Without being rude, this sounds like link spam. In my experience sigs are not content.
It's not spam.
It's give and take.
I provide content for article directory, he gets paid with Adsense and I get some backlinks.
This is symbiotic.
But anyways this thread is not about morals and spam!
I want to know the difference between the two strategies.
Returning to your original question: does content matter.
Sigs are not content... never have been.
Scratching backs for a buck is a bit odious, but then again, ignore me.
The article however IS content ;)
Over 400 words of it actually, a lot of meat for search engines and directories.
The sig is the desert, that's all.
It's just that the content is not related to the signature.
But it's still content, just that the anchor and links on the body text are not the same as the signature.
Any feedback appreciated.
You have to look at this a few different ways actually. From the perspective of the search engines, the content of the article is in no relation to the links in your resource box so the relevancy of link is going to be diminished. If you're producing content for link building you won't get as much out of your efforts.
If you're producing the content in order to build organic traffic through the links in your resource box then you'll likely find that your conversion rates will be very poor - specifically because people went to your article to read about pets.
They're not likely to be interested in web design services.
Your resource box should have a very strong CTA that speaks to the interest of your audience - especially if you're trying to get a reaction (a purchase, a clink, an opt-in, etc). Otherwise you're just wasting your efforts.
Actually, it's now been a about a month since I started this and it doesn't seem to make much difference.
Reason is that my resource box is populated with anchor and relevant text so is seen as a separate "little" article by Google.
Results are about the same.
I'm always hearing about how the content of the surrounding text is so important with regard to the SEO benefit of a link.
But from experience with my own sites, and looking at other ranking sites, I just don't see it that much.
Granted, the SE's are probably striving to increase that as a factor.
Anchor text IS the key.
Especially with long tail keywords, it seems like the page rank or kind of site makes no difference.
Forum, blog, article directory, whatever. Low page rank also doesn't matter if the keyword is not competitive.
I also found out that repeating the same keyword is not as effective as varying it.