
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As a general rule, the prospective member must register before they can join a group and write a message. This user must follow specific online rules, known as netiquette, such as treating other members with respect and refraining from using bad language. When the administrator or moderator accepts a member, they generally choose their username and password. An avatar, photograph, or image supplied by the member usually appears next to the username in each message.
Conversations in a forum are called threads and consist of messages written by members. Typically, users can edit their messages, start new topics, and edit their profiles. A general profile shows optional information about each member of the forum, such as the city where they are and their interests.
The forum administrator or moderator can also participate in the threads. An administrator can modify the discussions, move or delete them if necessary; usually, its function is to supervise and guide the discussion to make sure that the rules of the forum getting followed.
Although the forums have lost part of their popularity due to the irruption of social networks, which also allow them to establish discussions and resolve doubts through tags or hashtags, there are forums in Spanish that continue to enjoy great popularity. Among them we can highlight:
Most of these discussion groups, even those with the most significant number of participants, retain a rudimentary design and very far from new trends on the internet. Various tools allow you to create forums without excessive complications.
Forums were a fundamental part of the positioning strategy until the arrival of Google’s “penguin update” in 2011. Until then, they were used to include links in both posts and user signatures. However, after the said change in the algorithm, numerous websites that positioned themselves through these practices suffered severe penalties in their positioning. There is still a discrepancy in the role that forums must play today in SEO strategies, but there is a consensus that they can no longer use it as a single strategy, but, in any case, complementary to others within link building.
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