Forum Link Building – What Not to Do

  • September 23, 2022
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It’s easy to spot a novice SEO out and about forum link building. As easy as spotting a bride on the way to church. These are people who want to get into the Search Engine Optimisation industry but only have half the knowledge – if that.

The story usually goes that person X wakes up one morning and decides to become an SEO expert. Surf the internet reveals few tips which all seem to be similar – SEO people do link building for their clients and forums are a great place to do this. So it is that another “Search Engine Optimisation Guru” is born.

A scrabble around to find the first client and then it’s off to the forums for a daily routine of link building. A few months down the line, nothing is working and they are wondering why not. Their client is wondering why they ever parted with hard cash.

So what goes wrong?

How does forum link building work

First the basics. Search engine crawlers like pages with lots of original content that follow a particular theme because they can be clearly indexed with confidence. Good content also attracts natural links from others which then ranks the page even higher.

A good conversation can rise to the top of search results which means any link within the page also carries a great deal of weight. This is what attracts link building in forums.

Search engine optimisers are either trying to get a back link into their comment or by using a ‘signature’ – a short line displayed after each comment they make and where they are allowed to place links – usually between two and four.

How to do forum link building properly

Here is what to avoid:

Short content – if you make a short reply on a forum you do not contribute to a text rich page with original content and that is what the search engines are after. A classic example I see every day is the forum question “I want to be an SEO expert, any tips?” which is followed by a reply “You need to do link building, forums are good”. Short answers like these won’t help the page achieve a strong ranking in the future because there is little original content so links from it will be of little value.

Duplicate content – in order to get a link in many SEO novices will quote another comment in its entirety and then say something like “I totally agree with this”. By doing so they have created duplicate content on the page (which crawlers don’t like) and so devalued their link anyway.

Non-themed links – the links in a signature should be relevant to the theme of the discussion. If the forum thread is about search engine optimisation and the links in your signature are for “gum boots” and “organic fruit juice” you are on a road to nowhere. Not only are your links going to be discounted, you are also devaluing the potential strength of the page.

How search engine crawlers read a forum page

Let’s put that altogether to understand how poor forum link building fails. Now imagine a search engine crawler or robot coming to an SEO forum page. Here is how it thinks:

  • Ooh! Lovely page about search engine optimisation
  • Hmm. Not much text but I definitely understand the theme
  • Oh! A link to “gum boots” and one to “organic fruit juice”. That’s nothing to do with the conversation – looks a bit spammy to me, I’ll ignore those links but I’m now also suspicious about this page
  • What’s this? Some duplicate content? I’m getting very suspicious now
  • Well I’ll put this in my index at position 40,000,000 for the search phrase “SEO”

In summary forum link building can carry great weight in search engine optimisation but not when it’s carried out by a novice.


Source by Tim H. Hill

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