Blog writing seems deceptively easy. Some people think that all you need to do is write new and compelling content, publish it on a consistent schedule, and new traffic will be generated. While that is a necessary part of the process, experienced content marketers know there is more to it.
One way to drive traffic to your website is forum link-building. After reading this blog, you’ll learn why forum link-building is important, what forums you can use, and why it’s beneficial.
What is Link Building?
Link building refers to the variety of methods marketers use to increase the number of high-quality links that refer to your website. It often includes spending lots of time researching and reaching out to external sources.
If you use the correct link-building strategy, you can increase your website traffic, boost your brand awareness, and increase your domain authority.
What is Forum Link Building?
This type of link-building activity uses forums. By interacting on the forum and answering questions, you can establish backlinks to your website.
These backlinks increase your page’s ranking in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) because you have more links pointing back to your site. This becomes important when you’re trying to outrank competitors in your industry.
Why Should You Use It?
You want to be known as an authority in your industry and a brand people can trust. Every time you interact with a person is a chance to build a relationship with your audience. Creating quality content to share also demonstrates your brand’s expertise.
This content gives your audience something to refer to when checking your site. They might not have originally gone to your website for this topic, but they’ll remember you had a post on it. Since you’ve already built that trust with your audience, you’ve become a go-to resource for them, making it more likely that they will recommend your site to others or visit again.
What Forums Should I Use?
If people discuss a topic, then there is a forum for it. There are forums for cars, travel, cooking, computer programming, and everything in between. But are all forums created equal? Below we’ll explore which ones are going to best benefit your website.
Quora is a question-and-answer forum. It covers over 400,000 topics and is used by 300 million people per month.
Why Should You Use It?
While anyone can use Quora for advice on any issue, it can be more professional than other forums. Part of that is because the site is heavily moderated and any topics or answers that don’t adhere to the guidelines are removed.
Since Quora is only for questions and answers, your answers are less likely to get lost in conversation threads.
Stack Exchange/Stack Overflow
Stack Exchange and Stack Overflow are online communities that allow users to ask and answer questions, mostly on technology and software. Stack Exchange is the overarching network and Stack Overflow is a specific community hosted in that network.
Why Should You Use It?
Stack is one of the largest and most active programming Q&A communities on the internet, with a large community of users who provide help and support to other developers around the world. It is a well-known resource for programmers and software developers. If you’re a part of that industry, being involved with Stack is a good way to get your brand out there.
Like Quora, Reddit is a social news and discussion website where users can submit content, such as links, text posts, and images, and engage in discussions with other users. It has 430 million monthly users. Where it differs from Quora is that Reddit shows the latest news as well.
Why Should You Use It?
Since more people use Reddit, you can reach a larger audience. Reddit also allows you to discuss recent news stories and see what issues your audience is interacting with.
There are questions on a variety of topics and different subcategories for more information/discussion to go more in-depth on an issue.
However, something to keep in mind when you’re using Reddit is to do some research before you start using this platform. Discussions can get contentious fairly quickly on Reddit so it’s a good idea to do some research and understand your community before you start posting.
Medium differs from the other platforms we’ve discussed as it’s a blogging platform. Once you create an account you can go on and either write blogs or you can repost ones already on your website. You can also determine if your articles are behind a paywall or not.
Medium is free to everyone; however, non-members are limited to three free articles per month. To gain unlimited access, you can get a membership to the site.
Why Should You Use It?
While there isn’t as much interaction on Medium, you can still create content that links back to your website and help you become an authority within your industry. You can also still reach portions of your target audience and see what content matters to them. While not instantaneous, it can still be a good research tool.
Which One is the Best?
Deciding which forum is best isn’t easy. It depends on several factors including your overall content marketing strategy, your audience demographics, the industry you’re in, and what you want to achieve.
For example, if you are a clothing designer, you might not use a forum like Stack Exchange that focuses on programming and software development. You might want to go somewhere like Reddit or Quora because you are more likely to find your target audience there.
What Can You Accomplish With Forum Link Building?
Before you start on any project, you must establish what the benefits are for your business—what potential outcomes you would expect. When you start on your forum link-building journey, here are some of the potential benefits you can experience.
Establish Your EAT
The acronym EAT stands for Expertise, Authority, and Trust. It’s a marketing theory that helps websites rank better in Google SERPs. However, it can be applied to just about any type of marketing, including forum link-building.
Being a go-to expert in your field will not go unnoticed on whichever forum you select. By answering many questions with useful and relevant information, you will gain followers who will recognize your knowledge of the topic or industry.
In this case, authority goes hand-in-hand with your expertise. Answering questions gives you the ability to position yourself or your company over your competition.
By being a beneficial resource for users, you’ll work on gaining trust. That can then turn into loyalty, which means users will be more willing to use you or your company’s products and/or services over others.
Generate New Content Ideas
When you’re creating new content for your website, forums are an overlooked place to find content. Thanks to the vast amount of users using the platform each day, you’re bound to come across various patterns in the topics you see.
You’re likely to see questions surrounding your industry that you haven’t thought of. You can then use this information to create new, unique content for your website.
Gain Insight Into Your Audience
As you’re looking through posts on the forum, you can get an idea of what topics your target audience is interested in or have questions about. The forum lets you speak directly with your audience and gain valuable targeting data.
Drive Traffic To Your Website
The goal of using link building is to drive quality traffic to your website. If you have great content but no one’s seeing it, then you have a problem.
Getting your brand out in front of your audience and answering their questions helps show them that you’re knowledgeable and should be taken seriously as a resource.
How to Get Started Building Forum Backlinks
Now that we’ve gone over all the benefits of using forums for link building, the real work begins—using the forum. However, by using these simple steps, you can get started sooner than you think.
1. Create Your Forum Profile
Once you’ve created your content, the next step is to create a profile on your forums of choice. You can create an individual profile or you can create a profile on behalf of your company. It all depends on if this is for a personal project or for a business.
2. Find Questions to Answer
Go through the forum and collect different questions you can confidently answer. When you’re searching for topics, you can bookmark topics so it will be easy to find them the next time you log in.
Look for questions that speak directly to your brand and messaging. Don’t try to make questions fit what you’re saying—your audience can tell when you’re being disingenuous and that will lead to you losing credibility with them.
3. Carefully Craft Your Answers
When you’re ready to begin answering questions, make sure your answers stand out from others. Don’t rush through your answers—take your time to think out your response and make sure that it’s beneficial.
Using the suggestions below, your answers will be concise, clear, and useful for users.
- Format answers
- Use images
- Create links
- Make sure answers have value
4. Maintain Your Profile
Once you’ve started your profile, you’ll need to take time to maintain it. Some of the ways you can interact with your profile are:
- Continue answering questions
- Add content to your profile page
- Interact with other members
- Create questions for other users to answer
Is Forum Link-Building Right for You?
Having relevant, SEO-optimized content already created eases your workload as you try to link build and connect with your audience. You’ve done the hard work, now you just need to share it with your audience.
Remember, you want quality traffic over quantity. You are going straight to the source and talking directly to the audience you want to target. Since they’re searching for what you’re offering, they’re probably going to be interested in what you have to say.
Using forums provides the ability to spread brand awareness and speak directly with your audience, which helps you understand them better.
Want help reaching your target audience through forum link building? Contact our team to see how working with an experienced full-service agency can support your business.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published on May 1, 2019. It was updated on June 9, 2023.