How to Avoid Google’s Wrath When Building Back-links Using Blog Commenting!

blog commenting for backlinksJust this Monday in our community time out discussion, I related a story of how a site owner contacted me asking to remove all links pointing to his site from my blog!

At first I was surprised why he wanted those links removed since we all do love backlinks – at least they are good for our search rankings or are they no more important!

However, I knew somehow that something must be wrong on his end, possibly Google’s wrath must have fallen on the site. And true to my presumption, when he later replied it was just as I thought.

RECOMMENDED: 5 Blog Commenting Mistakes to Avoid!

But then, his reply raised some questions in my heart but since I was more concerned with helping this person, I went on to remove the links and left it at that.

The Question of Building Backlinks with Blog Comments Revisited

But then, I saw a Comment by Harleena, who said,

“When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting? Personally, I doubt this could be the case, as then people will avoid commenting on each other’s blogs or sites, and the web would lose its meaning.

I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?”

This is in response to what the site owner said in his email (Harleena that was not said by me!). Here again is the graphic:

blog commenting problems graphic

Harleena’s question moved me to again consider this issue of building back-links with blog commenting as a strategy. Please note the issues in that question,

>>> When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting?

>>> I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?

I’m sure this is also a concern to you, right?

To me it was, at first, but a second look at the site concerned and Google’s demands, I discovered that this is not a problem for blogs and sites with good and valuable content!

This is made clear from Google’s Panda and Penguin Updates, which this site had, ran afoul of. (I wrote a detailed article comparing Google’s Panda and Penguin Update sometime ago. You are advised to read for better understanding of this issue.)

In this post I will simply highlight the possible areas our dear friend has violated Google’s terms which warranted the sledge hammer from Google!

1.    Low-Value Add For Users:

When Google announced the Panda Update in early 2011, Google stated:

“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”

This is one area which the site in question violated. The site in question is an e-commerce site, featuring only product information without enough user-centric content. From all indication there were no in-depth reports and content containing thoughtful analysis!

These were clear signals to Google that the site is of low-value to users and so, the hammer fell!

2.    Aggressive Use Of Exact-Match Anchor Text In Backlinks

This is the biggest culprit!

While removing those offensive backlinks I discovered that all the anchor text were the same! Not only that, all were the site’s primary keyword phrase which are also in the domain name!

Hey, big red flag 🙂

Yes, that was a big signal for Google.

Here again is what Google said about this in the Pengiun Update:

“Sites affected by this change might not be easily recognizable as spamming without deep analysis or expertise, but the common thread is that these sites are doing much more than white hat SEO; we believe they are engaging in webspam tactics to manipulate search engine rankings.”

And this is what I said while writing on the Google Panda and Penguin Updates ,

“Backlinks is one big factor used by search engines to rank sites. It is quite clear that many SEO service providers now use automated link building software to generate backlinks using specific anchor texts. The simple way for the Google Penguin to pick these out is to look for a high volume of exact-match anchor text in your backlinks and your site will be flagged as engaging in webspam.”

Can you see why that site was blacklisted?

One, it lacked in-depth reports and thoughtful analysis and now it has hundreds of backlinks from my site (I’m sure the SEO provider who was using this tactic for the client must have also used hundreds of the same exact anchor text on other blogs) using the same exact anchor text in those links!

Phew, another red flag, and so…

Sorry, but here’s your RED CARD! 🙂

Now to Harleena’s questions, again:

1. When you say that Google doesn’t like more than 3-4 links being exchanged between sites, do they include the links earned through commenting?

Ans. As we have seen above, it depends on the site involved. If it’s a site with low value-add for users, simply building links with blog commenting can be dangerous.

2. I’ve been commenting at my friend’s blogs who are not in my niche, so would that be detrimental to both of us?

Ans. No! Your site is a blog with good valuable content. You have content that are insightful and in-depth in analyzing the subjects treated. Google actually love this and so rather than punish you for those backlinks, Google will love you for that!

Another Good Point For Blogs Using Blog Commenting For Backlinks

Apart from the points above, I have also discovered that this problem will not easily affect blogs for the fact that most blogs use the CommentLuv plugin which allows blogs to deep link to individual pages.  E-commerce sites using blog commenting on the other hand can only link to their home pages in the “Name” section of the comments.

With different anchor text linked using CommentLuv, blogs can actually benefit with blog commenting for building back-links. Good points to CommentLuv!

Marketing Takeaway:

E-commerce sites should find ways of adding more quality and high-value content for a better user experience. They can do this by adding a blog to the site. Besides, they should also use different anchor texts based on their target keyword phrases for backlinks. Where possible, using synonyms would be a wise step in the right direction.

Remember, Google’s Panda and Penguin are still watching!

[Before I draw the curtain let me say, thank you to Harleena for inspiring this post!]

Over to You:  What lessons did you pick up from this post? Do you have any other possible reasons why that site was penalized for building back links with blog commenting? Please share your views in your comments.

About Chadrack

Chadrack Irobogo is a web entrepreneur, blogger, business coach and author. He’s a vastly experienced online marketer and runs a digital marketing agency where he helps local businesses drive valuable online leads. On this blog he shares business strategies and proven marketing tactics that delivers tangible results for SMBs and enterprise bloggers.

View all posts by Chadrack →

51 Comments on “How to Avoid Google’s Wrath When Building Back-links Using Blog Commenting!”

  1. Hi Chadrack,

    I have also had people contact me to remove links inside comments pointing back to their websites. I removed the links but my personal opinion is that people are overacting a bit by getting worried by this.

    I don’t think that Google pays that much attention to links inside comments. It is the links inside the content that weigh far more heavily than the blog comments.

    Correct me if I am wrong though, as I am not certain of this.

    1. @Scott Dudley, that’s right , I have seen folks over reacting a lot for such kind of things! In my point of view, The only important aspect which matters a lot is the interaction(genuine) among all of us ! I don’t understand why people think that introducing a link into a comment would have a harming effect! If it does in reality, that would cause a serious issue for the readers as well as the bloggers!

      1. @Adrian,

        Adrian, I don’t really understand what you mean by introducing a link in a comment has a harming effect? Do you mean posting a link to your site in your comment apart from the link in the name section?

        Of course, that will have bad effect if the link is only there as a covert way of getting an unwarranted backlink. If however, the link is to some useful information that builds on the conversation, then it is not really a problem. And, I’m sure Scott Dudley was not referring to such links in comments but links in the name section.

        Thanks for your comment.

    2. @Scott Dudley,

      It’s interesting to know that you have also been contacted on this issue. Indeed, most of these businesses are really over-reacting but do you blame them? Most of them don’t really know much about SEO except what the SEO companies are telling them. Frankly, if I’m the one affected by this problem, I’ll handle it a different way instead of paying more money to remove and again try to build links sometime later.

      On your observation that Google don’t put much importance on links on blog comments but on links on content, I think that is not really the case. I perssonally have some backlinks from blog comments that Google count for this blog. And of course, as we all know, we all love to use blog commenting to build backlinks. If they do not matter to Google we wont be wasting our time to post comments.

      I must say I don’t have authority on this but this is just my thinking. Besides, this person made it clear that his site is already under Google’s ban and his is losing money as the site is no being returned on the SERPs!

      Now, as I mentioned in the post, it will be very difficult for this to affect blogs so you may not worry about this. But for this e-commerce sites they just have to find a way around it and I hope my suggestions in the post will help.

      Thanks for the comment and please pardon me for the late reply.

  2. Yes, I got these requests too and on one occasion the requester was actually the competition rather than the owner of the link. Scary tactics but Google planted the seed of doubt so there you go. As always there need to be a balance, everything that is not balanced will put up a flag for Google. I guess the thing your guy got flagged with is indeed too many occurrences of the same anchor text and all links to that specific page.

    1. @Nik,

      You are definitely correct about the many occurences. You know one of Google’s updates was against link building networks which caused a whole lot of trouble for SEOs. What Google simply look for is too many links from a particular domain, and of course if the anchor text are the same that is another big flag. And for the fact that this site have over the period of 2 years built links from this site with the same anchor text, Google knew something was wrong.

      I must say, that I’m really lucky that all this did not affect my blog because Google could have also looked at this site and thought something funny is happening here. But I know this blog has not been affected in any way because I’m actually receiving more traffic from the search engines in the recent times.

      BTW, how did you handled it when you were contacted about this problem especially the ones that concerned the competition contacting you to remove them?

  3. Thanks Chadrack for honoring me with a full post and answering all my doubts!

    I can now sigh with a relief and resume my blog commenting exercise 🙂

    I think building back links with blog commenting is okay as far as you provide value with your comment with respect to the post content. I do not allow irrelevant and one-liner comments on my blog and neither do I personally practice such tactics at other sites and blogs.

    It really felt nice when you said Google will like my blog for what it is, but the fact is I too experienced a downfall in ranks in spite of the fact that I do not engage in any sort of back linking except blog commenting.

    Regarding the penalized site, I think one factor could’ve been that the comment growth appeared abnormal to Google with respect to comparatively short duration. But one thing caught my attention in Nik’s comment, which makes me think that if the site or blog owners are not careful and attentive; your competitors can play foul and harm you by submitting your links with your exact-match anchor texts! This is scary!!

    Thanks so much for clarifying things – much appreciated 🙂

    BTW- Your recommended link for the blog commenting mistakes post and blogs can actually benefit with blog commenting are not working. Or perhaps they aren’t opening at my end.

    1. @Harleena Singh,

      Hey, must say the pleasure is mine because frankly, your comment pushed me to do some more thinking and research which resulted in the post. I too have learned from the whole experience!

      About your blog losing ranking, I don’t think that will have to do with any penalty. Frankly, if it is Google will simply pull your site from the SERPs and you will notice a drop of organic traffic that is unprecedented. If is only a drop in ranking then you should look into your SEO tactics. You may need to optimize your post more.

      Talking about providing valuable information in comments, that is really good on the side of the blog and the readers. But that is not really what Google is looking at. The focus is on the links and the anchor texts. Even when you are providing valuable comments but your links and anchor text are wrong Google will flag your site as being spammy.

      Now, here is another thing which I did not mention in the post. As a blogger you are commenting using your name in the name section which links back to your site. Now, your name in the comment link has nothing in common with your domain name, keyword-wise, neither are you trying to optimize your blog for the keyword, “Harleena Singh.” While in the commentluv link every of your comment links back to a different post and with different keyword phrases.

      You see that you are not in any way going against any of Google terms. But these e-commerce sites do not know this. If you have looked at this blog there are many of them doing this. They put their keyword phrases in the name section and because they do not have commentluv all they are having from this blog as backlinks is that link in the name section. Now, they may be posting valuable comments warranting me to approve their comments, but from these recent happenings from Google’s end I think many of them will come to understand the mistake they are making. On this blog I have tried to encourage commenters to use both their [email protected] instead of just using their keywords but many don’t want to take this. Well, for me they are the losers at the end. As usual, I love Google for all these I think they are trying to clean up the internet. if these people understand what is happening and take correction now, we will see more valuable and useful content on the net.

      Thanks for that note. The problem was actually from my end. I have taken care of it.

  4. Wow, really interesting post Chadrack!

    I never really considered that blog commenting could be dangerous. More than 3-4 links being exchanged is a bit harsh, but I see where they are coming from. You have certainly given me a lot of food for thought…

    Really really interesting stuff, although it isn’t going to affect the way I do things much. I leave a comment with my name, and if there is a box, I stick my URL in too, it doesn’t really bother me if it follows, or what keywords come up, in terms of comment I feel it is more for users who will click the link, rather than for SEO purposes. But then that’s my view.

    Google are in a tricky position, as sometimes good sites do things which could be viewed as bad, whilst bad sites can slip through the net.

    Thanks for the incite 🙂

    Christopher

    1. @Christopher Roberts,

      Really glad the post resonate with you. Of course, it is an experience that all of us can learn from. I must repeat again that I believe this will not affect blogs the way is affecting the e-commerce sites. However, because Google could be funny sometimes, I think you may just need to reconsider the use of your name in the comment link. In my reply to Harleena just before this one, I mentioned this issue.

      I can see that you are using your name as your domain name though I don’t think you are trying to rank for that keyword! So it is not much of a problem. However, trying to use [email protected] phrase in the name section of the comments will be on the safe side.

      Btw. glad to see you again.

  5. Everyone use back-links when he/she comments on blogs and everyone love it.You should remove comments which has only some words and are not worthy but everyone comments which has some sense that should not be removed from site.
    Some people are doing blog commenting and working to become a guest blogger.it is good for them to learn from here and surely if they are doing with the passion then they will apply in future when write their own post.
    Very interesting post.

    1. @Bhushan,

      Indeed, we all do blog commenting with the mind of getting some backlinks with some link juice! Frankly, this problem is not about blog commenting. It is problem that sites that mostly focused on link building without considering the implications are facing.

      I’m not removing comments from this blog, those links were only removed because the site owner requested it. Of course, I only approve comments I judge to be ok. On average, I delete about 10 comments every day because I think they are not worth it. You are only seeing those I think have some relations with the post. Even when any comment was mistakenly approved but later I discover it is spammy, I simply delete that comment.

      I will continue indeed to encourage more comments on this blog because that is what blogs are for. Without the community in the comment section of a blog that blog is simply dead!

      Thanks for the comment.

    1. @Mobile Device Management,

      Yea, finding related blogs to comment on can really be effective but there is a problem we are discussing here which I think you will benefit from if you take the time to read the post and the comments. I’m very sure of that. Read the discussion again if you really want to understand how this post will help you. Well, you don’t have to take my word for it!

  6. Chadrack, thank you for clarifying blog commenting as a link building tactic, specifically commenting using Comment Luv. Since I just installed Comment Luv on my blog, I would be “up the creek” so to speak if it were a bad thing. Suzanne

    1. @Suzanne,

      Well, I must congratulate you for joining the commentluv family! 🙂 Frankly, I think it’s a great idea. You will only learn how to use it the right way. Btw I don’t see it referenced in your comment. Are you sure it is working ok on your side?

      Besides, from what we are discussing on this post, I think installing a blog in your e-commerce site is also a good idea. However, I do hope the blog is not in sub-domain because in that case Google will be seeing the two as separate sites! But linking your name to your blog instead of the main site is also a plus. You can later use the blog to link to your site in the posts this way, link juice you garner from blog comments will also be channeled to the site in your posts.

      Thanks for commenting.

  7. Hi, I’m a newbie, I must admit that sometimes I get overwhelmed by all the advice/tips out there, this post has helped me realise that backlinks from related sites are very important and word wonders for traffic…thanks!

  8. Hi Chadrack,

    Now going back to the post, I must say that commenting strategy is the best way to be in touch with fellow blogger. Comment exchange between both the blogger not only make good relation but also forces the other blogger to keep visiting to your blog for latest updates. This sometimes include to be listed in getting backlinks in article body if that particular article matches our blog.

    I suggest everybody to start commenting now as my blog PR and Alexa has improved a lot only because of Commenting.

    Thanks.

    1. @Mohammed Abdullah Khan,

      You are definitely right there Mohammed. However, the issue we are treating here is that of an e-commerce business that got knocked by Google because of the links they have acquired through different means most of which are blog comments.

      Indeed, blog commenting is good for us all but from what we have seen here, it does appear, it is not good for some! 🙂

      1. @Chadrack,

        The case mentioned in this article is quite easy according to me.
        Look man, the guy who was spamming your articles with comments (I guess he used comment section to get backlinks from you) realised after the google has hammered him. So he requested you to delete or remove them.

        Commenting is good but using specific keyword/key phrase all the time on all types of blogs to get ranked in google search page (SERP) for that specific keyword is bad.

        What do you say ?

        1. @Mohammed Abdullah Khan,

          You’re right there. And that was just what happened! You know before the Google updates many of these SEOs were really doing all kind of things in the name of link building. Unfortunately, those who had to pay for their wrong doings are the business persons who hired them.

          Like you just said, Google with the penguin update made it clear that ‘exact’ match keyword phrases is only trying to push the system to favor you.

      2. @Chadrack,

        As you said

        “While removing those offensive backlinks I discovered that all the anchor text were the same! Not only that, all were the site’s primary keyword phrase which are also in the domain name!”

        So here is my question –

        We always use our names as Anchor Text while commenting on fellow bloggers blog. Right ???

        So we used the same keyword while commenting. Please explain me this thing.

        1. @Mohammed Abdullah Khan,

          Good observation there Mohammed. Actually I touched this in detail when I replied to Harleena’s comment which you can read above.

          Not to repeat myself, I’m quoting a part of that comment here:

          “Now, here is another thing which I did not mention in the post. As a blogger you are commenting using your name in the name section which links back to your site. Now, your name in the comment link has nothing in common with your domain name, keyword-wise, neither are you trying to optimize your blog for the keyword, “Harleena Singh.” While in the commentluv link every of your comment links back to a different post and with different keyword phrases.

          You see that you are not in any way going against any of Google terms. But these e-commerce sites do not know this. If you have looked at this blog there are many of them doing this. They put their keyword phrases in the name section and because they do not have commentluv all they are having from this blog as backlinks is that link in the name section. Now, they may be posting valuable comments warranting me to approve their comments, but from these recent happenings from Google’s end I think many of them will come to understand the mistake they are making.”

          I hope this answered you question?

  9. Thank you for not only sharing this guides, but also explaining this over to us. Overall I can definitely see how they would help you tremendously. Great article and great information as well thanks.

    It has been a headache since google implemented Panda and Penguin. I have to clean up my blog and moderate it again. Took almost a month to get back on track in my rankings.

    1. @Make It Mine,

      You mean Google updates affected your blog? Frankly, that is something strange to me because understanding the nature of blogs, I believe the different updates Google launched really helped bloggers. I think you will need to rethink what you are doing as a blogger.

      If you need any help let me know.

  10. Hello author you wrote such a great article about building LINKS by blog commenting . This is really very useful for all the bloggers and SPECIALLY it will help all the new bloggers like me

  11. Thanks you so much for sharing the useful information, I just had no idea why my link-building techniques aren’t working well. In this blurry post-Panda and Penguin world, the most common SEO techniques are inefficient, social media should be the next way to generate some traffic, I think.

  12. Hi Chadrack,
    IMHO we care too much about Google. If something is good for our readers, it’s also good for us.
    I don’t know if you remember time before Google – there was Altavista, Yahoo and maybe one or two another search engine(s). At this moment almost nobody cares about Altavista…
    So IMHO links in comments are great way to make traffic 🙂
    Chris

  13. Hi Chadrack,
    I agree that your friend over panicked there!

    There is nothing dangerous about commenting – unless we are sending automated comments (which is spamming, by the way).

    If Google were to penalize legitimate comments, they would be predicting their death.

    You can quote me. 😉

  14. I have started commenting on blogs only recently even though I was hesitant of getting backlinks from ir-relevant blogs with my name as anchor link. The way you have described these issues has removed my doubts. I think I am on the right track.

  15. unbelievable post! really like this…i guess blog commenting on related sites is rather useful because inbound links from related sites are very effective. thanks for this post!

  16. Hey Chadrack

    What a great lesson for everyone on how not to build backlinks!

    You had me worried for a minute as I do use blog commenting for backlinks. Not just for that though, it’s a way of making relationships with other bloggers and to keep up to speed with what’s going on.

    If Google were going to penalise me for that, then I guess they would just have to go ahead and do it.

  17. Hello, thank you for this post. I do understand why people are getting so worried about the back links and they do not need to be removed. I do not think that Google producing a link into a comment would have an harmful effect! However, if it did then it would cause a serious problem for the readers.

  18. I do comprehend why individuals are getting so concerned about the backlinks and they do not need to be eliminated. I do not think that Search engines generating a weblink into a statement would have an dangerous effect! However, if it did then it would cause a serious issue for the visitors.

  19. Hello, thank you for this article. I never really thought that blog commenting could be dangerous, I think that people are just overreacting.
    I think people care too much about Google, if we enjoy reading the posts then that is all that matters.

  20. Really really interesting stuff, although it isn’t gonna affect the way I do things much. I leave a comment with my name, and if there is a box, I stick my web site address in too, it doesn’t really bother me if it follows, or what keywords come up, in terms of comment I feel it’s more for users who will click on the linky-linky, very than for SEO purposes. But then that’s my view.

  21. That is a great post. you explaned very detailed about building backlink from blog comments. This is a good way, but i will do it more carefully.

  22. that is a nice and fast way. but there are other ways you can use to build backlink

  23. Definitely believe that whicch you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of.
    I say to you, I definitely get irksd while people think about worries thnat they just don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined
    out the whole thing without having side-effects ,
    people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more.
    Thanks

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