Forum signature links - unethical SEO?

The search engines want to provide the users with the most relevant search results. As of what I have learned internal and external linking to my website is important factors to improve SERP and PR.

Google has informed that every attempt to manipulate SERP or PR is not legal and from my point of view this puts link building through signature fields into a greyzone or perhaps also in a direct non-ethical / blackhat SEO process.

I am sure many of you disagree with me and I would like to start a discussion about this.

Is link building through forum signaturs ethical, in a greyzone or unethical?

Talk about clutching at straws! I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one…

If forum signature are unethical then why most forums are still considering or at least allow us to put a signature?

Do you have a proof that forum posting is unethical? This is the first time I’ve heard that forum posting is unethical.

Forum posting is not unethical, but as Google has messed everything with the links, nofollow, etc.
Now can start considering some one guilty of forum posting, i dont know, this could start happening tomorrow :stuck_out_tongue:

I too agree that signature link is not spam.

Forum posting with posts that do not contribute any value to the the community just for the purpose of link dropping is unethical.

In the last hour I have deleted >20 messages; banned >10 new members on 3 different forums - all useless posts just for link drops.

If I knew where these people live, I will be going around with my friends and some baseball bats to do some physical harm to them.

If you really believed it,
Than remove your links from signature.

Every system has loopholes. And people will always look to exploit these loopholes. In this case, having links in forum signatures can be seen as one of the strategies in link building, and I don’t really think there’s any ethical issues here.

Although it is not a nice behaviour to simply post in a forums for the sake of link building, I still wouldn’t say it is an ethical problem.

Sig links contribute very little as far as SEO goes. Whether or not its unethical doesn’t matter to the search engines if they don’t assign much value to them anyway. I would think it’s more of a problem for forum owners who have to put up with the idiotic “me too”/“thanks for sharing” comments that do nothing for the community.

I kind of like to know what sites people are working on here at sitepoint, and I am glad they let us use and see signature links. The main things I don’t like are the obvious: porn, affiliate, etc.

Signature links can not help much [If not any] to improve SERPs. However, they do help to get new pages index faster and you get some direct traffic from Signature links.

And I think links from signature are not unethical.

You cannot rank high just on the basis of signatue links. Search engines have already discounted the weight signataure links used to carry. And, not everyone uses signature links for link building. Many people use it for marketing their products.

I think I maybe have been a bit unclear.
I’m sorry about this.

I’m not telling/saying that Link Building from forum signatures are necessary unethical but that I think posting non valuable threads and posts with the only purpose of getting new links I consider this SPAM and only created to build links to gain PR, etc and therefore unethical.

I also think that blog commenting that does not add any value to the discussion but is only used to gain more links as spam.

I’ve tested how the blog commenting is affecting SERP, and I’ve seen completely new and not to competitive websites rank top 3. on different keywords with 10-55.000.000 competing websites just after a good selection of High PR websites in the same niche.

I’ve never tried this with forum posting, but I’ve seen several Indian SEO companies offering Forum Link campaigns and so on and I guess this has to be of some value for SERP if it’s somehow relevant content on the different threads?

This is not necessarily 100 % correct - and I would like to hear your thoughts about this :slight_smile:

Angilina has a good argument about respidering, and I’ve seen this myself.
I’ve occasionally seen Google indexing new threads, respidering my website and indexed new content within a few minutes after adding posts on Sitepoint!

Looking forward to hear from you :slight_smile:

You got a good point and I see where you are coming from although there are so many forum applications (and other scripts) out there that it would probably be hard for Google to identify which part of a website is a forum and which part is not. They could do it manually but I don’t think they would go as far without making a public announcement first and they already proposed the no-follow tag anyway. Forums have been part of the online community since the early days and personally, I kinda like having a link below a comment so you go to the source if you like what you are reading.

Im curious…What if you have hundreds or thousands of post and change your signature? Since your signature updates not only to new post, but all posts on the forum by you. Does that automatically generate hundreds or thousands of links back automatically for the newly added link?

Off Topic:

I found this thread by googling: sitepoint forum signatures help seo - Talk about indexing fast!

it depends on how will you write your forum signatures. make it as free flowing as possible

It will depend on what keywords you are linking. If it is obviously keyword stuffing, that’s a black hat method for me.

yes agree forum signatures are not spaming.

it is unethical, since admins have allowed us to put signatures on each of our post… but when they don’t follow the forum rules then it becomes unethical… that’s why some of the users are being banned from forums and their signatures and post are deleted…