Are Forum Signature Links Good For SEO?

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.

 

Screenshot taken 2nd June '09 showing No.12

Screenshot taken 2nd June '09 showing No.12

 

Screenshot taken 6th June '09 showing No.7

Screenshot taken 6th June '09 showing No.7

*** NEW Update – 7th June ’09 ***

Screenshot on 7th June '09.  Now 4th place in Google UK

Screenshot on 7th June '09. Now 4th place in Google UK

 *** NEW Update – 23rd June ’09 ***

Screenshot taken on 23rd June '09 showing No.3, (2nd website)

Screenshot taken on 23rd June '09 showing No.3, (2nd website)

 

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!

Andy Black

18 comments

  1. Very cool findings. I always disregard forum signatures as a way to increase rankings. I may have to go back and double check it. I am assuming the forum you use is has follow attributes to your links?

  2. Great test Andy. As always, a test is a fantastic thing. I appreciate the testing you do and the results you publish in this blog. This is a great result! What’s the plan from here?

  3. Nice one Andy. I have also tested this in the past 12 months and i agree with your findings. Please also look into squidoo.com

  4. Pedro says:

    Fantastic article and great advice Andy. Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  5. Ollie says:

    Too many links too fast can be a recipe for no progress. The more natural the linking pattern and the higher quality the links (PageRank of the linking page) the better. What do you think?

    Andy Reply:

    I agree although I haven’t fully tested this in a long time. When I build links I usually do 2 – 4 per day. Some days I do none if I don’t have the time. This has always given me good results. Yes, high PR links and links from high PR domains can yield good results. That said, the experiment which I carried out with the forum signature links worked. It took me from a solidly placed 12th to 4th in just a few days. This shows that forum sigs do have some impact with the search engines. Even if the forum is unrelated to the anchor text.

  6. MichaellaS says:

    tks for the effort you put in here I appreciate it!

  7. milwaukee realtors says:

    I have actually had great success with forum signatures and my SEO rankings. The only drawback is some sites make you meet a minimum post requirement before your signature will go live. This makes it a very time consuming endeavor!

  8. Carl says:

    I have always noticed that sometimes experimenting on some of the search engine optimization techniques provides good results and clears many doubts one has in using these techniques to optimize websites for search engines. This experiment might have cleared the doubts if someone had those doubts with regards to the value of signature links for search engine optimization. Great work Andy, keep it up!!

  9. Hi Andy,

    I am actually thinking of telling my colleagues to put signatures on forums that they usually visit since I am sure that this will help us increases our back links as rankings.

    Thanks for the post.

  10. vikash says:

    Hey..that was a really useful article..Shall try implementing it and check out my SEO rankings..Thank you!

  11. Karmadir says:

    The best thing about forum is that they not only help in increasing back links, but also bring traffic to your website.

  12. Fantastic results indeed…I’ll be doing some more forums promotion in the next few months

  13. I do forum sigs but shortly after I start adding them, I go up in Bing and down in Google. Hopefully it is just temporary!

    ** Note from Andy **

    With Google your rankings will often dance around alot and fluctuate, especially whilst you are active with link building. If you are a member of a popular forum and have several hundred posts on there that have dofollow links in your signature, you will notice a jump in your rankings if you add a medium to longtailed keyword in there. Even after removing a link I still found that my rankings stayed the same for a considerable time before it dipped again. In the meantime you can add another link. It all depends on your strategy. This method is particularly good with upcoming product launches etc when you are wanting to push a particular sales page or product within a specific time period.

  14. thanks again Andy for the great information.

    As you know, I am rated in the middle of doing some promoting via back links. And this just helps solidify it in my mind, what I’m supposed to be doing. Your help is been greatly appreciated.

    Kelvin

  15. ThomasT says:

    Hi Andy.. I just checked google uk, and you where #10 for that term. Did you remove the link from your signature on the forum you where talking about, or is it still there?

    *** Note from Andy ***

    Hi Thomas. I removed it a long time ago. It was purely to show the power of signature links when you have enough posts in an active forum. It was to dispell the myth that many believe. Basically that one link from any one site is all you need. That’s not true. I’ve seen sites obtain no.1 ranking in Google for highly competitive terms due to having hundreds of unique articles in Ezinearticles etc. Every link counts to some degree, although there are rules to apply there also.

  16. ThomasT says:

    Thanks for the response Andy. 🙂 The reason I asked was that I wanted to see if you had left the link in the profile and it then discounted them for some reason and moved you down in the rankings.

    You saying that you removed them from your sig just adds to the proof that forum sig links DO work, because you put them in your sig, your site moved up; you took them out of your sig, your site moved down.

    Thanks again! 🙂

  17. Jayadi Hendra says:

    oh this is great info.. i will apply this trick for my website.