Looking to grow your website?
At a glance, forum backlinks seem like the easiest, most scalable way to build links to your website – all you have to do is make hundreds of forum accounts, post your link, and done!
This, however, begs an important question:
Do forum backlinks improve your SEO or are they a waste of time?
Find the answer below!
What Are Forum Backlinks?
Forum backlinks are links you get from a forum website. A forum backlink can be from your profile, user signature, or part of a comment. Such links can be both do-follow and no-follow, depending on the forum you’re posting on.
Do Forum Backlinks for SEO Work?
Practically speaking, no, forum links don’t work. Here’s why:
First off, most forum backlinks are no-follow links. This means that Google does not consider them signs of trust and they don’t help improve your website’s SEO.
Second, Google seriously devalues links from user-generated content websites. Google knows that just about anyone can publish a post with a link on forums or Reddit. So, even if the link is do-follow, it won’t count for much.
And lastly, Google’s very own John Mueller has stated time and again that forum backlinks simply don’t work.
That said, forum backlinks are not entirely bad. Some SEOs argue that forum backlinks come with some benefits, including:
- Natural backlink profile. For a website’s link profile to look natural, they need to have a mix of do-follow and no-follow backlinks.
- Traffic to your website. If the link is placed contextually, it might bring traffic to your website (and potentially some sales).
- Indirect backlinks. Someone from the forum might like the article you posted and link to it as a do-follow link from their blog.
The Verdict: While forum backlinks DO have some benefits, they’re not worth the time and effort it takes to build them. You’re a lot more likely to improve your rankings if you try the more conventional link-building methods (which we’ll cover a bit later in the article).
If you DON’T have the experience or time to build backlinks yourself, you can always try outsourcing it!
How Do I Get a Forum Backlink?
To create a forum backlink, simply pick a forum, create an account, add a link to your profile, and add another in your signature. Then, whenever someone on the forum talks about a topic that you have a blog post about, drop in, answer their questions, and link back to the post on your website.
Other Effective Ways to Build Links
So, if forum backlinks don’t work, what does?
Here are some effective link-building tactics we’ve used to build backlinks for our clients in the past year. These link-building tactics take time and resources, but they work like a charm!
- Blogger Outreach. Create a list of bloggers in your niche and reach out to them pitching your link. If you frame the email nicely enough, you’ll end up getting your do-follow backlink and even building a relationship with the blogger.
- Create Great Content. By publishing quality posts or resources, you’re a lot more likely to attract editorial backlinks.
- Sponsored Placement. This one’s very effective in certain niches. Simply reach out and ask for a sponsored link or guest post placement! Small part-time bloggers are very likely to agree to such offers.
- Guest Posting. Pitch other blogs and media with a post that matches their content guidelines. Guest posting is hard to scale but it can be very effective.
- Three-Way Link Exchange. Partner up with other bloggers and exchange links indirectly. Site A links to Site B, Site B links to Site C, and Site C links back to Site A.
If you’re using such white hat link-building tactics, then there’s basically no limit on how many links you can build per month, and you can push your SEO efforts as hard as you want!
What Other Link-Building Tactics DON’T Work?
There are a lot of outdated link-building tactics that just don’t work anymore. Here’s a short list:
- Web 2.0 Link-Building. Basically links from sites like Medium where you can publish posts freely.
- Blog Commenting for SEO. Commenting on other blogs and linking to your own.
- Using Link Farms to Build Backlinks. Buying links from sketchy websites that cover a dozen+ niches. Learn how to avoid these by reading our guide to analyzing backlink quality.
- Buying Backlinks from Fiverr. Most link-builders on Fiverr are super sketchy and tend to sell links that just don’t work.
Are you a startup with a limited link-building budget? Check our guide to link-building for startups!
And that’s the gist!
Before you go, here’s a quick summary of what we learned in this article:
- Forum backlinks don’t help with your website’s SEO almost at all.
- Most forum backlinks are no-follow, which means they don’t carry any SEO juice.
- That said, forum backlinks do have some benefits. They can get you some traffic, conversions, and indirect backlinks.
- Want to scale your website’s traffic? Stick to more conventional link-building techniques such as blogger outreach, sponsored placements, guest posting, and more.