Forum Backlinks: What Are They And Do They Hurt SEO 

Forum Backlink

A backlink is a reference to a web page where the owner and/or visitors provide a link to your content on his or her website. That’s basically it!

A website or a web page can be a web resource. The number, relevance, and quality of backlinks for a web resource help search engines like Google to evaluate the importance of that web resource. Google analyzes the web pages based on PageRank to prioritize the order of web pages in SERPs.

Forum backlinks are the links that you can find on forums, such as Reddit, Quora, Stack Exchange, etc. It was a very popular practice to build links on communities and forums. A forum backlink can be updated on your user profile or it could be your signature else it can be a comment or reply on a Forum post. Usually, spammers create a user profile to join a web forum and then add a link to their profile. This is one of the easiest but worst and most outdated methods of link building.

Forum Backlinks

The answer is No! Let’s find out why:

  • Getting backlinks from forums is an illicit practice that violates Google’s Quality guidelines. Google has set strict Webmaster guidelines which can remove a site permanently from the Google index due to the spam no-follow links that a web page gets from forums. The basic idea is to make your web pages content useful and unique for users instead of focusing on how search engines can evaluate your page rank.
  • According to John Mueller, the Senior Trends Master Web Analyst at Google, ‘Dropping links in forums for SEO purposes won’t help you rank better in Google. He also states that the quantity of backlinks is of no significance to google’s search algorithm but what matters is the quality of the links. A good quality link from a genuine source is much better than millions of poor-quality links.
Forum Sites
  • Google’s algorithm is easily able to recognize the forum profile links and they have zero ranking benefit. Forum profile links are user-generated content links and Google’s algorithm can automatically scan your web page for spammy forum links and ignore them, hence causing a bad reputation for your site.
  • With the increasing popularity of blogs, comment spam increased too and spammers would comment on these blogs and leave a link to their site in the comment section of the blogs. In this way, the spammy sites ranked well and the good quality sites went out of SERPs. Google introduced a way to encounter blog comment spam in 2005 called the ‘no-follow ‘ tag. Bing and Yahoo later adopted the same ‘no-follow tag’.Usually, the forum profile links are ‘no-follow’ links so it is best to avoid them because they have zero impact on SEO.
  • Forum links are black hat, black hat SEO is an approach that goes against search engine rules and regulations. Black hat SEO manipulates Google’s algorithm to reach the highest rank in the SERPs. It includes keyword stuffing, cloaking, and using private link networks. Black hat techniques will damage your webpage to such a great extent that you may never recover. The algorithm of Google is very intricate and has broadened over time. In order to avoid the penalty by Google, it’s better to use a white hat link building SEO approach. White hat’s SEO approach emphasizes good quality content and is a user-friendly method of SEO. In the long run, a white hat SEO approach is best to get a higher rank on Google.
  • Most forum links are spammed by substandard websites like casinos, gambling, etc. If you associate your website with these websites then this can result in a bad link neighbourhood. Also, that will have a very negative impact on your website and Google considers it as guilty by association. So in order to avoid a bad link neighbourhood, always use a relevant and acceptable SEO approach for link building.
  • Google introduced the Penguin algorithm in April 2012 in order to reduce and punish spammy backlinks. The release of Penguin had a great impact on the SEO industry, especially link building. Before the Penguin algorithm, spammy backlinks were common and low-quality sites ranked higher than good-quality sites. Forum backlinks could be manipulated by users for their SEO reputation. After the Penguin algorithm, spammy links are easily caught by search engines. So it is better to avoid the forum profile links and stick to google’s webmaster guidelines. Use a white hat SEO method to get the most traffic from Google to your website. Thousands of irrelevant forum links are no longer effective in link building.

Conclusion:

Link building from forums is an old and underrated SEO practice. As an SEO, it is better that you should avoid this practice. Getting backlinks from various forum sites is an unethical black-hat SEO practice. It can land you a Google penalty which can lose all the traffic from your website. Also, get your rank to zero. Forum backlinks are spammy and they give your website a bad link neighbourhood which eventually leads to a bad reputation. Always use a white hat approach for link building, it helps a lot in the long run instead of spammy forum backlinks!

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