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I'm an active member of a forum very relevant to my business. It's focused on hydronic heating design and installation. I discuss topics pros and homeowners about specific jobs, design, etc.

Heating Help - Heating Systems

I've been weary of backlinks and have focused strictly on our local content. I have a link on our "About" page to my forum profile.

My question is, do you think it's worth putting a link in my forum signature?

If not, there is a second option available. I can place a link in my signature that takes the user to a separate landing page, where I can feature my company story about a project we've done. It includes pictures and a bare URL link to our site.
 

Linda Buquet

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Hi Ross,

We recently changed all of our forum links to no follow due to the post below.
(We'd love to give everyone backlinks but it's not safe for our members to do it any more.)

Check to be sure all profile & sig links in that forum are no-follow. If they are then you could have a link in sig for benefit of visitors. Or you can add your link and just no-follow it yourself.

CHECK THIS HEATED THREAD I was involved in at Google Webmaster Forum

John Mueller from Google said:

Just to be absolutely clear, if you are dropping links to your site in other people's forums in the hope of gaming search engines, then that's considered web-spam and can be taking into account by both our algorithms and our manual web-spam teams. It doesn't matter how much "PR" the other site has, it doesn't matter if it's a .gov forum -- what you're doing would be considered web-spam by us.

If you care about how search engines like Google view your site, I'd recommend cleaning those link-drops up, removing the link to your site, and not doing that in the future.


It got heated... read the rest.

So just like guest blogging, posting on forums can be totally legit and used to get exposure to potential clients. I live on forums and don't spend all that time posting for bots, I do it for real eyeballs.
BUT Google pigeon holes everyone as a spammer, so you just have to be careful these days.
 

djbaxter

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At least it's easy to fix: Change your signature from your member profile and poof! all those sig links are gone.

I do get tired of Google dictating what we do here, there, and everywhere though. A secondary and real benefit of sig links is advertising and they do work for that purpose (of course is not AdWords). Then again, nofollowing those links doesn't change the advertising benefit.
 

Eric Rohrback

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Even though the links are no-follow, that doesn't mean their worthless. If you're using the Forum Sig links in a way to pass PR and just get a ranking boost, then you're doing it wrong. Use the sig link to get people to notice the service or the business and try to get referral traffic from qualified (and relevant) sources.

I'll use mine as an example... I really don't care that it doesn't pass link equity. The reason I have the anchor text that way is so you notice the service & so it sticks out of the signature. I'd rather see referral traffic from people interested in the service than nothing at all. Or maybe someone will Google it later and remember the company associated with the signature.

I'm not sure if I'm wrong or right about the reasoning. I've seen many different opinions about the subject. Google dictates the rules, but we can find different ways to play by them.
 

Former Member

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Thanks for the help everyone! I have gotten a lot of leads through the forum. If I had a choice I would keep the company landing page they have built for me (the signature links to the landing page).
 

Manny

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Why do these Google guys say that stuff that DO work, don't work. All the time.
 
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