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 a particular type of backlinks that are generated on profiles that you create on various Forum sites. You can find forum backlinks 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 This is one of the easiest but worst and most outdated methods of link building.
Are Forum Backlinks Good for SEO; Is There a Correlation?
In simple terms, yes and no.
Let’s Start with the “Yes” Part!
Backlinks from discussion boards may not always improve your search engine rankings. In fact, if you push it too far, your SEO efforts can suffer. How so?
Link spam is when you force your links in front of everyone in the community. Unfortunately, Google disapproves of such and may impose fines.
So how do backlinks from forums benefit SEO?
People will look you up if you assist community members with solutions that are supported by experience and practicality.
The best aspect is that forum users will freely cite you on their websites and link back to your sites if you make original contributions to forum conversations. That is enduring, and Google adores it.
Let’s now discuss the “No” part!
Most of the forum backlinks are nofollow, which means that link juice is not passed on from them and that Google’s search crawlers disregard them.
This is so that website owners may avoid attracting spammers and black hat link builders by not giving dofollow backlinks. Despite this, certain online forums include dofollow links, which search engine crawlers will follow and increase the authority of your website.
Here is How To Check if a Forum Link is nofollow or dofollow!
- Go to the website
- Right-click on the anchor text.
- Select “Inspect” from the drop-down option.
- Check the “rel” tag.
- Lookout for “dofollow” or “nofollow” tags.
If you see the above-mentioned sign, the forum provides nofollow links. If you don’t, it offers dofollow links.
Keep in mind that it’s not likely that these dofollow links will have much of an SEO impact. This is because Google’s algorithm will very likely be able to recognize and disregard them.
Non-SEO Benefits of Forum Backlinks
Although forum backlinks may not improve your SEO rankings, they might still be beneficial to your “overall” digital marketing tactics.
These benefits are based on the fact that a forum link to your website exposes your content to a specific audience. The same is true for all kinds of pillow connections; they provide several non-SEO advantages as well.
Here are some of the benefits!
a. Increased brand awareness
Forum backlinks may not draw as much traffic as ranking “no 1” in search results. However, it is essential for promoting your business because it raises awareness.
In an online forum, you can present your brand to the community by including a link to it. Because of this exposure, more individuals will find your website.
When people click on the link, you’ll see an increase in targeted traffic to your website. As individuals grow comfortable with your brand name, they could decide to visit your website directly.
b. More Customers
Forum postings may be used to increase client growth. If you refer readers to your website when you write blogs on your e-commerce store, course, SaaS product, or service, you may see purchases.
All you have to do is look for forum sites where users are interested in your goods. Then, to promote it, you might participate in pertinent community conversations.
c. More Newsletter Subscriptions
Using forums to promote email signups can be successful. Answering forum queries while quietly promoting your newsletter is the key.
This article on Indie Hackers describes how the author’s use of Quora as part of a strategy to gain 120,000 email subscribers.
Sam Parr, the creator of a business weekly with over 2 million subscribers, has acknowledged that Reddit connections fueled the initial development of his subscriber base.
d. Increase Brand Authority
You may increase the authority of your brand by participating in online forums or communities. People will begin to regard you as an authority in your industry if you continuously contribute value to conversations.
This may increase awareness of the brand, which might then result in more consumers, website views, and backlinks.
In 2023, Can Forum Backlinks Make You Rank Better on Google or any other search engine?
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 page 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.
- 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.
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 or buying links for SEO gains 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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Shahid Shahmiri is a digital marketer who helps online businesses grow with smart marketing tactics to improve sales and leads. He is passionate and driven to grow businesses online and is responsible for analyzing marketing, SEO, growth and managing promotional and media channels.