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Oliver Ewbank

How to Get Links from Forums in an Ethical Way

10th Aug 2011 SEO, Link Building 2 minutes to read

WritingIn a web dominated by links it is important to have a varied approach. One way to get valuable links is by leaving threads and follow-up comments with a reference back to your site.  Although this may seem straightforward it is important that your threads add value to the conversation. This post will look at the best ways to get links from forums (in an ethical way).

Keep it Relevant

First thing’s first make sure your thread is relevant. There is nothing worse than visiting a perfectly legitimate forum and finding someone has left a comment completely off topic to gain a link. This is frowned upon by users and most forums have moderators to ensure the content is relevant, and that anything that isn’t is swiftly removed. For example, don’t go to a gardening website and start talking about laptop computers.

Add Value

It is important to add value to a conversation. If someone has asked a specific question make sure your try and give an appropriate answer. If there is a range of threads that have already contributed to a debate try and write something different. Forum communities hate spammers who repeat previous comments just to get a link back to their site.

Link Crazy

If you have recently joined a forum don’t start leaving links left right and centre (this will only get you banned). Try and build up a solid reputation and leave a range of helpful comments. Although links can help improve rankings, citations can prove to be just as helpful. Why not try leaving a helpful comment and just reference your company name? There is still value in the citation and it is good publicity for your brand name.  Once you have gained the trust of a forum you can then start think about leaving a backlink.

The Signature

The signature is usually the place where you can include a link back to your site. This often uses your username as anchor text. Many people use their main keyword as the anchor text but this can look slightly spammy. I would suggest varying it up to add some variety to your link profile. The anchor text ‘sweet spot’ tends to involve 70% brand mentions and 30% keyword mentions. Try and vary up the anchor text to add a natural context to your backlinks.

Deep Links

Some forums let you leave links to other pages on your domain. This can be an excellent way to build up the authority of child pages on your website. The best way to do this is to leave the most appropriate link possible. If a thread is based around a specific type of chocolate link to that specific page on your website.


Contributing to forums can be a great way to gain backlinks, but it does require some time. To start with identify popular blogs in your industry. Join straight away but don’t start leaving links for a month or so. Once you gain the trust of the forum you can achieve a range of valuable citations and topic related links.

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Fountain Pen via BigStock

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Oliver Ewbank
About the author

Oliver Ewbank

Working in new media for over 8 years, Oliver has worked for a range of brands including eBay and SportBusiness.com on SEO, PPC and Social Media Management. He has won awards for his SEO work and been featured in a number of publications, including Virgin online.

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