IN THIS CHAPTER
The value of communities
Leveraging communities for SEO
Choosing the right type of community
Proper care and feeding of communities
Perform a search on just about any search engine and somewhere in the results you're likely to find a community discussion of some kind. If the search you do is broad in nature, then the community will probably show up deeper in the results. If it's specific in nature, then it's very possible a community might be the first web page that comes up in the search. That's because communities often provide answers to very specific questions, or information about very specific concepts.
Communities have been around as long as the Web. In fact, the first web sites were actually communities that enabled people to share information globally. It was faster (and more effective) than faxing information around the world, and it enabled the rapid transmission of knowledge and experience with others.
Those early communities didn't necessarily share a lot of the aspects that communities these days do. There were none of the slick interfaces that you see today. You couldn't add avatars (those nifty little pictures that you see next to everyone's name in your favorite community). Moreover, the communities were used as a method of communication among very specific groups of people, such as engineers and scholars.
It didn't take long, however, for the community aspect of the Web to take off. We all want to add our two ...