The Ph.D Link Building Course - Forum Signatures
We are all familiar with forum signatures. They are those little blurbs of text that are automatically appended to the end of every post we make on a particular forum. The vast majority of these forum signatures are completely wasted from a linkage standpoint since they usually make some darkly humorous "in-joke" reference to something or other which is being discussed in the forum and leave it at that. However, there is a far more useful and profitable use to forum signatures. Many forums will allow forum signatures that are not just plain text, but can also include images and most importantly, links. The incorporation of a link into a forum signature in the right hands can be an extremely valuable tool.
Once a forum goes over about 150,000 "real human" (not pointless spam) posts, their PageRanking become quite elevated. Thus if the forum being frequented by the poster is highly ranked, highly trafficked and highly exposed (otherwise it just begs to question why even bother) then the incorporation of linkage into forum signatures provides an elevated level of exposure.
For example, there are some technical and special interest forums where the resident gurus post over a hundred times a day. These gurus are answering questions from everyone from n00b to expert and are generally venerated as the forum royalty that they are. There was a recent case on a leading personal computer forum where Jack, one of the foremost gurus, suddenly retired and most of the posters' avatars were immediately changed to "Come Back Jack" and "Mourning For Jack." You can't buy loyalty like that. If instead of having their forum signature state something really juvenile and pointless, these guru's forum signature were to contain some form of linkage to your site, then not only would the link be considered an endorsement of outstanding quality and validity by the forum frequenters who huddle around the guru, but it would result in an avalanche of the most targeted and qualified traffic imaginable. Getting your links onto some of these guru's forum signatures could kick your PageRanks upstairs by an order of magnitude.
Again, it is important to carefully select the forum whether you are posting yourself or have worked out some sort of backroom sweetheart deal with the resident guru. A guru can be just as venerated in a low-ranked forum as in a high-ranked one. If you select and negotiate very carefully, you might hit the "Jack"-pot.
You can also find various forum signatures being auctioned on sites across the Web. Some of these signatures are attached to some notable forum gurus and thus fetch fairly high prices that in most cases are well worth the expense for the return that will be obtained.
There is another significant benefit of forum signatures and that relates to their validity to search engine optimization. Think of it this way. A few years ago Google spiders would crawl basic web page text and report back what they found. Thanks to the combined brainpower of all those Google Ph.D.s, today's Google spiders can perform very complex feats. When a modern Google spider comes across a link in a forum signature, it will now follow it and index it. And that is exactly what you want.
There are certainly occasions where posts and the corresponding profile pages will actually receive their very own PageRank as some of them can be responsible for well over 100,000 hits. This usually occurs whenever there is a post or poster that becomes acknowledged as a standard, or a source of reference which is often referred to. It's highly unusual for a post or profile page to rise as high as a 3 in PageRanking but it has happened in the past and will definitely continue to occur.
Most forum signature links are generally not allocated the dreaded "nofollow" which preserves their validity for link purposes and makes them very attractive for backlink generation. The backlinks generated by forum signatures unfortunately do not apply as differentiated from various domains, but they still are a superb way of elevating PageRanks.