So recently, one of my favourite forums (Sitepoint Forums) implemented a “No Signatures Visible” policy, which basically means that no signatures will be visible to search engines, so no SEO benefit will be given to posters for posting on forums. As opposed to negliable benefit currently. Personally I say it’s a good thing, and rarely put in a keyword rich signature, and have short posts. If I do, there’s good reason.
Anyway, people are up in arms over this. “Why don’t we get SEO benefit?”. Mainly it’s the SEO Bastard Gurus who couldn’t keyword analyse their way out of a wet paper bag. Instead they spam their signature in as many places as possible. They now have one less, allowing us who do know what we’re doing.
However, there is still incredible value garnered from forums. Not least because of the networking done. So how can you get value from forums, even without having SEO benefit.
1. Image Signatures (If Allowed)
Surprisingly, a shed loads of forums still allow images in the footers, particularly in non Web Design niche. As a result, if you’re able to, stick an image in your footer, linking to your website. Of course, don’t break the forum rules, not take the piss, but you’ll be surprised how many visitors you get for image ads.
2. Twitter/Facebook/RSS Links
I’m surprised that there are approximately zero RSS Links to your feeds on forum signatures. Of course, you have to sell your link with text such as this:-
“Please subscribe to my blog feed for news and tips on how to improve your web presence.”
Okay, you may not get many, but you may get some!
Of course, the quintessential thing is to stick on your footer a link to your twitter or facebook account, as it’s less obtrusive than an RSS feed. But depending on the rules of the amount of links, why not put on both?
3. Trackable Links
Finally, since there’s no SEO benefit to having the links, why not instead track them? Using a service like bit.ly you can track how many people click on your links. If you’re truly after raw figures (which you shouldn’t be), then you can see how many people click on your link, and where they came from.
There’s my three tips, what do you recommend?