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SEO and Comment Spam: A Cautionary Tale

April 25, 2011  

If your SEO and social media strategies run afoul of best-practices, you might have a bigger problem than diminished Google rankings: Your brand's reputation might take a very public hit. That's what happened after Adam Singer received this comment at his Future Buzz blog:

"Small businesses should focus more on the quality of their marketing campaigns because consumers are, indeed, conducting more research now than ever before. [Company] has tools that can help you monitor your results and offers insight on your campaign success! Here is a link to some of the [products] from [company]." [Editor's note: We've redacted the company and product names; Singer did not.]

Singer wasn't pleased. "It is inappropriate of you to leave a comment like this when the discussion section is respected by everyone else who contribute thoughtful, valuable comments and not simply try to push their wares," he noted. "You are trying to take but not give."

He approved the comment to make his point, and—hoping to begin a positive conversation—sent a snarky-but-friendly tweet to the offending company. "Thanks … for link spamming my blog comments. You'll provide a great example of what not to do for readers tomorrow."

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  • by Nick Stamoulis Tue Apr 26, 2011 via web

    This is a good lesson for everyone to learn! You are responsible for what goes out with you company name attached to it, even if you're not personally handling it. Make sure your outsourced SEO is being done by a white hat firm.

  • by Loren Weaver Tue Apr 26, 2011 via web

    Any professional SEO worth his salt is current on search ranking factors and aware that (at least for the last serveral years) virtually all blog comment sections are configured with "nofollow" links that are not counted by search engines (Google invented the "nofollow" attribute to combat link spam) and therefore no longer provide any SEO value. So the "shady" SEO company probably wasn't very good at SEO and was a bad hire in general.

    Blog posts should considered purely in the realm of Social Media and as a means of building trust and credibility for your brand and providing exposure to your content.

  • by Kelly Smith Tue Apr 26, 2011 via web

    Obviously, I had better leave a good comment here or the wrath of the SEO gods will be upon me! But I have to say that ANYTHING that is done with any kind of intent that is not authentic, genuinely purposeful and non promotional will always result in negative results. There may be a short term benefit for using black hat techniques, but they always come back to bite the offender in the end.

    Monitoring such activities presents a much bigger problem. When customers all want to "be found on the first page of Google" and the negative results will take months if not years for their consequences to be realized, the scammers will win and the legitimate marketers will lose out.

    And the opposite is true too: those who promise them such valuable first page real estate for just $149 per month and then deliver NOTHING! It leaves everyone with a bad taste in their mouth and distrust of the whole internet.

    It is so difficult to maintain any semblance of honesty in such a world. I have personally lost out on many projects for just such a reason as I will not make such false promises. I hope that everyone realizes the impact of everything they do and will hold to the part of the Boy Scout law that states "I will be honest."

    The principles of this are thousands of years old, yet the internet makes them more valuable than ever today.

  • by Andrew Broadbent Tue Nov 22, 2011 via web

    I agree with Nick

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