Thursday, December 12, 2013

POST or PERISH! Link Building Etiquette.

I love our blog.  Maybe it's the holidays that brings out the love in me.

I know, I know... maybe our blog isn't as slick and fancy as TMZ's website or have the kind of traffic Perez Hilton does but, we do alright.
We have literally tens of thousands of visitors and we continue to grow daily. The bigger our audience gets, the more comments we receive. In our case, the comments people submit get sent to a sort of "blog purgatory" to await moderation.  This just allows me to read and approve them before they are posted up, it helps keep the nonsense to a minimum. Some nonsense I like, but mostly from myself.

Some people like to ask questions, some like to say thanks for something they've learned but there are those who have a more devious intent. What's happened in recent years is that some SEO freaks (search engine optimization) have conjectured that using the comments section of ranking blogs to post their own websites and products could actually help their own search engine rankings. The sites and products are often posted in the form of links along with the comments, something a reader can click on which takes them to another web page.

Sometimes links can be useful

Whether links help them or not t is a different subject, what's interesting is the way people go about trying to get them past our moderation.
Now, I know that people are going to try to get things mentioned in there sometimes and I'm sure I've dropped my company name in certain online conversations so, I understand. I only ask that people read some of the article, maybe have something at least partially relevant to say and at the end of the day,  I will usually let the comment post.

There is only one simple statement provided on our blog to give them guidance:

"If you're planning on dropping a link, be thoughtful about your comment or it won't be posted."

The REAL fun is getting to read all of these comments and seeing the many different methods people utilize to get their brands or items mentioned. Let me show you what I mean.
Here was a comment submitted in response to an article we posted about Cool New Tools and Gadgets:

"Nice post with good Gadgets mentioned. Similar Gadgets and much more are also available at iGadgetech"

-Imran39's Blog

Not bad. This individual gave us a small compliment and posted their own link. It wasn't completely gratuitous so, I let that one post up. I have to admit, it may have been that little bit of brown-nosing at the beginning that helped get them through.

But sometimes we get comments like this one in the comments to our blog about sealing masonry:
"Interesting Blog!!! Keep up the good work. STONERA Systems – Sealers for Stone & Tile are proud Indian manufacturers that produce a variety of excellence sealing products to protect and enhance surfaces including natural stone, marbles & stone. Sealer for stone"-Chandra Dsp   

Um.... okay, so you already know I'm a sucker for a compliment but, seriously? A couple of nice words followed up by a paragraph about how wonderful your masonry sealer company is, links included?
Yeah, sorry. That's just a little too much SPAM for me.

But it gets worse, some people don't even bother trying to kiss up to me! (I know, right?)
Don't try coming to this party without bringing at least a bag of crappy chips or stale beers!
Take a look at this brazen party-crasher:

"Are you facing to plumbing problems?"
-Plumber Ipswich

How DARE you!  Trying to lure away my customer base without even so much as a nod or a handshake?! That's some double D size SPAMitude. 
You're are the Spamela Andersen of SPAM, mister 'Plumber Ipswich'.

Oh, and it doesn't stop there. These folks know more than one way to shish-kabob a kitten (I'm bad at euphemisms). Sometimes they attempt even more stealthy methods of getting their voices heard:

"How can i find remodel contractors ideas ,to make home look beautiful with bathroom remodeling, kitchen reconstruct etc.?"
-Mark Roger

This is the next level of sneakiness. Notice the words "remodel contractors" are a little different color? Well, that's because it was a link to a construction website and he's using those keywords in an effort to drive more traffic his way. He wants his company to show up in search engine results when people Google those terms. Does it work? Maybe or maybe not, but he broke the cardinal rule (no gratuitous compliments) and it looks like he didn't even read our blog.
(*Note: If you click it now it goes to our website. I wasn't going to give this guy any of my traffic. He didn't even bother to tell me how wonderful and awesome he thinks we are.)

That being said, THIS GUY's comment got posted:

"Great article! haha I love it. I'm not much of a do it myself kind of guy. I've been checking out  toilet repair in Prescott AZ so I don't have to be in the same room as that horrible smell! Thanks!!"
-Spencer Shawn

Yes,  'toilet repair in Prescott AZ' was a link to whatever lump of dog crap he wanted us to scoop up BUT.... he actually read the article about bathroom toilet repair and gave me a very nice compliment so...You're welcome, Spencer Shawn! (Does that name sound backwards to you too?)

Hey I have an idea, let's play a game. It's time for another stimulating round of.....  *trumpets playing*

Medieval trumpets


(I don't know how to make trumpets play in the background while I blog so, just make that sound your head like I did..... or you can click on the picture and magic will happen. Seriously. Try it.)

See if you can spot which of these posts had just enough of the right stuff to slip into our comments section and which ones were banished straight to the recycling bin with the rest of the trash.

Here's our first contender:
"Hey there! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about masonry in your area. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about masonry. Keep it up! This is a good read. You have such an interesting and informative page. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. CMUs can be manufactured to provide a variety of surface appearances. They can be colored during manufacturing or stained or painted after installation. They can be split as part of the manufacturing process, giving the blocks a rough face replicating the appearance of natural stone, such as brownstone. CMUs may also be scored, ribbed, sandblasted, polished, striated (raked or brushed), include decorative aggregates, be allowed to slump in a controlled fashion during curing, or include several of these techniques in their manufacture to provide a decorative appearance. Whether you have a specific design in mind, or are just looking to spruce up your property in general"

-Jackie Champion

Did you guess PERISH? Yeah... I had to. Jackie started off with a lot of ass-kissing and boy, I sure was tempted. Unfortunately for Jackie, that full-on description of a product combined with sneaking in some links to boot proved to be his downfall. I believe there's such a thing as dropping a hint and then there's beating someone over the head repeatedly with it until they begin to make animal sounds.

Try this one:

"Can I just say what a relief to discover somebody that genuinely knows what they are discussing online. You definitely know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people ought to read this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you are not more popular given that you surely possess the gift. Wachovia 
Also see my website :: bad credit payday loans

-the guy

POST, right?..... nope, PERISH!

Seriously? Clearly 'the guy' didn't read my article. He doesn't even seem to know what the heck the article was about. He just a dropped slew of very vague references to the subject matter calling them "issues" and a very odd sentence about understanding 'this side of your story'.
What the hell? My side of the story... am I on trial here?
This wasn't testimony, it was an article about kitchen remodeling. If that wasn't weird enough, the bugger even had the chutzpah to say he's surprised we are NOT more popular?! How does HE know how popular WE are!!

He wraps it up with a lame link to his crappy 'bad credit payday loan' site!
Sorry, 'the guy'. Why don't you go post your comments to a more 'popular' blog that attracts bad credit laden jury members in need of a payday loan, you sonova...

*Deep breaths*....Sorry.

In contrast, here was a much more concise and relative question posted to what we wrote regarding tile installation:

"Can someone help me to discover more details about how to find a way to decorating my floor with tiles?"


You think we posted this one, right? Did you guess we also answered the question?

Well, you'd be CORRECT!
But, maybe not for the reason you might suspect. Forget the bad grammar, which sometimes gets a comment thrown out because it's too difficult to decipher ("find a way to decorating my floor"?.... yikes.)
See that massive space after his comment and at the bottom, just the word "tiles" underlined? Yup, you guessed it. That was the link to his own tile installation website. He not only tried to pass himself off as an innocent reader looking for some answers, but he conveniently posted a link to answer to his very own question. It's still a link to tile work, ours... not his.

That being said, I felt I had no choice but to post it up just so that I could respond to his request to 'help discover more details about decorating my floor with tile'

"Maybe try clicking the link you dropped into your comment? Yeah, I caught you."
-Daniel Batal

Oh, speaking of grammar, could someone help me with this one?

"I'm gladsome to mature so more serviceable and informative assemblage on your website.  
travertine flooring"
-Rafael Oliveira

I.... hold on... what?... Nope, I'm not even going to try to figure that one out.
One could argue that this might conflict with my decision to let a similar comment through. He left what I think was a nice compliment before his 'travertine flooring' link but, seriously... "Gladsome"? That word sounded too much like 'Flotsam' or 'Jetsam' and I'm not sure I actually know what those words mean either.

Okay, last one. POST or PERISH:
"Hey! I am glad to stop by your site and know more about kitchen remodeler. Keep it up! This is a good read. You have such an interesting and informative page. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about kitchen remodeler in your area. Granite, cherry, stainless, tile… so many options… 
we make it happen with you with a kitchen remodeler in Manchester"

-Jackie Champion

Alright, this person said some nice things and actually may have read at least some of the article...  tossed a small link in at the end... it kind of within the guidelines for getting posted so I guess it's... PERISH!

Did you NOT see the signature? It's our old pal Jackie again! You know, I'll give Jackie credit for not having the full paragraph of product description from the previous attempt but I KNEW that name looked familiar and let me just say; I'm onto you, Jackie... I'm onto you.

Well, there you have it. That's the ridiculous late night game I get to play except there aren't any cool prizes to take home, only the satisfaction of knowing I kept the internet a little more SPAM-free than I found it.

In case I made it seem as if  all blog comments are just people trying to sell or plug something, that's just not the case. Here's one from our Paint Color Ideas article just this past week:

"OMG.. this is wonderful. I always knew that Pottery Barn had a "look" but was hard pressed to translate it. And you use photos! Exactly what I needed (I'm a visual learner). Thank you for doing so! I'm painting my living room now (yes, 14 days before Xmas) and will follow every word!
Thank you Thank you Thank you"

Yup. That's what makes it all worthwhile.

Happy Holidays! ...(I'm watching you)


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If you're planning on dropping a link, be thoughtful about your comment or it won't be posted.