A common promotional tactic among independent Web publishers and online marketing people is to post comments on other blogs and forums and add a link back to their own sites.
The tactic can teeter on a fine line between acceptable site promotion and spamming.
These site promoters will identify Web sites with blogs and forums that allow visitors to post comments and include back links.
Some of the comments are moderated, which allows that site manager to review the posting and either let it go live or reject it.
Sometimes the comments are not moderated, which means the comments go live immediately and in their original form.
Spammers take advantage of unmoderated sites to promote their products and services. Site managers are forced to go into their sites and remove the inappropriate and often irrelevant posts.
Responsible posters will provide an appropriate comment on the blog or post; the link back to their site will go to a site that is relevant to the subject being discussed.
Are Forum Backlinks Useful?
These responsible posters often debate the usefulness of this tactic. The value usually comes in two forms. The first is the people who click on the link back to their site.
The second is the backlink value that search engines place on the links, which ultimately helps boost the linked site in search engine results.
Copyblogger contributes a related point about building connections with other blogs and the people who visit them:
“So when you meaningfully participate in the community aspect of a blog, you’re creating meaningful relationships with people who can send you significant traffic — bloggers and other active social media users.”
Experience shows that whether it is worthwhile often depends on the relevance of the link, the uniqueness of the content and the usefulness of the comment. A post might produce a few clicks back to the poster’s site, dozens of them or none at all.
If the site uses the tag “rel=nofollow”, then search engines won’t follow the link at all, which negates any SEO value.
In that case, the value comes from anyone who clicks on the links. One way to decide if the traffic is worth the effort is by taking a hard look at analytics to see if the links are producing any results.
The odds are good that a few links will produce moderate results, while the great majority will produce very little.
The bottom line: Posting on other blogs and forums is worth doing as a tactic with a low level of effectiveness for most Web sites. But it’s best to follow the rules of those sites and make the posting valuable.