Forum builders and online forum users alike need to take care to not drop links in posts and comments unless the forum is designed for that purpose or permits the sharing of business, promotional or other links. Although you might have heard otherwise, Google has made it clear that it penalizes businesses that drop backlinks on forums.
What Are Forum Links?
People post links in forums all of the time to share content about a topic discussed in a forum, post or comment. It's easier to share a link than paste a wall of text in quotation marks, such as with an article, or attempt to share one or more photos. It also prevents copyright infringement. Some forum users also post links to draw attention to a business or particular website to boost that site's traffic or increase a customer base.
Why Is Backlinking Bad?
As noted, not all forms of link sharing are considered wrong. Google only considers unsolicited sharing of links for business or profitable purposes spam. After all, when you drop a business link in a discussion about a non-business topic, then you're promoting that business and using the forum for promotion rather than socializing. Unless the forum allows this type of sharing, you're essentially yelling the name of a business or website in a crowded room filled with people discussing their favorite unrelated topics, which is both annoying and disruptive.