Like Me? Follow Me.
For many bloggers, comments on their posts provide a valuable source of fresh content, encouraging interaction between them and their readers. In return for their contribution, commenters are usually given the chance to link through to a page of their choice - often the commenter's own personal blog. This give and take is the lifeblood of the blogosphere, keeping readers flowing between blogs and encouraging more visits to blogs by frequent, quality contributors.
Of course, the inevitable downside to this apparent links free-for-all is that us SEO types are drawn to any source of links like moths to a flame, and when we 'contribute' a comment, we're not all considerate enough to at least make it *look* like we want to add any value to the blog. We all have a different opinion of what exactly constitutes a 'spammy' comment; I've always considered the definition to be "when you have more to gain from the link than the blogger has to gain from posting your comment".
If you consider yourself a professional SEO remember that the comments you make could be read by hundreds, even thousands of users. Just as constructive commenting can generate a positive reaction from readers, spammy comments can generate a negative attitude towards the linked-to site. Is that really what your client (or employer, if you're in-house) is paying you to do? It's this sort of activity that means people are getting confused between SEO, 'spam', and (according to The Good Wife ) even murder!
Before you hit submit on that next comment, consider whether you've written one of the following. If you think you might have, press delete and start again, lest you be known as a dirty, murderous spammer.
The "That's not your real name"
The incredible compliment
The list of links
The completely off topic
The alternative alphabet
The total honesty
Ugg Boots For Women
(June 8th 2011 10:30am) says:
This is the first sign you'll get that a comment is spam. Where the commenter was asked his or her name, they entered a target keyword knowing that it will be used as anchor text for a link back to their site. Keywords in anchor text is an important part of linkbuilding but this is a misuse of the comment facility and as such tends to anger bloggers. A much better option is "Dave from *keyword*", a compromise many bloggers are happy to settle on.
"Wow, great post! I've been looking for information on this subject for a while now and this is the most illuminating article I've read yet!"
This spammer is hoping that the blogger will be so pleased with the compliment that they'll want to show it off to their other readers, ignoring any link spam thrown in with the comment. There's nothing wrong with being complimentary, of course, but make sure there's more substance to your comment than simple brown nosing.
"When a dissident near a girl hesitates, some dissident daydreams. Nimbo, the friend of Lila and Kafka, ceases to exist with a debutante over a waif. A philosopher wakes up, and some lowly snow meditates; however, an irreconcilable boy teaches the amour-propre. Indeed, a ruffian single-handledly graduates from the tea party near a cigar."
This spammer has simply thrown a random set of words together to make sentences that, while nonsense, are unique and so difficult for automatic spam filters to detect. However, most bloggers review their comments before manually approving them, and they'll likely remove obviously nonsense like this, even if it seems to contain relevant keywords at first glance.
"I disagree with your assertion because... *poorly thought out argument or anecdote*"
This is an arbitrary challenge to the content of the article - it'll likely be based on a personal anecdote and do a very poor job of arguing with your main point. The point is to goad the post's author into responding and starting a discussion / argument. Each reply from the blogger gives the spammer the opportunity to respond themselves, adding a new link to their site each time. It's a risky strategy as it relies on a certain amount of confrontation between the blogger and the spammer. Few companies would appreciate their SEO staff picking online fights on their behalf, so in most cases this is another technique to avoid.
"Thanks adding to the discussion around this subject, it is not discussed enough so every contribution is valuable."
Comments like this could be added to any blog and still make sense, while adding absolutely nothing to the post itself. It's one of the laziest and easiest to detect methods of comment spam, as spammers often use the same generic text in every comment. They may even use software to do this automatically en masse. The acceptance rate for this type of comment is typically very low, and sites that do accept them tend to have been targeted over time by other spammers.
"For many people who blog, the suggestions on their postings give a worthy supply of new load, encouraging communication between the readers of the blog and themselves. In compensation for their offering, contributors are often provided with the chance to link through to a chosen leaf - regularly the personal blog of the commenter."
This spammer has simply taken a section of the original post and reworded ('spun') it (often with nonsensical synonyms automatically generated by thesauruses in 'spinning' software). This should get it past a spam detector and may even go unnoticed at first, but any bloggers who realise what you're doing will be very unhappy as you've not only spammed them, you've tried to do it by plagiarising their own material. Very naughty.
World of Warcraft Gold
Womens Nike Air Max
Ugg Boots For Women
Many spam filters will pick up on this sort spam right away and those that do slip through will usually be picked up by comment moderators, who are likely to be annoyed with such blatant abuse of their blog. Any that do slip through the net will no doubt annoy readers, so best avoided altogether
<in response to a blog about cats>
"I love the iPhone 4! If you're looking to buy an iPhone 4 then there are websites that will allow you to buy the white iPhone 4 and the black iPhone 4 for very little! Buy iPhone 4!"
Just another list of links, jumbled up into a sentence to try to fool the spam detectors but easily detectable by moderators.
This spammer uses characters from various world alphabets, hoping the blogger will ignore the obvious link they'll include as part of the comment or as a "That's not your real name" and post the link to appeal to / engage with a wider world audience.
"Hello, love the site. I was hoping you'd consider linking to http://www.website.com as I feel the site is relevant and could be an excellent resource for your users. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to facilitate this. Thanks!"
This comment might be less underhanded than the others posted here, but it's just as inappropriate. If the blogger wants to be contacted with personal correspondence, they'll leave an email address or contact form for you do so. If not, they probably won't appreciate you using their comment form to try to pimp them out. If a link from that site would be truly valuable to you, then try to build a relationship with the blogger by leaving genuinely insightful comments that they'll be happy to moderate.
Remember, there's nothing wrong with benefitting from links earned from blog comments - the trade of a comment for a link (and the exposure and relationships that can help build) is what drives many writers to visit and interact with other blogs in their field. But as ambassadors for our clients' brands and visitors to someone else's online property, link builders need to act in an appropriate and respectful manner.
Add useful, interesting content to a blog instead of internet graffiti and you'll likely see your relationship and link building efforts flourish.