Matt Cutts Talks Blog Comments And Link Spam

    November 14, 2013
    Chris Crum
    Comments are off for this post.

If you run a blog, you no doubt come across spammy comments with links in them frequently. You may know that this can hurt your page in Google, but sometimes people leave comments with links that are actually relevant to the conversation. Perhaps they want to illustrate a point, or discussed the topic at length in their own blog post that they want to share. Perhaps it’s a relevant YouTube video.

Are you allowing these types of comments in? Are you putting a nofollow on all comment links? Should they really be nofollowed if they are in fact relevant?

Google’s Matt Cutts talks about comments with links in a new Webmaster Help video, but from the perspective of the person leaving the comments. A user submitted the following question:

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines discourage forum signature links but what about links from comments? Is link building by commenting against Google Webmaster Guidelines? What if it’s a topically relevant site and the comment is meaningful?

“I leave topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites all the time,” says Cutts. “So if somebody posts, you know, an SEO conspiracy theory, and I’m like, ‘No, that’s not right,’ I’ll show up, and I’ll leave, you know, a comment that says, ‘Here’s a pointer that shows that that’s not correct,’ or ‘Here’s the official word,’ or something like that. And I’ll just leave a comment with my name, and I’ll often even point to my blog rather than to Google’s webmaster blog or something like that because I’m just representing myself. So lots of people do that all the time, and that’s completely fine.”

“The sorts of things that I would start to worry about is, it’s better, often, to leave your name, so someone knows who they’re dealing with rather than you know, ‘cheap study tutorials’. You know, or ‘fake drivers license,’ or whatever the name of your business is,” he continues. “Often that will get a chillier reception than if you show up with your name.”

“The other thing that I would say is if your primary link-building strategy is to leave comments all over the web to the degree that you’ve got a huge fraction of your link portfolio in comments, and no real people linking to you then at some point, that can be considered a link scheme,” Cutts adds. “At a very high level, we reserve the right to take action on any sort of deceptive or manipulative link schemes that we consider to be distorting our rankings. But if your’e just doing regular organic comments, and you’re not doing it as a, you know, ‘I have to leave this many comments a day every single day because that’s what I’m doing to build links to my site,’ you should be completely fine. It’s not the sort of thing that I would worry about at all.”

I doubt that this video will do much to change people’s commenting habits, and prevent excessive comment spam, but at least it’s out there.

Bloggers are going to have to continue being aggressive with comment moderation and/or use nofollows on comment links if they don’t want spammy links making their pages look bad. Of course, if the spammy comments are there, the page will still look bad to users, and Google doesn’t want that either, regardless of whether or not links are passing PageRank.

At the same time, if you’re leaving a comment with a link, and aren’t trying to influence Google’s rankings, you shouldn’t really care if your link is nofollowed, right?

  • http://acnecaretreatment4u.blogspot.com/ care

    That’s really great information! Thanks a lot!

  • http://imspgh.com/ Jeremy Cid

    Thanks for the much needed clarification. I have a steady stream of news feeds blog feeds coming into my inbox every day, sorted by industry, specific terms and by client. Not only is this for commenting, but also to stay up to speed on trending topics within each industry. There are days where I don’t leave any comments at all, though I may read 30 blogs for a single client. It’s all about being discerning with what blogs you comment on and how the information on that page relates to the information on the site you’re linking too.

  • http://lawnservicenetwork.com Ron

    Hey Chris, Thank you for the post and clarification. We actually stumble across a good lawn care blog from time to time and add our two cents plus a link to our blog on the topic. Lately, I’ve wondered by doing so, are we doing something bad in the eyes of search engines. I guess if you follow the rule of “are you bringing something of value to the conversation” then you are ok.

    Thanks again,

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/full-service-seo Nick Stamoulis

    I read a bunch of SEO blogs every day and I chime in all the time. The link is great, obviously, but the biggest gain in the conversations you start with other people. I like hearing what other people have to say, what other opinions and approaches people take and how it turns out. Blog commenting should never really be about promoting your brand.

  • http://appmemory.com/ Md Shabbir

    The intention of blog comment to share some knowledge is fine, If you are doing for link, Its a problem.

  • http://appmemory.com/ Md Shabbir

    The intention of blog comment to share some knowledge is fine, If you are doing for link, Its a problem.

  • http://www.skin-care-solution.org Reuben

    At last something to clarify the commenting thing. Now I get a better picture of the whole thing. Google wants better interaction. Does putting names instead of keywords have anything to do with authorship or something?

  • John

    Google has really screwed up with their latest algo changes. They are making the assumption that everyone who uses the web is a webmaster, or put another way they are now punishing any blog or website that doesnt have a skilled “webmaster” managing it. This has completely sanatized the search results.

  • http://203kloan101.com Taylor Williams

    Thanks Chris, the problem with Google is they are trying to figure out ways to make us spend more money on AdWords. If I read a blog post and contribute to the overall discussions, I should have a right to leave whatever name or keyword reference I want. I understand that the useless automated crap commenting should always be looked at as spam, but shouldn’t the blog be penalized for allowing those kind of comments instead? If Google really wanted to clean up blog commenting, they should penalize the blog for allowing spam comments. But that would take away the real reason behind all these updates and efforts from Google, to get business owners who to spend more money on AdWords. They know who their buyers are, they are not bloggers or authors, they are business owners who spend money with SEOs, who then contribute to the overall links on the internet.

  • http://www.rameezulhaq.com M. Rameez Ul Haq

    I also have a word press blog and I also receive tons of spammy comments selling viagra and other stupid banned medicines or other services. Google should provide a way to report those websites to get rid of those spammers.

    :Irritated :S

  • Robin

    Our forum gets hit by spam and we remove all of it – but these same spammers spam other sites and link to our forum! How do we keep these links to our site (with anchor tags like Nike, Michael Kors, and other products they’re spamming for) from linking to us or HURTING us.

    Thank you.

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