Weak SEO activity
This activity carries a low weighting in Search Engine Optimization. It may need to be carried out alongside other tasks in order to be fully effective. Read the text carefully for further details on how to do forum links for SEO for maximum impact
A forum discussion thread is gold dust in some ways. By its very nature the content is unique and many forums rank highly in the search results of major search engines.
Find the right forum and you find discussions on topics related to your content - A link from Page A of Website A to page B of Website B carries more weight if both Page A and Page B are about the same topic.
Get a link there and ... happy days?
Black Hat programmers jumped on the concept creating scripts that could add comments to forum discussions along the lines of "This is a really useful discussion, I've also written about it at http://www.myspammysite.com/spammy-page.html.
Abandoned forums were even easier pickings and forum threads often just became endless non-sensical comments with links
Forum owners became swamped in a constant battle with spamming bots. Forum software quickly responded by marking all links in discussion threads 'no follow' (a signal to search engines that the forum gave no value to the link and so neither should the search engine).
Search engines quickly worked out how to spot abandoned forums by their endless spammy posts and discounted them as link farms.
Black Hat spammers still use software today or contract out the spamming of forum threads to companies mainly based in Asia. With low costs they can still submit tens of thousands of comments to forums in the hope that one or two get through or that a particular forum still has 'do follow' links.
99.9% of links in forums are marked 'no follow' while adding a link to an abandoned forum where you can see page after page of spam counts for nothing ... so why do it?
Working a forum is indirect SEO. The link in a comment doesn't affect your rankings but it brings a great deal of targeted traffic ... and some of those people may create links to your site that actually count.
You might also find, as I do, that actual links are not important. If you have a link to your home page on your profile page those who think you talk sense will beat a path to your door.
To generate that traffic you'll need to be heavily involved in the forum and earn yourself a reputation as someone who adds value to threads. Only after you have reached this point are you trusted to include the odd link to your own work now and then.
Personally I participate on the forum SEO Chat where I give away a great deal of my knowledge for free. It has made me one of the most respected members there and because of it I receive a constant number of leads from people looking for SEO assistance ... and I rarely post a link.
If its you that is taking part in forum discussions you need to:
I'm Tim Hill, a Search Engine Optimisation and Online Marketing specialist. I created this site to help others understand that SEO is not a mysterious black art!.
If your a newbie try the Getting Started in SEO page, otherwise feel free to dig around and learn more.