Does Google Hate Profile Backlinks Now?

Ever since the last update, I’ve been reading about how google hates profile backlinks. Webmasters talk about how effective profile backlinks were prior to the Panda update where there sites were flying around the top of the serps and then, after the update, all their sites plunged down.

panda update

One blogger said that after he was hit by the update, apparently because of his forum profile links, he’s starting to take steps to diversify his traffic sources so that he wouldn’t have to ever rely again on google for his business. He said the update caused him sleepless nights as his income plummeted down to pitiful levels.

Another one declared that he’s dropping his subscriptions from profile links sellers because he’s turning his sights on blog commenting and articles submission this time. But then how do we know that the big G is keen on blog comment backlinks just as it is keen on profile backlinks?

Then there are those who vow that they’re sure what Google is up to this time. “Don’t fear about profile links’ effects on your websites. The Google Panda update was a content update, not a backlink update.” Probably these guys think that all those testimonies were all made up. If it is indeed an update that did not touch on backlinks, is he implying then that most, if not all, of those websites were of thin content and not relevant to their subject matter? Hmmm…could be.

Some folks even go as far as to advise everyone to stay away now from profile backlinking because Google would give you a minus point everytime it sees a profile backlink pointing to your site. So, they are now spending some considerable resources hiring VAs to remove all their profiles.

I think Google wouldn’t necessarily post a negative point for your site because of profile links because if that were the case, wouldn’t this mean that anyone now has the power to bring down a competitor’s site from the serps simply by creating a ton of forum profile links pointing to their site?

Whatever your conclusion might be, it’s clear, if all those feedback are to be believed, that forum profile linking is no longer as effective as it was before. The former glory of the forum profile backlinks was based on the fact that most forums have high PR and thus are considered authority sites and they are crawled often because of the constant changes in their content and thus even the useless profile pages are crawled too and indexed quickly. Forum profile backlinks are also very easy to create and automate.

I personally can attest that after the Panda update, one of the few sites I own which previously was number one (for one of its targetted keywords) slipped down to the bottom of the serp. While Market Samurai reports that the site has more than 6,000 backlinks (90% of which are forum profiles), the first top six sites now only had 675 backlinks, 306 backlinks, 698 backlinks, 251 backlinks, 0 backlinks, and 76 backlinks, respectively. The PRs are either 5, 4, or 3. Mine’s only 2.

Google must have realized that a forum profile page has nothing to contribute content-wise, as all it contains are someone’s vital statistics and their site links. Thus it probably classified these as spam.

Someone at the warriorforum thought up of a possible run around on this issue. And that is to add content to your Bio or About Me section in your forum profiles, not just your links. Then again, this is one man’s idea. After reading so much feedback and articles about the Panda update, I am beginning to think that no one really knows. It’s all conjecture out there. That’s why I’m holding on to my money and not buy those WSOs that promise to conquer the Panda update this early. Google surely wouldn’t go about revealing the changes they make to their algorithm because they know it will just be gamed again by every serp-hungry wolf worldwide. Besides, Google promised to be making more adjustments to the update. Who knows what those little adjustments would do to the serps?

Me? I think I’ll just go for better content. Although I still see top pages with only 400 to 500 words in it, I think it still is better to go for 1000 words, preferrably more, to make a page’s content that also makes sense.

What do you think?


  1. I’m not going to change the way I do things James just because people come up with wild ideas as to how they assume Google to be thinking. I used to do that but it got all to stressful so now I don’t bother too much about it. The truth is that no-one really knows what Google thinks, not even the so called SEO experts.

    I’m still going to use links in the forum but like commenting I use it more for traffic generation than anything else as I believe if you leave a good comment or post it will lead to people following your link to your site.

  2. Hey James,

    Personally I’ve always tried to stay away from those mass profile link packages that you see offered on warrior forum. It was only a matter of time before Google slapped them.

    I’m still sticking to the basics that have always worked, blog commenting, 3 way link exchanges, selective article marketing and guest blogging.

    They build links and traffic, it may take long to see serp movement but they tend to stick better and survive these Google updates (for now anyway).

    1. Yeah, a pattern has been seen where any seo practice that can be gamed are eventually leveled off by google. 🙂

  3. From what I noticed, profile backlinks have virtually no effect now, so no point in creating them. I too will focus more on quality content and promotion on social networks. I think google will soon destroy all automatic ways of climbing in SERP’s, one by one.

  4. I never created backlinks in some forums for three main reasons

    One – I hate spam
    Two – the profiles often get low pagerank
    Three – some forums have profiles that are private and not readable by visitors so they do not google indexing

    So from this point of view, are not concerned about the update

    1. Good for you Al. In the past couple of years, I’d used profile links and found them very effective. Of course, I know at the back of my mind that somehow, this thing is not going to last since it is an area that can be gamed even by those who offer no real value online.

  5. Is it not better to do the right things once and for all rather than trying to beat google algorythms all the time. Just creating the good articles and distributing them the right way would be good then there is nothing to fear.

  6. I noticed one of my sites drop way down in the serps after buying a bunch of profile backlinks from a service. Nothing like paying for something that worsens your ranking! No more profile backlinks for me.

    1. Hi Bryan, I’ve also been almost tempted to buy profile links from some online services. Good thing I got cold feet on the last minute, otherwise I’d have gotten bitten by the Panda and lost a few bucks. 🙂

  7. Tough to say James. I mean, no one knows except Google themselves, but I strongly believe profile links have been devalued since the Panda update. I only use them now to link to my buffer sites (Web 2.0 properties and such). That works out pretty well for me.

    1. I too won’t leave profile linking altogether. I’m no longer depending on it though the way I did before.

      Thanks Ben for taking the time to comment. 🙂

    1. I think Google doesn’t like profile links (regardless if it’s manually or automatically generated) because it’s really not a positive vote for the site linked to. Tools like xrummer just made it worse, because it gamed the system.

  8. You make an interesting point when you state that anyone could potentially bring down a competitor’s site by creating profile links. I reckon that unless Google made a major oversight on this point, they should not give you minus points.
    I guess since they can be created automatically (via various tools), search engines should just ignore profile links when ranking a site.

  9. “Me? I think I’ll just go for better content.” Sounds like you’ve come to the very conclusion Google wants you to reach :-). To read their guidelines, you would think their algorithm could read like a human, appreciate poetry, laugh at jokes, and even detect whether or not the author is telling the truth!

    While I don’t buy into all of Google’s PR, I do think their guidelines represent what they aspire to, and what they’ll be working toward, going forward. Those us of us that are doing it “the right way” and focusing on our content can only hope their algorithm one day gets as good as they say it is now.

    1. Exactly! Hopefully, they’ll come up with an algorithm that separates those who do it ‘the right way’ from those who are just gaming their system.

  10. I think forum profile links are fine if done in small numbers only. And, you should have some posts on that forum so that your profile page actually gets some juice. If all of a sudden you have a bunch of profile links appear and those profiles do not have any other internal links from that domain, then isn’t that an obvious sign that you are spamming?
    Ted´s latest blog post ..What To Do When Your Link Building Has Not Been Going So Well

    1. Good point Ted. I think what Google hates about profile linking is the spamming angle. But then again, if that be the case, like I said, Google has just given everyone a method of destroying their competitors.

      Well, Google is not perfect. It just might have made a stupid mistake and doesn’t know it yet, unless someone tells them. 🙂

      1. Google does not make mistakes 🙂

        Well, Google will not penalize a site for loads of profile backlinks (in the sense of giving a minus point).. otherwise, it will be used as a destruction of your competitor tool as mentioned above.

        I think Google will just ignore the profile backlinks if they were too many. This way, if someone wanted to harm your site, he wont be able to. Your search position will not be affected as google will just ignore these (not penalize).
        Now if you are posting these loads of links, this will also not help your site because Google will ignore them.

        This way google will hit the two birds and it will be fair. It wont penalize but will not help your site too for the loads of links.

        Now, what annoys google is the too much profile backlinks to your site.

        Think of it… when will a normal website get profile backlinks?

        In 2 cases:
        1. You place few links in your real forum profiles to promote your site

        2. Someone else finds your site great and adds it to his/her profile to help you promote your site… this is rare, but does happen for the real good sites.

        In both cases, the number of these profile backlinks which are 100% legitimate is very little… maybe no more than 20-30

        If google sees a little number of profile backlinks pointing to your site, this is fine and even good and will help your site…

        But if google sees 10,000 profile backlinks, then this is not normal.

        Make good content, google will love you… place a little of profile backlinks, this will be ok too.

    1. As far as I know, there seems to be no negative feedback about the practice of commenting on blogs. 🙂

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