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Old 12-05-2004   #1
Dave Hawley
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Page not in Google for "Blue Tomatoes"

Do forum signatures really help with Google ranking?

I have set-up and page which is orphaned except for some forum signature links which all use the anchor text "Blue Tomatoes". I think we all agree that anchor text is a powerful means of being found for a specified term in Google. Also, "Blue Tomatoes" is highly unlikely to be competitive.

The page has been spidered and added to Google's database. In other words it can be found via a search.

I can find one of the forum pages that has the sig link by searching Google for "Blue Tomatoes".

I can find the page, being linked to, via a Google search for some text on the page or in the Title.

However, the page itself cannot be found via a Google search for "Blue Tomatoes".

I know this goes against common belief, but I'm looking for some contructive debating only and don't want the common 'shoot the messenger' posts.
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Old 12-06-2004   #2
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Dave, you have two potential issues here:

1. link indexing

Forum posts are on a continual conveyor belt into deep and less-regularly spidered content. So you would have to ensure all of the forum posts were indexed before maknig a statement on their ranking impact.

2. Google Sandbox

Even still, you then have the issue of the "Google Sandbox" - ranking of the pages with the link, rather than target page, is a common sandboxing symptom. There's a lot of debate as to whether it is the actual links, or the target page that is sandboxed - but whiever way it is, Sandboxing can last a good 3-4 months.



Ultimately, you would have to run the test a good few months to be able to say that the results were meaningful.

Also - for a SEO test, I would not use an orphan page, just to be on the safe side.

2c.
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Old 12-06-2004   #3
Dave Hawley
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I totally agree it's likely too early to draw any definite conclusions. However, I interested know why the forum pages show (are indexed) and the page itself can be found via a search for the Title or some on page text, but not the anchor text from the forum pages that are already indexed.

I hear what you are saying about 'sandbox' (not fully convinced there is such a thing though), but this does not happen when/if the same test is done via a normal page. That is, a link from a web page that is not a forum signature. At least it never happened this way a few months ago when I tested.

I think tomorrow I will set up another orphaned page and link to it only from another page on my site. It would be a good idea perhaps if this was done from a page that is not on my site. Any takers?

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I would not use an orphan page
It's not really an orphaned page as it has link from many forum signatures. IMO, it is vital that it stays this way else one could never be conclusive.

Last edited by Dave Hawley : 12-06-2004 at 05:52 AM.
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Old 12-06-2004   #4
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It's certainly a worthwhile experiment - the issue of the links ranking for the term, rather then target page, is something I've seen on pages other than forums.
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Old 12-06-2004   #5
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Dave, it would help to have some specifics here. What are the pages, what are the searches and so on.

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Do forum signatures really help with Google ranking?
I think the bigger problem is the idea that Google even knows what a forum is. There are certainly clues it can use to identify content that comes out of common forum settings. But there's plenty of non-standard forum software, as well.

I think it's more likely that Google and other search engines try to identify commonalities in links. A forum signature will be repetitive, same anchor text, same domain name and so on. Fairly easy to say, "I see this link to page A over 100 times, but since it's all in the same style, same words, same domain, I'm going to combine all references into one."
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Old 12-06-2004   #6
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Dave - how old is the page; and how old are the forum links?
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Old 12-06-2004   #7
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I think the bigger problem is the idea that Google even knows what a forum is. There are certainly clues it can use to identify content that comes out of common forum settings. But there's plenty of non-standard forum software, as well.
I don't doubt for a moment that Google can identify a forum. It may well not be 100% accurate but that is not really relevant. It was not all that long ago that Google had a hard time with dynamic URL's etc and it now gets into most of this stuff.

Quote:
I think it's more likely that Google and other search engines try to identify commonalities in links. A forum signature will be repetitive, same anchor text, same domain name and so on. Fairly easy to say, "I see this link to page A over 100 times, but since it's all in the same style, same words, same domain, I'm going to combine all references into one."
Yes, that is very likely indeed. This is one of the reasons I'm of the belief that Forum sigs are largely ignored when it comes to passing any credit for a SERP boost and/or PR. One theory I have is that Google will take one forum sig only and pass any credit, if there is any to pass.

However, at this point, I'm interested only in the reasoning to the points I have made in my first 2 posts. There are some glaring contradictions there if we are to believe, what at least the vocal majority/minority say. That is, all forum signatures do pass PR and give a rank boost.
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Old 12-06-2004   #8
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Dave, there could be a problem with an orphan page that doesn't link OUT to anything at all. Indexing those as normal pages would open the door to doorways getting into the index and ranking - even when linked to with hidden links, if you get my drift.

How about setting up two test pages, both linked to from the same place. Page one would be an "orphan" page that does not link out to anything. Page two would be a page that links out to anything at all - even Google or Adobe - just so there's a flow of Page Rank through the page.

I know this is not about PR, that it's about anchor text. But having a dead end page that impedes the normal flow of PR might be a factor that could skew the results of the basis of the test, which is for measuring whether anchor text links from forums work.
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Old 12-06-2004   #9
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Hi Dave,
try it with &filter=0 and see what happens
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Old 12-06-2004   #10
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Marcia, sorry I should have stated more clearly rather than said 'orphaned'. The page has no other links to it other than the forum signatures. The page itself however, does have a link back to our home page.

ThouShaltSeo, I have/did try with &filter=0 using "Blue Tomatoes" as the search phrase. The page in question is nowhere to be seen.

When searching Google for "Blue Tomatoes", the forum pages (that have the sig link) are all throughout the SERP's though. The page (being linked to via the sig link) can only be found when searching for some on page text and/or the Title. In other words the Forum sig pages and the test page has itself been spidered, indexed and placed in the SERP's by Google.



I would really like to set up a very similiar page and have it linked to only via one normal page (again using "Blue Tomatoes" as the anchor text) that is not on my site. I'm thinking that this page, when indexed, will show in the SERP's for "Blue Tomatoes".

If someone will drop me an email I will send them the URL that can be linked to. Any takers?
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Old 12-21-2004   #11
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The page set-up to prove if forum signatures count for anything toward ranking is looking VERY much like my last 2. That is, forum sigs do little/nothing toward Google rank boosting. Not news to me, but is for a lot of SEO "professionals".

Re-cap;

I can find at 2 of the forum pages that has the sig link by searching Google for "Blue Tomatoes".

I can find the page, being linked to, via a Google searching for some text on the page or in the Title.

The page itself cannot be found via a Google search for "Blue Tomatoes".

Looks like Google are not as silly as some would have us believe

Last edited by Dave Hawley : 12-21-2004 at 04:38 AM.
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Old 12-21-2004   #12
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Dave, you've only been at it for 2 weeks.

The "SEO professionals" usually work no much longer timescales than that. I've already warned you this sort of experiment is going to require *months* before you can draw any potentally useful conclusions.

Danny Sullivan has also warned that even then more information is required on your experiment to even see if it is an appropriate methodology.

All you are concluding so far is precisely what you have been advised - that new links will not impact immediately on Google.

Your logic so far:

1. SEO professionals state links can take a very long time to impact.
2. I've set up some links and they haven't impacted in a very short time.
3. SEO professionals must therefore be wrong.

Come on, Dave - you seem an intelligent enough bloke, but less of the trolling and try actually listening to what people tell you.

Otherwise all you're doing is throwing about your own ignorant self-convictions on SEO about. You can do better than that on an SEO forum that covers the spectrum of the industry - you can benefit from it if you really want to.
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Old 12-21-2004   #13
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The experiment is not completed and I have done similar on pages that were left much longer than one month. The results are always the same.

Quote:
All you are concluding so far is precisely what you have been advised - that new links will not impact immediately on Google.
You are ignoring the facts that the pages are being indexed and ranked by Google. This happened within 48 hours, so the "new links" theory doesn't seem to hold any water either.

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Come on, Dave - you seem an intelligent enough bloke, but less of the trolling and try actually listening to what people tell you.
I'm sorry you see it that way Brian. I always listen to others, however I rarely take what I'm told on face value only. It is your suggested 'way' that has caused so many myths about Google to perpetuate.

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Otherwise all you're doing is throwing about your own ignorant self-convictions on SEO about. You can do better than that on an SEO forum that covers the spectrum of the industry - you can benefit from it if you really want to.
Far from it, in fact it yourself and others that are "ignorant" and I believe you could do much better.

If you wish to believe that forum signatures will boost your Google rankings that is your prerogative, but it is certainly not I that is being ignorant.

Last edited by Dave Hawley : 12-21-2004 at 07:05 AM.
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Old 12-21-2004   #14
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Funny when I did a search for "Blue Tomatoes" sew was number 2

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Old 12-21-2004   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
You are ignoring the facts that the pages are being indexed and ranked by Google. This happened within 48 hours, so the "new links" theory doesn't seem to hold any water either.
Nope - this was stated that it was a common phenomenon of the Google Sandbox.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Hawley
I'm sorry you see it that way Brian. I always listen to others, however I rarely take what I'm told on face value only. It is your suggested 'way' that has caused so many myths about Google to perpetuate.

Far from it, in fact it yourself and others that are "ignorant" and I believe you could do much better.
Dave, this is my point. You walk into a community of SEO's, then smack them down with pointless comments about how you "know" best because you ran a 2 week experiment that "proved" all the experienced commercial-level SEO's wrong.

The bottom line is that you are not listening, yet you are perpetuating your own self-created convictions. Your conclusions prove nothing - other than what you have been told is justified, and that your own interpretations are unsustainable.

You are definitely right that it's worth learning for yourself - but it's also worth being careful not to jump into premature conclusions, and not be overly dismissive of experience.

Just 2c.
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Old 12-21-2004   #16
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Dave, this is my point. You walk into a community of SEO's, then smack them down with pointless comments about how you "know" best because you ran a 2 week experiment that "proved" all the experienced commercial-level SEO's wrong.
No Brian, this is a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. If you yourself had listened, you would realize just how wrong that statement is. I'll let you work that one out.


Quote:
Nope - this was stated that it was a common phenomenon of the Google Sandbox.
You want me to prove something by using an unproven theory and a theory that differs among the SEO "pros"??? Ok, well I just did and going by the "Are you in the Sandbox?" test I'm not.

Quote:
You are definitely right that it's worth learning for yourself - but it's also worth being careful not to jump into premature conclusions, and not be overly dismissive of experience.
Then please share the results of your tests Brian.

Last edited by Dave Hawley : 12-21-2004 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 12-22-2004   #17
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just a friendly reminder to everyone that there is a handy ignore feature.
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Old 12-22-2004   #18
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And another friendly reminder that everyone can debate, but don't get personal. Deal with the facts presented.

As for those facts, Dave -- you're not showing us anything we can look at. What are the pages you linked to? What is the exact query on Google? Did you use quotes, not? I can't tell any of this from what you've posted so far.
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Old 12-22-2004   #19
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These answers are in my original post, but here they are again.

What are the pages you linked to?
There is only one and its orphaned except for the many forum signature links with Blue Tomatoes as the anchor text.


What is the exact query on Google?
"Blue Tomatoes"


Did you use quotes, not?
Yes.
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Old 12-22-2004   #20
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Whether or not this thread ever comes up with any answers, which I seriously doubt it will (and I do think argument for the sake of argument is a waste of time unless it's backed up by something substantial) - sometimes I think raising questions can have value in itself. For that reason I think this thread has value - not for argument's sake - but because the topic raises some good questions about which factors actually go into computing scoring for links.

Quote:
Do forum signatures really help with Google ranking?
If they do, would all count,the total number, or just one or a fraction?
How about multiple instances of anchor text - for all the pages, or just one from one particular forum?
How about PR? Add to PR of linked-to page from all, or discount all but one PR vote?
Does placement and location on the page of the link make a difference?
Does the topic make a difference?

Last edited by Marcia : 12-22-2004 at 10:45 AM.
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