Webmasters, SEOs, and anyone who’s leaving links around the internet should naturally be interested in the concept of privacy. That doesn’t mean you should assume you have any…
Here’s an example from a Google search that helps explain what I’m talking about:
How about that? Google now recognizes the number of posts and the number of authors in forum posts made with popular forum software. Now think about the title of this post I’m showing and why an author wouldn’t want his brand attached to it…
What does this mean for the future of forum posting in regard to SEO?
Don’t assume anonymity – Don’t try to get away with things that are against quality standards and webmaster guidelines. Or at least, if you’re going to, don’t assume that you can just do it and get away with it without coming up with some sort of grand scheme to trick the latest intelligence gathering operations of the search engines.
Don’t expect signature links to generate huge PageRank – I’ve got a few hundred posts on a PR8 board, a few hundred on various PR6 and PR5 boards. The highest any of those domains gets ranked is about a PR3. Now, they don’t have any problems getting indexed, but I don’t think any number of forum signatures is going to be the key to proving my content is worthwhile.
Social Bookmarking Can’t be Far Behind – If the search engines (at least Google) can figure out who is posting what in forums, then it isn’t going to be long before this sort of analysis applies to the common social bookmarking sites. I am pretty sure its already in effect from the way I’ve seen some of these links down at the very bottom of my example links in Google webmaster tools.
Have I mentioned my Conversion to the Church of Content?
Here’s my conclusion about forum posting for SEO: It isn’t an editorial approval its an automated, self-generating system. These links are useful in terms of getting your site indexed, but for the most part you need other types of links if you’re going to rank well and get a high pagerank. Now, those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, but it does seem these days that search results are favoring pages from high PR domains that follow the quality guidelines.
Content alone won’t build you pagerank and authority – but good content that makes people other than you want to link to it will.