Forum signature links - unethical SEO?

I don’t see any problem in forum signatures. If there were any problem then why was it allowed in forums?

I do not think so. It is a technique that is legal.

“It is only unethical until you abuse it.”

Yes, but where does the line between ethical and unethical in this matter of fact?
Most of the signatures contain anchor text that are targeted keyword or phrases used for SEO purposes and that it is used for a better ranking/indexing/PR is quite obvious.:rolleyes:

There are several examples on this, but I guess everyone understand what I mean by just looking in this thread or other threads.

I’m not trying to condemn anyone or any technique, but to understand the value and legibility of Forum Linking. Is it considered to be a safe link building “program”? What happens if the signature is removed? Will the rapidly loss of incoming links to my website be negative for SERP results?

A wise man once told me that any link that was intended to use for increasing or attempt to manipulate Google PR or Google SERP should be avoided.
I’m not sure if his advice is outdated or still valuable?

Somebody said that the forum links does not make better SERP results, but I strongly disagree with this.
After some testing I consider targeted keywords with anchor text to be extremely important for SERP results.
I have been able to climb several pages in Google SERP by just a little change in the signature.

Although I only discuss and comment relevant topics, the topics are in a foreign language and I’m not sure how Google is able to see the connection and relevance here?

Some other notes:
Sitepoint is not under any circumstances the deciding part in right/wrong when it comes to SEO. Even though they can stop this by adding “nofollow” the final judge is Google and Googles algorithms.

As of what I can see at the moment I have a lot better SERP results after I became a member of Sitepoint. This is good, but what happens if Sitepoint adds the nofollow tag or Google gives less “quality points” to links from forums like Sitepoint? :rolleyes:

Hi,
i not agree form signature links are not unethical process.

If its not unethical, then why do I spend so my of my time as a forum administrator on 5 forums banning idiots and scum and deleting their useless messages that do nothing to contribiute to the good of the community just so they can link drop their signature. I would love to start sending friends around to these peoples homes with baseball bats to stop them doing it.

Those who post, just to link drop signatures, are a very low form of life.

I only want those who post messages for the good of the community - if they do that, I do not care about their signatures (within reason).

The signiture might increase your srep especially when the forum topic or thread top is something related you web description. I think so…

The signatures in the forum doesn’t help u directly on SEO. I mean, the link has ‘nofollow’ attribute. Hence, it has no value towards the PageRank and even the crawlers don’t follow it. However, it is helpful in increasing the traffic.

WRONG…
This is your sig taken directly from the source:

<!-- sig -->
			<div>
				__________________<br />
				<b><a href="http://www.lightningfast.com" target="_blank">LightningFast.com</a></b> - Extreme ethical Clothing that transforms
			</div>

		<!-- / sig -->

up to now i am not see any problem from forum signatures.

A lot of forums do not allow signatures until a user has made a specified number of posts. If someone needs to make say 20 posts before they can add a signature then by the time they can add the signature they have shown themselves to be a useful contributor to the forum. Those spamming the forum would have their spam removed and be banned without ever reaching the point of being able to add a signature.

Where the links in your signature are relevant to the forum topic you will get some of the others on the forum following those links to find out more information. That makes the signature links useful even if they are set to nofollow to stop search engines following them.

It is not unethical but it could have a better value if the forum and the post are relative to your site(s)

@ Siebird Thank you for pointing it. It is the general rule widely. But, it is great to see that SitePoint has a follow tag in the signature.

I can’t see why forum posting should be considered unethical. Forums offer a valuable source of information and advice and the majority of the time, these forums are moderated to prevent spam posting. Why not offer an incentive to people taking the time to post and answer peoples questions?

One reason is to avoid people turning a forum into a linkdump.

Even with forum moderation, worthless posts that help nobody still slip through the net. Personally, I don’t think you should need such an incentive to contribute to a community.

I see your point Hooperman, however, take SitePoint for example. I wonder how many fewer members this community would have if the signature links were no-follow. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that SitePoint allows signature links and attracts a lot of new members.

Whilst there are people that invest a lot of time contributing to forums without looking to benefit themselves (and I applaud those people), there are many others that initially join to promote their own websites. Yes there are some that will spam the forums and you’ll never hear from them again, but there are also a lot of people that stay after seeing the benefits of the community.

I don’t think there is a risk of a forum turning into a linkdump if the moderators are vigilant. I have not seen many posts here that I would consider spam so it looks as if the moderators are on top of things.

See if forum signatures were unethical then google wouldn’t have considered it as a back link. so who decides what is un ethical on internet?

Relevancy is very important in SEO, if any website getting or creating relevant links for website then it increase more traffic for website. Forum signature help if you have related website.

I would question the value of those members who post here primarily to serve themselves. I also don’t think it’s coincidence that since sitepoint started allowing search engines to see sig links, the number of crappy posts has shot through the roof.

Sitepoint has always had many, many good members who contribute useful information and discussion to the community - even when sitepoint used to hide sig links from search engines. Returning to that situation would only benefit this forum I think.

I’m lost in reverie now :beer:

Signature Link is use for build link popularity.

No, signatures are not unethical, here is my explanation why…

  1. Valuable posting means the signature is valuable to the end user. Meaning that as long as your posting is valuable someone may want to visit your site, thus resulting in a value to the end user. If you are posting invaluable content the end user may have no value or want to see your site and then you may be unethical.

  2. Depending on the content of the site signature links may provide a context to other users. To see where you are coming from… thus value to the end user

  3. Anchor text even has a value to the end user.

Why would it be unethical? Yes it does provide non-organic “reletivity” but most sites do anyway. What is the difference between posting valuable content on a site like this with a signature and going to hundreds of directories and posting your link there?

Some might even argue forum links have more value to the end user then do directories…

IMHO – hope I am not being redundant here, I was too lazy to read through the whole thread.