I’ve heard over recent years that forum signature links do not hold much value with regards to SEO and getting ranked in the search engines. To test this out myself I carried out a little experiement. I added a link to my forum signature of a popular internet marketing forum. With this forum I currently have about 500 posts which means that there will be a few hundreds individual threads / pages within this forum that contains this backlink.
The link that I added pointed to a product page within a relatively new website which I had recently developed. This website and product is completely unrelated to Internet Marketing! With this being a non relevant forum for this product page it would really put it to the test to see whether my forum signature would make a difference to rankings.
The product page in question is for a Bic Media Clic Digital Ballpen which is a very popular pen within the promotional industry. For this reason I chose ‘bic media clic’ for the anchor text. This wasn’t TOO much of a long tail so thought it would be a good keyword phrase to base this experiment on. Prior to adding the link to my forum signature I checked the current rankings over about 5 or 6 days and it was ranked solidly at 12th place in Google UK. After 3 days of adding the link the ranking moved up to 7th place. I took a screen shot showing before and after and have included them below so you can see for yourself the power that forum signatures can give, even if they are unrelated and include no other relevant text.
This is by no means fantastic results but it does show that forum signatures do hold some weight and can make a difference to your rankings within just a few days. Particularly for long tailed keywords. This improvement with ranking was down to multiple backlinks from just ONE website. I’ll leave the link there for another week to see if there are any further improvements and then i’ll remove it.
*** NEW Update – 7th June ’09 ***
*** NEW Update – 23rd June ’09 ***
What you need to remember is that this experiment was for an unrelated link. Imagine the difference if this product page was related to Internet Marketing? That would add much more relevancy to those signature links which would make them stronger.
What you must remember though that forum signatures have far better advantages than increasing your rankings. First of all, as I mentioned in a previous post, they are EXCELLENT for getting new websites and articles indexed in Google. Secondly, if you contribute to the forum via the posts you make, you will attract MANY click throughs from your forum signature. I usually get around 1,000 unique visitors per month just from my forum signature. They really are that good!
As always, feel free to leave a comment!
To your success!