Are Forum Backlinks Worth Your Time?

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    • Are Forum Backlinks Worth Your Time?

      In the cutthroat world of search engine optimization, generating backlinks using forums is often regarded as an ineffectual waste of time. Many forums automatically set all links to 'nofollow', so your efforts won't yield any SEO juice. However, even nofollow forums can prove valuable if you play your cards right.

      For forums that allow dofollow links, perhaps the most obvious benefit is that every link you build will help to boost your site's search engine rankings. These backlinks may not have as much clout behind them as those from a high-ranking, well-established website would, but every link helps. If nothing else, using forums will help to diversify your backlink profile, which will make it look more natural - exactly what Google and the other search engines are increasingly trying to promote.

      Including a link in your forum profile is another way to gain an extra backlink for very little effort. Don't join hundreds of forums on every topic imaginable just to create these free and easy links, but doing so on relevant forums that you intend to make a larger part of your backlinking campaign certainly shouldn't hurt.

      Many people aren't willing to put in the time to build backlinks on forums because they tend to overlook one significant point - forums are essentially a free platform for highly targeted advertising. Fortunately, this is true regardless of whether or not the forum allows dofollow links.

      Finding an online forum that fits your particular niche isn't difficult - the Internet is a sufficiently large place that a relevant forum is virtually guaranteed to exist. When you find a suitable forum, you can be confident that it will be populated by a large group of active and engaged regular visitors, all of whom will be passionate about your chosen area.

      Even if the links you build on these forums won't do anything for you from an SEO perspective, you can rest assured that they will drive targeted traffic to your website. As this is the aim of good search engine optimization anyway, you're not losing out on anything here.

      With a new and eager target audience in your sights, it can be very tempting to create endless self-serving threads and to write hundreds of posts guiding people towards your site, but this isn't actually a very good idea. Self-promotion is frowned upon in most online communities and won't go unnoticed, but luckily there are a few tricks that will help you to make the most of this golden opportunity.

      The number one rule is to never spam. Ever. Spamming only annoys the people you want to win over and it certainly won't drive any traffic to your site. Too much spamming is also likely to harm your search engine rankings rather than boost them, and you might well end up being banned from various forums as well.

      Never throw links around on irrelevant forums where they definitely won't be wanted, and always make sure you contribute something of value to the discussion every time you post.

      If you keep acting like a positive member of the forum community for an extended period of time, you'll gradually build up a good reputation. People will come to trust you as a valuable source of information and they'll be more likely to click on your links as you become better known.

      Achieving this respected status requires a certain level of genuineness. If you seem like just another person peddling their own product and plugging their own site, you'll never enjoy a positive reputation and you'll never reap the accompanying rewards.

      To ensure that you appear genuine, it's worth not including a link in everything you write. If whatever you're tempted to link to won't help the person you're responding to, or if it isn't really relevant, then leaving it out is the best option almost every single time. Rest assured that these link-free posts aren't wasted - they're very important for building a good reputation.

      A final tip for dofollow forums is to vary your anchor text. If your anchor text is always the same, then your backlink profile might begin to look suspicious, as if it were generated by a computer program rather than by actual people linking to your site. The large search engines probably penalize this, although the ranking algorithms are such a closely guarded secret that it's impossible to know for sure.

      The key to using forum backlinks successfully is to always imagine yourself in the position of a regular forum user. What do they want to see? More importantly, what do they not want to see? If you keep this mindset at all times, the rewards can be huge - you'll drive actively interested, targeted traffic to your website and quite possibly get some valuable SEO juice at the same time. What's not to like?

      Written for Admin-Hub by S. Coppard