Crafty SEO tactics for real estate bloggers

I feel like I’m being gamed.  Maybe it was the title of the article, “Is Real estate blogging advertising?” or maybe I just got lucky, but one of the comments on my post the other day appear to be a new kind of comment spam, and one in the Blogging 101 for Charlottesville post was as well. “Below the fold” I have posted the email responses from the two companies who wrote the comments.  Can you guess which two?

Apparently these companies operate in this manner:

“Blog comments help your site rank better in the SERPs. We hired a few people who go through a list of blogs in a database we set up and pick out blogs that are in your niche. They then read through blog posts and leave a comment that has to do with the blog post they read, that way it wont get deleted. Your backlink will then be on a targeted blog, giving you more weight in the search engines. ”

Learn more here and here.

I’ll leave these two comments as examples at least for the time being; next time I’ll probably just submit these sites to Askimet.

Trying to appeal to these firms and their deceived customers is probably a waste of time, but I’ll try anyway. Paying for these “services” puts you in the same company as those selling Viagra and enlargement tools, canadian pharmacies, Nigerian investors and sploggers.

Most insidiously, these paid-for-comments detract from the authenticity that makes blogging attractive. Thanks for cluttering up our space.

Trying to game Google is a self-defeating prospect. If you think you’re smarter than the Googlers … well, good luck with that.

A blogging-tech question: will the Nofollow prevent them from achieving their goal?

Or maybe I’m getting all worked up for nothing. If I’m wrong, please let me know.

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The first response from one of the “authors”:

Thanks so much for your message!  I am not sure what leaves you the impression that my note is not organic – but if you feel uncomfortable with the comment please feel free to remove it.  I wish you the very best, happy selling! (from an aol address)

And the key was the response sent to me either by accident or via a BCC from the company providing the comments for the person above:

That’s an interesting reply. Wonder why he cares especially if he’s getting traffic that interacts with others on his site?  That’s what I assume he’s after with his site although he doesn’t sound upset necessarily.  Maybe he’s a potential referral SEO client?  🙂

I’d reply with a vague statement that you really appreciate the effort he puts into his site (he really does work at it—that’s obvious), and that you are having some search optimization services performed for you that include link building.  His site is one of the ones you “highly recommended visiting.” That should appease him.  🙂

Any time you get something like this, I’d be more than happy to talk with the person on the other end if they become overly inquisitive.  If the comments are offensive, we have a totally separate issue, but that shouldn’t be an issue as (name removed) is the only person I have doing this now along with me (the other two guys didn’t workout unfortunately).

The second more “honest” response:

I provide Internet Marketing for several clients and part of our engagement includes learning more about social communities for natural search.  Whether I’m working with a realtor or winery, we want to get involved in the appropriate community.  Blogs are such a great way for businesses to reach out to their customers and it’s our goal to engage in those communities as genuinely and respectfully as possible.  I have my own blog and I’ve had spammers (like the ones mentioned in the link you sent me) leave comments on my blog for viagra and other inappropriate content and you’re right to be vigilant about comments left on your blog.  I hope that clarifies our goals and that our comments were respectful of your very helpful and informative blog.  Thanks so much for reaching out to us for an explanation! (Please feel free to check out our site to get a better idea of our business model and clients website removed.com)

At least this person admitted what she was doing. If you have to hide the the end of your means, it’s probably wrong to begin with.

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1 Comment

  1. Galen July 23, 2007 at 12:21

    Jim, the worst thing is that comments don’t help with the search engines. They created the no_follow tag explicitly to tackle this problem and every link in every comment on your blog and nearly every other blog has a tag that tells search engines not to count or follow that link because it could be from a spammer.

    This is nothing new – it’s been around since 2005: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2005/01/preventing-comment-spam.html