What would you think if we nofollowed signature links?

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Hi everyone,

The moderating team here at TWF is considering adding rel="nofollow" to all signature links. We seem to be getting an increasing amount of spam and low quality posts. Via Google we appear on over 13,000 lists of "dofollow" forums.

Obviously, this isn't the sort of activity we want for our forums. It requires a lot of moderator attention to remove spam, and even determine what is and is not spam. The large volumes of low quality posts make this a less interesting place to be.

Ideally we would like to "follow" links for certain individuals who have proven themselves to be quality contributors. There are a number of ways we could handle that (either by post count or manual selection by moderators). Unfortunately we can't do that right now with Drupal 5 (requires Drupal 6 and a change to the Signatures module).

So, the proposal is to rel="nofollow" all signature links for the time being. How do you feel about that?

Please vote in the poll for this topic.

gausarts's picture

He has: 11 posts

Joined: Jun 2009

All I heard about dofollow is mostly bad in google's eyes for site's owners. They may be penalized as some link farms. Not sure myself with all these SEO stuffs. I am just about to learn here. As a noob, I do follow your best considerations Smiling

They have: 1 posts

Joined: Jun 2009

It requires a lot of moderator attention to remove spam, and even determine what is and is not spam.They may be penalized as some link farms.Thank's....

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

LMAO. This is exactly the sort of post we're trying to get rid of here. This one even copied bits of posts from further up in this same topic! Usually they're at least clever enough to copy something from another site.

RTFVerterra's picture

He has: 109 posts

Joined: Dec 2008

I am here for contents and sense of community dofollow or nofollow doesn't matter to me. I suggest you apply rel=nofollow to discourage anyone whose sole purpose is to establish link rather than to participate active discussion.

They have: 2 posts

Joined: Jun 2009

I think that it would be best to do the whole NO_FOLLOW on all sig links and post links until Drupal 6 is implemented.

I am here to learn and tell more about what i do, rather than to gain links.

CRUSH

They have: 83 posts

Joined: Nov 2007

According to me without nofollow is good and which give some bonus to the forum users. Also like sitepoint and digitepoit if u maintain, can keep the equality... Kick them for life and send some infractions found bad quality post....appoint some more moderators....

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

We'd definitely like to be able to reward our regular members with the followed link. It's just a matter of balancing that with discouraging spammers and low quality posts. There are several levels of spam that we're dealing with here:

  1. The outright spam - the blatant, obvious spam posts are removed by moderators. We wouldn't expect this activity to change.
  2. The borderline spam - this is the stuff that doesn't look like spam at first glance but actually is. For example, we get a lot of people copying and pasting content from other sites. Some will even copy & paste content from further up in the same topic. If signatures weren't followed this type of post would probably disappear.
  3. The signature link spam - these are the posts that technically aren't spam. They are just low quality, often incoherent posts that add nothing to the discussion. Many will repeat or rephrase what others have already said. There would probably be much less of this type of post if we nofollowed signature links. These posters add nothing to the discussion and have no intention of really participating in the forums. They're just here for the signature link.

Problems in the first two categories are dealt with by moderators. We do suspect that the amount of the #2 type of spam above would decrease significantly if signatures were nofollowed. This would allow moderators to concentrate on other things.

The third category is something we can't really do much about right now. Technically there is nothing wrong with these posts, but they do clutter up the forum with meaningless content that isn't useful for readers.

They have: 83 posts

Joined: Apr 2009

Dear megan,
There are many strategies to stop spam, different forum apply different one. However, i have suggestion.
You can set a time period and no of post count for new user's to be allowed to add signatures and link in there post. You can apply something like a new user must be a member for about one month and must have 50 quality post to be considered to add signature and link to their post.
For spammers this will a long wait and huge target to start spamming.This is only my suggestion. And it wont bother real users who will join your forum to share and learn.

greg's picture

He has: 1,581 posts

Joined: Nov 2005

articlemaster wrote:
You can set a time period and no of post count for new user's to be allowed to add signatures and link in there post.
This would perhaps be the ideal scenario, but unfortunately Drupal 6 is required for this level of control.
At the moment, on Drupal 5, only "no follow" to all sig links can be added.

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

That's pretty much it. Although, I'd like to allow everyone to have a signature immediately. Just because it helps to get to know people right away and they don't have to wait to participate fully in the community. What we would like to do is rel=nofollow until users have proven themselves to be genuine.

She has: 12 posts

Joined: Jun 2009

I'm amenable with your proposals. Even though I was never been a moderator I know how hard your job is especially in controlling spammers. This forum has a little spammers compared to other forums that I've been gone through and it is really annoying to see those uncontrolled spammers. I think this must be stopped and should go on to your nofollow proposals.

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

Google is recommending this strategy as well:

google wrote:
Consider nofollowing the links on untrusted user profile pages. This makes your site less attractive to anyone trying to pass PageRank from your site to their spammy site. Spammers seem to go after the low-hanging fruit, so even just nofollowing new profiles with few signals of trustworthiness will go a long way toward mitigating the problem. On the flip side,you could also consider manually or automatically lifting the nofollow attribute on links created by community members that are likely more trustworthy, such as those who have contributed substantive content over time.

Substitute "forum signatures" for "untrusted user profile pages". Actually, we should check our user profile pages too...

Really, we shouldn't be passing value to these links because we certainly don't trust them. Regular participating members who have proven to be valuable yes, but not new ones.

Michael James Swan's picture

He has: 400 posts

Joined: May 2008

I agree with all of the above and think that it would be a great idea.

I know that i am agreeing knowing that i have been warned on a few occasions but i have been giving more to the community also. Smiling

He has: 24 posts

Joined: Apr 2006

Now this forum add links only good post so it not need to add nofollow links on signature.

If you use nofollow links, lots of members stop actively participating this forum. Very popular forum digitalpoint.com not use nofollow links on their signature.

greg's picture

He has: 1,581 posts

Joined: Nov 2005

sarpras wrote:
If you use nofollow links, lots of members stop actively participating this forum
No forum on any website should be there to "provide" do-follow sig links for members/visitors.
I fully accept it's a bonus if they do, but forums are for "discussions". Providing advice, helping others, asking questions and providing resources (etc).

If people would leave simply because their sig links become no-follow, what does that say about the reason they are here? Surely they are only here for the sig links if they leave the forum due to no-follow sig links?

Besides, what is the big deal about forum sig with do-follow? Google barely takes notice of them even if they are do-follow. And if your website promotions are relying on forum sig links then you should probably be on a webmaster forum anyway to learn how to promote a website properly, not just meaningless tactics like sig links and directories.

I'm not wanting to sound harsh or offend those who like sig links with do-follow, but this is not what a forum is all about - at all. A forum is a community to discuss, and the forum sigs are there to allow other forum users to see links your site/blog/latest article, and NOT to get it listed on search engines.

Megan's picture

She has: 11,419 posts

Joined: Jun 1999

I agree. We may have fewer posters but the quality should go up. I wouldn't mind if all the people who believe forum signatures are a good SEO tactic stopped posting. Then we'd have much better advice in our SEO and marketing forums, rather than people continually giving poor advice (post on forums, submit to directories etc.)

They have: 13 posts

Joined: Aug 2009

I also agree with that, to be really really honest the only reason I joined this website was to use it as an area to stuff with back links. My first posts were set out with a long drawn out story filled with page links back to my web site.

Then somebody knocked my links off and made me mime the words you ******* ****, but now that I have used this site twice im enjoying it ... so who cares if there are evil people in here destroying my Black SEO devilish tricks ... and the signature links dont matter either.

Lets enjoy.

PS. Anyone got any tricks let me know anyway while im here ... no harm in asking.

greg's picture

He has: 1,581 posts

Joined: Nov 2005

Pixeland wrote:
Anyone got any tricks let me know anyway while im here ... no harm in asking.
Honest and totally professional advice is stop being an arse and using black hat.

You admitted here you gave up because we deleted your spammy links. And most other sites and forums do too. Search engines are spending millions of dollars researching, developing and implementing major changes to counter black hat techniques.
To give the decent websites credit and ban the bad ones. The bad techniques will bite you on the arse eventually, and the domain and site will be penalised or banned and blacklisted.

All that brain power and time spent thinking of devious ways to write forum and blog posts with subtle links and keywords for your benefit. And not only do you get naff all for it if the post is left alone, but most times it'll get deleted anyway.

A complete waste of your brain resources, time and effort that could be spent learning better and more professional methods that not only return decent results, but will do so for the future.
Spam and similar tactics are a temporary and quick cheap method of getting a few low quality links and hits.
And most humans wont visit them either. I see a spam post on another forum or blog and simply ignore it, as will most people.

I know people who have had a website online for 2-3 months, up to PR4 and thousands of hits a day. And got there without using any pointless pissy about black hat spam tactics like posting meaningless links in a forum.

Besides the fact it's a cheap trick, doesn't it bore you having to go round forums posting meaningless drivel to get a few crappy low quality hits?
It is very much like going around the streets picking pennies off the floor trying to raise a few ££.

They have: 13 posts

Joined: Aug 2009

Well thats true, it has been knocked down to page 5 and 6 from page one ... it was slowly loosing ground two months ago and has now been dropped even for the main domain name which is Qindex, then I tried escaping that and set up new hosting to hide from Google and changed to Qintro.co.uk then that got no place, so i dumped it and bought Qintro.net and low and behold it failed to reach page one ... so im now on Qintro.com and switched off from the qindex.co.uk.

To be honest yet again ... the whole carry on has had me on page one of Google for a few months and now the same old story ... it been over stuffed with rubbish and its way back to page 2009 BC.

So my plan ... i'll keep an eye on what you guys are up to while i go back and forward cleaning up the mess on Qintro. BUT thats as far as im going with Qintro.com

Time for a new website on photography ... pass your comments on that before its on a downward slope, http://www.pixeland.co.uk/

BUT ... In all this I have learned a few good things, I started off with a page with three tables and continued to learn other things. After 3 years of hunting down how to get Googles page one ... I learned photoshop, dreamweaver etc.

Thanks John

NickD's picture

They have: 56 posts

Joined: May 2009

Why are you changing your domain because your rankings drop? Its natural to experience an "up down up effect" especially with the type of link building it sounds like you are doing, bear in mind that when you post a link on a forum google finds it, then other people post new threads, which pushes your thread off the first page in the catagory, then google comes back and says "wheres that link" oh its gone, It takes a while for it to find the link again. also the more sigs with links that are added to the thread will dilute the worth of your link.

If you thought your domains were penailised or sandboxed you were very very likely wrong. It seems like you need to think about your link building strategy, not buying a new domain. Forums are not really worth using as a linking strategy, I have my links in my sig as free links are free links, but is it worth spamming a forum to get links of this quality? no way, you would be better off looking at article submission.

NickD's picture

They have: 56 posts

Joined: May 2009

Pixeland, Who does your on site seo?
I checked the optimisation of your home page and its pretty bad, If I was you I would seriously think about using someone else. I have attached a report of the optimisation below for you to take a look at. You have a density of over 12% for the keyword web design. 1.2% is considered optimal for google. 12% is enough to get you dropped from the index for spamming.

If you are interested in outsourcing your seo, give me a ring or email me.
We offer a very competetive reseller deal.

They have: 13 posts

Joined: Aug 2009

Thank you for taking the time to look over the page, I was using webconfs.com for percentages ... I went back for a look and saw 9% for the word WEB and 8% for DESIGN, from that I thought all was ok.

I'll try cutting it back a bit and hope that cures the problem ...

I really just want this page up for phrase DUNDEE WEB DESIGNINGS for the time being.

Thanks for the advice.

They have: 1 posts

Joined: Aug 2011

To be honest yet again ... the whole carry on has had me on page one of Google for a few months and now the same old story ... it been over stuffed with rubbish and its way back to page 2009 BC.
electric dog fence

Want to join the discussion? Create an account or log in if you already have one. Joining is fast, free and painless! We’ll even whisk you back here when you’ve finished.