Do Forum Backlinks Hurt Your SEO?

In any link building effort, there are many ways to create backlinks. Creating backlinks from forums is also a viable strategy. However, it can be against Google’s policy and algorithms. With this in mind, the question becomes if forum backlinks hurt your SEO? To answer and understand this question you must first understand forum backlinks and how they work. You can get professional link building help from Link Department but you should understand their place in link building strategies yourself.

Backlink building

Link building is the process of creating backlinks to your website. It is aimed at creating a better ranking with search engines and being more visible online. Simply creating a website and managing on-page SEO is not enough for its success. A lot of effort, work, and money go into off-page SEO activities and especially link building that is at its core. This activity should direct more and better quality traffic to your website. The more inbound links you create the better its visibility and ranking in search engine results. The higher the rank the more traffic you can have and the profits you can make.

Link building sign
Part of every link building effort is the creation of forum backlinks

However, link building is not that simple. Google algorithms are now equipped and prepared to recognize any attempt of artificially creating backlinks. So, any manipulation can have consequences and penalties issued by Google. So, it’s important to manage both the quality and quantity of backlinks without drawing unwanted attention from Google. Finding relevant and reputable sources for backlinks here is important. One of these sources can be forums and backlinks generated from them. But, how do they affect your SEO, and do forum backlinks hurt your SEO effort?

Forums and forum backlinks

It seems that forums today are not as vibrant as they used to be. However, they are still a great way to get backlinks from. Any link you get from a forum is a forum backlink. These are usually high-quality backlinks. However, forums and your active participation in them can serve a higher purpose and add a lot to your SEO.

  • First, they drive quality, targeted traffic to your website. Forums have hundreds of members that are your target audience. So, a backlink for a forum will drive potential customers to your webpage.
  • Secondly, they can allow you to establish working relations with influencers in the field. This opens the door for further backlink creation and business development.

They can be distinguished into three categories:

  • Profile links
  • Signature links
  • Post or thread links

Profile links

The links are set in your Forum profile. If done right this profile link building can provide value to your SEO.

Forum community sign
Forum backlinks of all types can significantly contribute to your SEO

Signature links

Forums allow you to have a signature when you are posting. So in this way every time you post you get a backlink to your website. However, these links all have the same basic URL which can be registered by Google. It may conclude that it is a black hat SEO practice and issue a penalty.

Post or thread links

These links you can put into a forum discussion. They work best when they are used to explain or illustrate the point you are making and are relevant for the discussion. Although these are usually moderated you can use them when link building.

So, it’s clear that forums are still a viable way to get backlinks. With proper care and investment of time and effort, they can provide a considerable push to your SEO effort. However, building backlinks from them can prove to be a waste of time and money if not done correctly.

How do forum backlinks hurt your SEO?

All of the efforts that go into building these backlinks can prove to be a waste. This does not mean that forum backlinks hurt your SEO. It just means that your activity does not provide value for your SEO. This is the case when the forum:

  • proves to be inactive,
  • creates no-follow links
  • if the forum is not niche-specific.

In these cases, inactive forums with no activity are not able to drive traffic to your webpage. No matter how many links you place on them the traffic won’t increase and you will not benefit from your rank. At the same time, most forums create no-follow links. These do not count when determining ranking by Google. Only by avoiding these forums, your webpage can benefit in terms of better ranking.  At the same time linking from forums with a bad reputation can cause damage to your own webpage reputation. So, you must keep an eye on that.


One additional way that forum backlinking can cause you problems is that it is very time-consuming. Finding the right forum and establishing a relationship with users will take time and effort and it will take a lot of time to get any SEO results. Also while doing so you must be careful not to spam the forum with your backlinks. So, if you are oriented towards building backlinks from forums you must be prepared for your rankings to suffer while you build this relationship. Your SEO will take a toll fro such action until you get some concrete results.

A drewing depicting people in a forum - part of every link building effort is the creation of forum backlinks
Part of these forum backlinks cant be controlled so they can hurt your SEO effort as well

Google penalty

Although backlink building is a viable strategy if done with proper guidance, Google can view it as a black hat strategy if not done right. This means that it considers this backlink building a form of manipulation to achieve good ranking artificially. If Google catches an activity that it does not condone it can issue a manual action that can hurt your SEO considerably. Removing your webpage from search engine results will permanently damage your visibility and presence. This will lower your ranking, traffic, and profits as a result. In these cases, forum link building directly hurts your whole SEO effort. This is what it is important to follow the guidelines. Also, you should be careful with your link-building strategy. You should also avoid spamming the forums in a way that will be considered a violation of Google guidelines.

So, the simple conclusion is that forum backlinks are important for your SEO effort. They have value and can influence your rankings considerably. They also have benefits and drawbacks. Forum backlinks hurt your SEO only if you manage them without proper strategy and care. The best advice is to try and carefully manage these backlinks to ensure that they contribute to your SEO.

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