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Google forum question
How does Google deal with forums?

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 25410 posted 1:44 am on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Say you host your own forum (not a linked to forum service) and one of your members includes their url in most of hundreds of posts, does Google see this as spamming and penalize the forum hosting site? If so how often should a member be allowed to post a link to their site without risking harm to their host and does their posting different internal sub links to their site change anything? Does allowing a home page link in a member's profile count as a reciprocal link back to their site? How about links in their blog? Assume all is spiderable.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member rfgdxm1 us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 25410 posted 12:42 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

I see no evidence the Google penalizes sites that allow URLs in sigs in forums. And note on this forum all the links to westhost.com on the pages. This site doesn't seem to be penalized for that.


WebmasterWorld Senior Member trillianjedi us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 25410 posted 1:18 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

Google won't see it as spamming, but if it was my forum, I would. How does it help other forum members?

Ask the guy politely to back off a little on the self-promotion. Point him to your Terms of Service (which you may need to write first if you don't have one). Always best to have a policy on this, and implement it at as early a stage in a forums development as you can.

If you allow "signatures" in posts, and people are abusing them, disable them and allow a member "profile" instead. Signatures tend to encourage spammers on popular forums. That's one of the reasons sigs are not allowed on WebmasterWorld. Pointless repetition is the other.

You risk allowing links to "bad neighbourhoods", so use a CGI redirect script on the profile page for the users link. Or put profiles in a '/profiles/' directory (or mod_rewrite to effect the same) and use robots.txt to stop them being spidered.

Assuming all is spiderable, and you don't use any kind of redirect script, or javascript, to "hide" the URL's, then yes they count as backlinks.



WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 25410 posted 4:29 pm on Aug 21, 2004 (gmt 0)

And note on this forum all the links to westhost.com on the pages.

google is not served the page you see, this has been discussed before, easy to verify by simply using the google navigator user agent string and browsing WebmasterWorld. The link to westhost is only for non spider consumption, there are no outbound links of any type on the main content pages of this site except to other phd software sites for spiders.

Trillianjedi is right I think, allowing signatures is pointless and potentially very damaging to your forum and site, if members want their site listed it can be listed in the members information, then you can disallow the members information pages to spiders to avoid possible bad neighborhood type penalties. Speaking just for myself, when I see avatars, signatures, etc, I'm annoyed at the clutter and waste of resources and page space. That seems like a holdover from the teenage years, at best.

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