do signatures affect SEO?

Discussion in 'Forum SEO' started by preservationrecords, Apr 19, 2004.

  1. preservationrecords

    preservationrecords Aspirant

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    I'm wondering if the links in all of our signatures register with search engines as external links?
     
  2. rex_b

    rex_b Fanatic

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    they do but not much..
     
  3. vBMechanic

    vBMechanic Participant

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    Depends on the overall pagerank of the site. If you post on a forum that has a nice hefty page rank on the forumhome, then it will pass quite a bit of relevance through the signature link. Google has the ability to "ignore" certain pages, like say showthread.php, for link relevance, but I don't believe they ignore vBulletin forum pages yet. I know of a few examples of some heavyweight vB forums that can pass you a 4 or 5 PR just from a signature link.
     
  4. Demosthenes

    Demosthenes Resident Mancunian

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    yeah when I search for my site's keywords, posts from here show up on google, because of the link, I dont know if it helps our reeult ranking though, lol
     
  5. rex_b

    rex_b Fanatic

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    I don't believe they will show up as a pr4 or pr5 link.


    BUt they don't hurt!
     
  6. quentin

    quentin Habitué

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    signature links somehow help. basically, any link can help. the only question is the amount of help it brings. A typical forum page has tons of links on it, so the pr passed to your page is very low. Forum pages also have generally low pr, and are not long-term reliable links in that they will vanish from the index in time when the page goes deeper in the forum subpages. Anchor text might still be a bit valuable though.

    that doesn't make any sense imho. why would google ignore some pages ? Can you provide only one example of such page ignored by google ? If those pages are "ignored" it's only that often they are not spiderable because of other parameters.
    it has been assessed by a google representative that one thing that could have a page not being spidered was having a url parameter with name "id" or "sid" (to avoid session ids pages). Apart from bans and robots.txt, i haven't seen any other case of googlebot voluntarily ignoring a page.

    this however is right. If you are an heavy poster on high pr forums (think, webhostingtalk and such), the amount of sig links if you post a lot might bring you a decent pr by itself.
    When they were not restricted from passing pr (because of obviously selling it), I have seen an example of a site getting to pr6 with only links from sigs on the phpbb forum (the highest pr forum i know of with WHT).
     
  7. Nicholas

    Nicholas Webnik

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    I can almost certainly confirm this works. I have an unused, undeveloped site (had plans previously but didn't materialize) that got a PR of 3-4. I was surprised to see this since I only ever used it for email before, but upon checking the google links found that there were many inbound links from the forum sigs I previously used.
     
  8. Joe

    Joe bikeforums.net

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    More important then the PR transfer, is the anchor text used in your signature, link smart, link often.
     
  9. vBMechanic

    vBMechanic Participant

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    Sure, Google is known to ignore pages that they have manually identified as troublesome. One example of this is guestbook links. Google does not pass PR or anchor text relevance from most guestbook pages-- it certainly ignores some of the larger guestbook services. It will list them, but not pass any PR or relevance through them.

    http://www.webmasterworld.com/forum3/16563.htm

    I wouldn't mind if Google started ignoring forum memberlists.
     
  10. quentin

    quentin Habitué

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    the thread you link to needs a pay registration to be read.
    How has it been proven guestbooks were prevented from passing PR ?
    Is it all guestbooks, or is it guestbooks from 3rd party services ?
    If it's only the services, it's probably a manual removal of one (or several) sites (same as phpbb), and is not really applicable to forums (maybe except for ezboards).
    I don't get how it would be possible to "remove guestbooks", they can have many urls, don't have a specific markup, exist in all languages...
    By the way a guestbook is much more spammable than a forum, and contains much less potentially relevant data. As a user, I often find what im looking for in a forum thread, and can't remember ever finding anything in a guestbook.
     
  11. vBMechanic

    vBMechanic Participant

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    Hmm looks like webmasterworld is doing some tricky linking. They let you read the page if you click in through Google. If you want to read the thread, click this Google search:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=site...illa-search&start=0&start=0&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

    Then click the #1 result from Webmasterworld.

    >>Is it all guestbooks, or is it guestbooks from 3rd party services ?

    It's mostly just the large 3rd party guestbook servers. I don't believe they are excluding things just named guestbook at the moment.

    >>If it's only the services, it's probably a manual removal of one (or several) sites (same as phpbb), and is not really applicable to forums (maybe except for ezboards)

    Correct-- a manual removal of certain large guestbook sites.

    >>I don't get how it would be possible to "remove guestbooks", they can have many urls, don't have a specific markup, exist in all languages...

    Google never likes to fix things manually; they'd always rather write an algorithm instead of manual removal. However if they deem guestbooks a problem, I don't doubt they could remove 80% of them from passing PR just from some simple URL recognition of the most common guestbook scripts.

    >>By the way a guestbook is much more spammable than a forum, and contains much less potentially relevant data. As a user, I often find what im looking for in a forum thread, and can't remember ever finding anything in a guestbook.

    Absolutely, agree with that 100%. However forum signatures and profile links *are* subverting the intended use of Page Rank. When a high PR forum allows anyone to link out from it and inherit the PR, it isn't much different than guestbook spamming. I include descriptive signature links on most forums just to take advantage of this hole.. why not get the free PR? But it is certainly not in the spirit of PR which is meant to measure the site OWNER's opinion of what his site should link to, not whatever his user's put up (much like a guestbook).
     
  12. ilikechikin

    ilikechikin Enthusiast

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    it all depends on how many posts you ahve and how many of those pages get indexed. my site has forum sigs everywhere. the sigs show up before the actual site :(
     
  13. SportsChat

    SportsChat Participant

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  14. jinesh.m

    jinesh.m Aspirant

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    my forums has a lot of posters using keywords in their signatures to get backlinks and improve their ranking. while we've allowed this so far, (super secret tactic to get lurkers to start posting) sooner or later we'll be opening all external links in a framed window (like hotmail)...

    the guestbook backlinking issue came up a few months back on webmasterworld when a web hosting company started doing it. i think google changed it's filters to take this into consideration.

    i checked out my users with a high post count and all of them come up first in the google SERPS for keywords they're linking from their signatures, and most of their backlinks are from forum posts they've made. to make sure they don't spam, i've set a minimum post character limit of 85..
     
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