Do more. Work less. Tips that save time.
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So far in this series we’ve talked about many different ways of getting backlinks to your site … the backbone of SEO. Depending on your personal preferences and your backend you can end up using some of them more than the others, and that’s okay.
The task for you is to always select the ones that give the best results with the least amount of work (a classic 80/20 case). And in order for you to be able to do this you have to be aware of as many link building techniques as possible. That’s why I’m publishing this series.
Just to recap, as we are slowly approaching the end of the series, so far we’ve discussed:
Today we’re taking on one of the most obvious sources of links possible – blog comments and forum posts.
This practice doesn’t have the best publicity nowadays. Many people believe that building links on blogs and forums doesn’t work anymore, but I don’t really see any point why it should be the case.
First of all, Google knows how blogs work, and that whenever someone writes a comment they get a link pointing back to their site. Just because Google has this knowledge doesn’t mean that comments don’t work for SEO. You see, what Google also knows is that all comments are moderated, so if anything goes through it most likely means that it’s worth of being published, and therefore maybe the link is worth noticing as well … just a thought.
Okay, enough with the talk, let’s switch to the how-to part.
How to use comments and forums to get backlinks
The most important rule is not to submit spam. Spam is really REALLY easy to detect, and every blogger with a month’s of experience can point out a spam comment a mile away. Not even mentioning forum moderators – they are really sensitive about this.
When it comes to blogs there are a couple of guidelines to follow when you want to write a truly valuable comment. In a nutshell: be natural, join the discussion, don’t promote your stuff, don’t thank anybody for anything.
Forums are a different story. Basically, you never know if your post is going to be considered as spam or not. Especially when you include a link to one of your sites. Forums are more difficult to handle than blogs in terms of getting backlinks.
When you’re commenting on blogs you need to make your comment relevant to the post, but your link doesn’t have to be relevant. For instance, you can comment on a post about guitar playing and link to a site on dog training.
When you’re posting on forums, however, and the post is about guitar playing then there are not many contexts in which you can shift the discussion and link to some dog training content. Actually, it’s impossible.
That’s why forums are most often used a little differently. What you do is don’t actually link to your content from inside your posts, but instead you create a signature box – this is where you put a link to your site. Whenever you post a response to someone else’s thread, your links will be automatically displayed in your signature.
Link building tutorial for blog comments
Simply start by going to a blog and writing a comment, but don’t submit it yet.
First, do a quick research on what type of anchor texts get approved on that given blog. Some blogs are very strict regarding what you can and can’t use as your name in the comment.
There are blogs that will let you use a fully anchored name (a keyword name, e.g.: “learn guitar chords”). Others will only allow you to use your actual name. And there’s the final group that uses plugins like CommentLuv, or KeywordLuv, in which case you can get both your actual name and an anchored link name.
The only thing you have to do is take a look at other comments published on the blog, and take notice of the general trend of the names used. Then craft your name accordingly.
Link building tutorial for forums
Online forums run on different platforms and have different rules of taking part in the discussions. Before you post anything you have to go through the basic rules to make sure what’s allowed and what is not.
The most common setup for forums is to enable users to have a signature once they publish 5-10 posts, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see any possibility of setting a signature right after registration.
When you get access to the feature you can pretty much do whatever you like. However, try to play it safe – don’t include more than two links in your signature. Of course, make them fully anchored – use your main keyword phrase for the anchor text.
The value of getting links on blogs and forums
There are two main benefits here:
1. Obvious SEO “juice”
Google and other search engines see your links, so they become a part of your backlinking profile.
Even though comment links are not that valuable on their own (they are mostly no-followed), they can boost your rankings once you’re really active building a large number of them every week.
Yes, both blog comment links and forum links can bring you serious traffic.
Whether you believe it or not people actually click through on comments they find interesting just to check what’s going on on someone’s site.
Actually, I’m getting quite a noticeable amount of traffic every month from sites where I’ve never guest posted. This traffic comes solely through the comments I submitted.
The story is similar with forums. This time, though, you’ll be receiving traffic from returning visitors. That’s because forums are usually closed communities with just a small number of new users joining on a regular basis.
How to find blogs and forums in your niche
I’m sure you already know a couple of those, but anyway.
For blogs, Technorati seems to provide the best results. You can browse by category or search with a keyword. The results are mostly popularity ranked, so the most valuable places to have a link at will be displayed at the top.
For forums, try using Google. The best way is searching for a phrase like this:
Every niche and topic has at least a couple of popular forums. As a matter of fact, there are many more ways you can benefit from being a member of a forum. Link building is just one of them.
There you have it. The task for you today is to find 5-10 blogs and 1-2 forums in your niche or topic, and start commenting. Try to make it a habit. Whenever you read something interesting write a short comment to express your opinion about the piece.
Are you an active commenter or forum member? How often do you read blogs or participate in forum discussions?