Using Online Forums and Discussion Boards to Increase Backlinks to Your Website

It is well known one of the most important techniques to increase rankings is backlinks. Google in fact started its ranking algorithm based on the number of other websites that have links to yours. If someone puts a link to your site, they are in fact approving or recommending your website in a way, and that’s how Google sees it. If your website has 5 links to it from other sites, compared to your competitor who has 1000, then your competitor clearly has a site worth linking to, and its rankings will reflect that.

This blog describes a great way to increase backlinks to your website without costing anything.

So How Can I Increase Backlinks to My Site?

There are many ways to do this, using other people’s websites as part of link exchanges, banner advertising programs, RSS Feeds, Blogs and a lot more. One of the most popular methods is on Forums or Discussion Boards.

The explosion of low cost hosting and forum systems like PHPBB3 means it is easy for anyone, anywhere to setup a forum about any topic, resulting in an explosion of forums online, each one targeting their own niche topic. Forums topics ranging from the popular like football, movies and computers to weird and niche topics like hats, the weather and spiders. Whatever your interest, there is a good chance a forum exists for you.

There are three good things about forums when it comes to backlinks to your website:-

  1. Most of them have a profile section where you can add a homepage URL. Not many people will see this, but search engines should, and that’s what matters for ranking
  2. Some of them allow signatures in your post footer, allowing links to your website to be added there too. In addition to search engines, more people will see your website links and possibly visit your site
  3. You may even be able to add links within the discussion post created, also meaning more visitors and search engines will visit your website.

Read The Rules

The key thing to making sure this works though is obey the forum rules… almost all forums have rules of use, which if broken could result in a ban. Some forums do not allow links in signatures or posts, and nearly all forums will certainly not allow spam, so make sure your post is relevant and topical to the forum discussion! Here are some tips in making forum acceptable posts:-

  1. Check the Forum Rules. Find out if the forum allows links in posts and your post footer.
  2. Check if your forum profile is public and allows a home page URL
  3. Choose a popular forum. The higher ranking the forum, the better Google thinks of it and the more visitors it will have.
  4. Choose a forum relevant to your website and business. This ensures other forum readers will read and join in your discussions.
  5. Raise topical, legitimate discussions. We all have something to learn and something to give, so use forums to ask questions and increase your knowledge, and answer other peoples questions to help them and build a good reputation.
  6. Do not spam! Never try to sell your products and services directly, people will ignore you and you may get banned and the post removed

How Do I Find These Forums?

  1. Have fun with Google. Just search for relevant topics to your business or website. For example, a recent customer of mine, a Personal Trainer, would search for the terms “fitness forum” which would result in a number of forums to join.
  2. For a few of the top forums, check out the rules and other forum posts to see if links can be added in the posts, signature or profile pages.
  3. Register on the forum using your name, username and website address you want to link to
  4. Read forum topics, find one you are interested in or know something about, and join in the discussion.
  5. Raise a question or discussion about a topic you are interested in

Watch Out for “No Follow” Forums

There is one issue to look out for, which I wont go into too much detail here, but some forums and other websites that allow people to add links will add the “relationship” attribute (rel) with a value of “nofollow”. This attribute will be in the code for the hyperlink and look like rel=”nofollow”. This is actually telling Google not to use the link as a factor for ranking. It was created by Google so their spiders would not follow links to spammers sites (in blog comments) that would influence rankings.

It is still worth adding a link to the website though, because Google can still visit the website and of course human traffic will stay play a part. There are forums that do not use this so look out for those.

When Do I Get Results?

There is no guarantee when it comes to search engine rankings so you may not actually see a benefit, not right away anyway. The problem this method is it is time consuming to build up a lot of links back to your site, so this needs to be considered a long term investment. But the good thing about that is you should be having fun along the way, it’s a social experience. Joining discussions, answering questions and learning from others is an excellent way to enhance your business reputation and knowledge anyway.

Other Websites to Submit Links

There are other websites and methods to submit links back to your website, such as:-

  • Commenting in Blogs
  • Article Submission Websites
  • Social Networking Websites