I spent much of yesterday sitting on a bench, blog hopping from my tablet. In my travels I came across a very cool post. As I scrolled down the page to leave a comment, I noticed the blogger had a special message for readers. “Unfortunately, due to Google’s updated policies I will have to limit the number of my replies…”
Of course this stopped me in my tracks. WTH? I’m really bloody nosy, so I had to ask. The blogger was kind enough to point me to the post that influenced her decision. The Post About Comment Spam, lead me to a Matt Cutts video and Google’s webmaster guidelines.
Now I’m familiar with both this part in the guidelines and the video, but I was curious as to how it was interpreted in such a way that the final decision was made to not say thank you to readers who leave comments. So I watched the video and read that part of the guidelines again. I’d like to know your take on it. Obviously everyone interprets things differently and of course everyone has a right to their own opinions. I’ll share my opinion on this later in this post and I’d really like to know your opinion.
Here is the need to know from Google
According to Google’s quality guidelines:
Engage in good practices like the following:
Preventing and removing user-generated spam on your site
If you’d like to take a look, here is the link to the google webmaster general guidelines.
The guidelines on user generated spam outlines:
Some examples of spammy user-generated content include:
#3 Comment spam on blogs
There’s also this video that I suggest watching. Under the video is my take on whether you should thank your readers.
My Interpretation of the Google Guidelines
In my humble opinion, the above relates to those comments created by spammers looking for a backlink to their crap business site or their client’s site that they’re being paid to build backlinks for.
But it also relates to those bloggers who are only looking for a place to promote their blog or gain a new follower. You know what I’m referring to right? Those comments that say “great blog, found you on so-so please follow me back”.
I don’t publish those crap comments. My comment section is dofollow. Those leaving comments do receive a dofollow link from me, which tells google, that “yes, i vouch for this person and will siphon some of my PageRank to them willingly.”
It’s not much and frankly, the lower the link appears on a page the smaller amount of pagerank goes to that person. Think .00000067. This is why I do not link the names to websites in my comment section. I rather pass that teeny tiny bit of pagerank to your post. But let’s keep in mind, I don’t have much of a pagerank myself. LOL.
I don’t see where Google is actually looking at the comment’s words. It seems to me they’re only looking at the links placed within the comment.
Now the Post About Comment Spam mentions
A key component to Google’s new rules is commenting. When you receive or allow a comment on your blog you need to make sure that it adds value and deserves to be there.
Now I didn’t catch this anywhere in the references mentioned above. I can tell you Google expects your affiliate posts to be of value.
Our Webmaster Guidelines advise you to create websites with original content that adds value for users.
You can find the guidelines on affiliate programs here.
Now I can see where it may be interpreted that short comments can be considered spam, but I don’t think it actually is.
And I’m not knocking Deby’s post about comment spam. She makes really good valid points. As a search engine marketer, I have to agree, comments should add value to the post. We should not be leaving crap comments on blogs.
But it’s not all black and white. There has to be compromise, because I’m also a blogger.
As a blogger, can I really consider a comment left thanking me for writing the post as a spam/crap comment? Should I not publish the comment of someone who took the time to read my post and share it across social media?
I appreciate those comments (from actual bloggers since I write for bloggers) and those shares. It’s why I use Commentluv so I can return the thanks by promoting that person’s recent post. So yes, I will publish them, because I don’t see those comments as hurting my blog’s SEO.
And if we were to follow the line of thinking that a simple thank you comments are spam, then we are spamming our own blogs, which makes the first blog I mentioned correct in deciding she would not respond to all comments.
But how can you add value to your blog when responding to a comment that simply thanks you?
Ya know, without looking crazy. Think, cashier at the store saying Thank you for shopping with us and you in turn launch into the importance of food shopping. Crazy much?
Do I ignore the comment and not thank the reader? I won’t lie, I have delayed in responding to thank yous and been quick about answering those comments with questions, but only because I’m pressed for time, not because I’m ignoring the comment. If I could +1 the person’s thank you right away so I can let them know I acknowledged it, I would. But as it is, sometimes those comments have to wait until I have more time.
Bottom line: I will always respond to comments, even if I’m not timely about it. I will not publish comments looking for a backlink.
Let’s turn it over to you now.
How do you interpret the info included from Google? Do you think thanking your readers hurts your blog’s seo?
Do you respond to short comments? There’s no right or wrong answer, I’m just