There are a number of online forums available online to get involved in. One of the benefits to getting involved is the fact that you can generally have a signature on your postings in which you can tout your own services and websites. This then is attached to each posting you submit, including new subject postings and replies to others. If you are posting to a popular and high ranking forum, this can be great for quality links back to your own website.
Not All Forums Help SEO
Due to the fact that you can add signatures and get a link back to your website, spam on forums and discussion boards can get out of hand. To help prevent the spam, most forums have added safe guards that limit the ability to include links within posts or signatures. This requires you to actually get involved and add something of value to the website before you can get the links back to your website.
Other forums do not impose any restrictions and just deal with the spam. The trouble with getting involved with this type of forum is that you may get associated with “bad sites” such as porn, spam and gambling websites. This is not good because Google warns against the “bad neighborhood” effect of being associated with spammy websites. Check the forum posts before getting involved.
Forum Spam Reduction Techniques
Minimum number of posts for signatures
This technique either does not permit signature links from being shown until you have reached a specific number of posts (usually 10) or may not even permit signatures at all until the post minimum is reached. Once the minimum is reached, signature links become available and you start off with 10 backlinks to your website!
Limiting who can view signatures
Another technique is to only allow registered users to view signatures. This technique virtually eliminates the link back benefits as Google will not register with the forum. This type of forum is for those that are targeting users within the forum only. Before registering, check out a couple posts and see if you are able to view links in the signatures. If you can do so while not logged in, so can Google.
No signatures at all
This is the most extreme method as there are no signatures. Although these forums are usually high quality with help and suggestions because only those dedicated to the forum typically post there, there is no link back to your website as a benefit.
As you can see, while forum posting can have great benefits, make sure you are posting to the right ones. Otherwise your link building efforts may be in vain, or worse… hurt your own website!