The Guardian today is asking whether comment links are a form of spam after a London based SEO agency was apparently caught leaving spam comments linking to a clients website on the Guardian journalist Michael Pollitts’ personal blog.
Commenting on blogs for free evidently seemed the right move for the digital marketing firm Pancentric (in London) for its client, Beswicks Solicitors of Stoke-on-Trent. It targeted my blog on 16 April with a comment about a story entitled “A breath of fresh air”, about ozone.
“The idea of generating the ozone inside the sealed package is pretty inspired, really interesting,” the comment said, along with an email address for a “Paul Adkins” at Pancentric. But the comment author’s name was “selling a business” with a link to Beswicks’s website.
Pancentric turned out to be using a list of 500 blogs, The Ultimate DoFollow Blog List, put together by Stephan Miller in the US. This takes advantage of blogs that don’t use the Google-inspired “rel=’nofollow'” attribute created in 2005 to discourage spammed links (all the search engines’s algorithms now ignore any link with “nofollow” attached).
Every decent sized SEO company makes mistakes with link building & quality control, it’s impossible to manage campaigns perfectly every time and mistakes do happen. However the thing to do is hold your hands up, admit the mistake and promise to improve quality control in the future.
In this case the agency involved is trying to defend the strategy by saying that “blog commenting is a standard and widely practiced link-building technique”. I doubt many other UK agencies would agree.
This case also highlights precisely why you should never use dofollow blog lists. How many other journalists and Google employees blogs have made their way onto there?