Forums provide a great link building opportunity and provides a great opportunity to obtain quality one-way links within your niche. Link building using forums has always been used throughout the SEO community, especially if the forums allow links that do not have the NoFollow attribute tag.
There is no secret in saying that forums provide an people with an opportunity to discuss and share information in a particular niche, about a product or service. Many people involved with SEO, link building and increasing website traffic quickly dismiss the benefit of forums in any internet and website marketing strategy. Self-proclaimed experts tend to dismiss forums and reduce the value of any backlinks provided from these forums. However, if utilized correctly, discussion forums are an effective and viable mechanism for building sustained targeted traffic to your website.The sentiment that I have seen shared by many self-proclaimed SEO experts in some discussion forums that I frequent is that the value of a link from a forum is reduced. Apparently, the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo and MSN, gives backlinks from these forums little weight when determining the overall ranking of your website. Another argument used is that most often, links that are obtained on these sites are not from well indexed, or well ranked pages themselves and are therefore insignificant in the larger picture of link building.
While I am no expert in this area, I disagree with the arguments that are put forward by these self-proclaimed experts.
Forums provide a mechanism to obtain quality backlinks from sites that are considered authority in their particular niche. These backlinks come from sites with relevant content. Therefore, it would make sense that the value of these links will increase over time when these pages become well indexed themselves in the major search engines. Plus, I tend to agree with the statement that a “Link is a Link”, regardless of the value of the site it comes from, unless the site where the link is coming from is blacklisted or banned from the search engine index. However, this is highly unlikely if the site is considered an authority site in a particular niche and is one of the reasons why links from popular technology forums (Adobe, IBM, etc) are used by most as starting points in their link building efforts.
Plus, I am not talking about using high pagerank (PR) forums for spamming your links back to your site. I am talking about selecting several high profile, highly respected forums, becoming an active member, and participating in the discussions. This allows you to establish yourself as somewhat of an expert in your niche, and gives you an opportunity to write relevant posts, containing relevant content, that can contain links back to your website. An added bonus with most of the major discussion forums is that once you register, you can use the user control panel to specify your website location and in most cases, include a signature which may also contain a few links back to your websites. In almost all the cases, these links are DoFollow links as well, thus adding to the number of backlinks to your site.
I will caution you that many of the sites do have rules regarding signatures and the use of the forums for “advertising” and “spamming”, but if you are an active member, that has a respected reputation, your participation in the discussions can be well constructed comments with pertinent links to your own resource.
Another major bonus is that as these discussions “age” and become indexed in the major search engines, they begin showing up on SERPs and will contain links back to your website.
One of the more popular niche forums where the value of signatures is recognized is Digital Point Forums. In a forum dedicated to things such as SEO, traffic building and website marketing, members are allowed to include links in their signatures. The amazing thing that you will see happening is that some members will sell their signature space to other forum members because the value of signatures and these backlinks from a well indexed niche is recognized throughout the community.
To find some of the more popular forums in your particular niche is easy. Simply search for your particular niche and use the keyword “forum” or “community” as part of the search and you can find some great resources that can be used in your link building and traffic building exercises. You can also search for online magazines in your particular niche and determine if they offer forums, blogs or community locations where you can actively participate in discussions.
Regardless of how you find these locations, you will have to register and create a profile. Be very careful that you follow the rules and build a respected reputation on the forum before you start posting links to resources, especially your own. Become familiar with the operation of the forum and your link building will be an enjoyable and successful activity.
To get you started, I have found some niche forums:
Sports / Sports Related Niche
http://forums.saltwatersportsman.com/ (PR N/A)
Health / Wellness
Happy link building and good luck! If you utilize these forums correctly, you can obtain several quality one-way links to your site.