From what I've seen in my niche, forums that allow followed signature links are spammed to hell by idiots saying anything just to get a link and these links count for very little indeed - if anything. The forum is useless to humans and I'm sure worthless for SEO (or at least should be).
Forums that are good are either nofollowed or don't allow signature links.
I'd consider forums more for a bit of branding, or to announce new content on your site (latest blog, new tool etc) rather than as a link development tool, but perhaps it's different in your niche.
Personally I use my website url or a call to action bit of text - but NOT a key search term. I think it's likely that forum sigs are a quality signal. After all, you control the link text and the number of links - hardly something Google should trust is it? So I don't put important search terms in them for fear that this would damage my profile for those key words. I use related words that I don't care whether I rank for or not. If I use my business name, then I can't see Google penalising me for spamming my name (my url is not a keyword or search phrase).
Whatever you do, I wouldn't put two links to the same place next to each other in a signature, even with different text.
|can you say More on widget building (with widget building being the anchor text)? All of these go to www.widgetbuildingadvice.tld |
You're probably doing it correctly, however I want to stress that if done incorrectly it can be seen as spam. It's important to step back a moment to rethink what is to be accomplished. Many companies are missing out on a great opportunity to build mindshare and outrun their competition. A better way is to focus on building a relationship, professional goodwill, and traffic, not dropping a link. The links will follow from there.
Assuming you are following best practices and not doing a drive-by link drop, then the best way is drop the link in an anchor or simply the URL. The more value you add to a forum the longer your leash will grow.
|Forums that are good are either nofollowed or don't allow signature links... |
Signature links can still be allowed but they have to be tightly monitored for links to squidoo, ning, and other social sites that are abused by WAHM Get Rich for Free types, as well as one post wonders congratulating the previous posters for such a great post, etc.
Allowing signature links is a good way to attract professionals who have actual experience and knowledge. Those are the kinds of forum members that enhance the value of your forum. They give advice, you allow them to build good will.
The OP is probably doing it correctly. However, it adds zero value if improperly executed and many forum moderators will see it as spam and remove it, which is a waste of time for everybody involved. :(
For more information on this topic please see this post from last year on how to build link relationships with online communities [webmasterworld.com].
Thank you guys for these excellent responses.
I am also going to go through the thread that Martinibuster mentioned and try to learn a little more about this.
This is a bit different than the OP but related to it.
I would appreciate your help on it.
How long after posting let's say your website domain name if it also has some of the keywords that you are targeting will you see an affect in the SERP?
I'd say that depends on whether the links are counted at all, and if they are counted at all, how much they count for and how long they take to count will depend on the terms used and the forum the links are coming from. I've seen strong trusted links have a more or less immediate impact and weaker lower quality links take about 2-3 months to have a collective effect.
Is there any way to figure out if the links are going to be counted at all? The links are coming from a site which runs a forum and the site is one of the top in the niche. In this case, the domain name is being used in the link but they contain some keywords in it. Maybe this info is helpful.
Also, do the pages that the links are on have to be in the Google index for there to be an impact in the rankings?
If Google doesn't see the links it can hardly count them can it?
I think you're over-thinking this a bit. MB's post said all you really need to know. If the forum is one where people are asking or answering questions just to get their post count up and drop links then I doubt the links will count for much at all. If it is a respected forum then it is likely that the pages will be indexed and that the links will help to some extent.
But the main reason to post in a forum, if you are using it for self-promotion, would be to establish yourself as someone who has something useful and interesting to say i.e. for traffic and secondary links to your most recent blog post or the interesting article you referred someone to, or for people approaching you privately for help.
|If Google doesn't see the links it can hardly count them can it? |
Thank you for explaining this to me. I thought this would be the case but I wasn't sure.
Also, thank you for the other things that you mentioned. I have a better understanding of posting in forums now.
This is a bit off track..I've observed that some of the best forums out there too do not mind if I drop in my website link inside my post if that is very relevant to the discussion..
Will Google see that one as one of those several signature spams or will this count better since it is being used as part of the discussion? Any idea?