Will Forum Links Still Help Increase Your Site’s Rankings GT blog title graphic

While some users out there claim that forum links do work, Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says they don’t.

Three times, in the last 6 years, he has mentioned that forum links do not work for SEO. He said this in 2014, 2018, and most recently in a 2021 response in this Reddit thread.

So let’s talk about forum links – what are they and why are they mostly bad?

What Is A Forum Site?

A forum site refers to a public online space where people can hold conversations and discussions through posted messages. It provides a place for questions and answers and to prevent inappropriate content, it may be monitored every so often.

Reddit and Quora are examples of forum sites. Categories and subtopics are used on the sites so that users with specific questions or discussions in particular areas can go to a like-minded and knowledgeable crowd.

What Are Forum Links?

Links you receive from Forum sites are forum backlinks. It doesn’t have to be dropped in a post, it could also be in a user’s signature or on a profile page.

A good forum link will help drive traffic to your website and it will improve your site’s domain authority. Of course, not all links are good links.

Which Forum Links Are Good?

There are two types of forum links: dofollow and nofollow. The HTML codes either include the “nofollow” attribute or they don’t.

Dofollow links are the best types of forum links you can have.

If the “nofollow” is not present in the HTML code, it tells search engines to pass authority from the linking page to the linked page. So authority is passed from the forum to your website. “Nofollow” codes are the opposite.

Because there is no such thing as a “dofollow” attribute in HTML codes, they’re often considered non-existent. (These are just regularly approved backlinks that follow guidelines – they don’t have to be specified as “dofollow”.)

The most common use for nofollow links is when you don’t want to endorse a page. If you’re quoting a site that is, for example, inappropriate for all audiences, you might use a nofollow attribute. This just informs Google that you’re not interested in endorsing this site.

Is It Worth Having Forum Backlinks?

Not really.

If you are to have forum backlinks, it is recommended that you have a balance of both nofollow and dofollow links. Even though they won’t help with SEO ranking, having a mixture of both appears more natural.

However, having a mixture of both means that you need to have nofollow links. Links that don’t pass any authority and are mostly used for spam purposes. They don’t offer any SEO value and, in most cases, are ignored.

But at the same time, you couldn’t only have dofollow links if you wanted. Though these links are good, having only these links is suspicious to Google. It can appear as though your links are not natural and therefore manipulating PageRank’s algorithm.

Overall its best to just avoid having any links from forums. Stick to white hat SEO link building – build links that do not violate Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.

High-quality links have the most authority and provide the most value to your site.

Earning backlinks naturally through white-hat techniques are ‘future-proof’. They’ll always be beneficial and are unlikely to ever go against the guidelines if they changed.

Get In Touch

GrowTraffic is a multi-award-winning agency, specialising in SEO and digital marketing.

If you’re interested in starting or improving SEO on your website, then contact us!

You can call on 0161 706 0012, email [email protected] or fill out our contact form.

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