Archive for April, 2009

Are Forum Links Any Good?

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

A few weeks back I got into a debate about forum links and whether they had any value or not. I do believe that forum links bring link value. Although I’ve found many people disagree with me. So I did a little experiment with this. I took one of my client’s website and got it about 50-100 backlinks between 2 forums and then I watch the stats in Google for any change. Amazingly the site after 1 1/2 to 2 weeks shot up the ranking onto the first page for the keywords I was targeting. Now of course other factors could have come into play but I then ran the same test with another site and sure enough again this site it shot up on to the first page.

But here is the catch, first I did the homework on my experimental sites, they had all the on page optimization done and did have other quality links from other sources. So when if you try using this link tactic keep that in mind. As well, just like any off page or link optimization you must have the correct keywords for the anchor text, which does involve doing a bit of research and analysis your competitors’ links. On top of that obviously making sure the links will be dofollow links and that your not spamming the forum, instead are providing quality content. Providing quality content is important, because you can get other sites to also link to the forum post which passes on more link juice to your site

Lastly the one big downside I found was that these sites I ran the test on started to slide back down the rankings after a week or two. I am suspecting this has to do with the fact that as more forum threads are posted the threads that contained my links where pushed off the first page of the forum directory and onto the next or third page. Thus my link was not receiving as much PR and value as it once was. This can be a big problem with forum links as you will get a yo-yo effect from the links and the only way to combat that would be posting on forums where the threads will not eventually be pushed to another page (which is almost impossible to set up a forum like that) or continuing to make posts to threads week after week. And because of the improbability finding a forum where threads don’t get pushed down as new threads are posted, the only logical way around this is continuing to make posts on new threads in the forum.

This also sparked another realization. The same sort of this happens with blog posts. They start out on the first page of a blog and then move down and finally off the first page as more blog posts are added. Therefore your link will be less valuable as time goes on. But both blog posts and forum threads can remain with a high level of link value if other website link to that thread or post, so in some cases the link value may not change much over time.

So there you have it, forum links do have value but that value could be decrease as time goes on due to new threads being posted or if linked to by other sites that value does have a chance of remaining the same or increasing due to the forum thread’s inbound links.