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Recently, in its Google Webmaster blog (http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com), Google posted about spam links in blog comments, and how using these links will damage your positioning. This is a strategy that Work Media sometimes employs, so we wanted to address this subject.

First off, you have to take these things with a grain of salt. Google likes to keep things secretive, and we believe it often does and says things just to create confusion about how its algorithm works. And the Web is built on links. Google uses links to find web sites and as a measure of a site’s worth in assigning it a ranking. So, in general, you still have to get links to your site if you want high search engine rankings.

For another thing, we don’t think it really makes sense to PUNISH sites for having links to it. That’s not to say Google doesn’t do it, and it seems to have done it in the past, but think about this: if Google is going to punish a web site for having links to it contained in blog comments, why wouldn’t I use this against my competitors? What is to stop me from going around to blogs and submitting spammy comments with links to my competitors’ web sites?

Google says this: “…it’s useless to think of harming your competitor’s ranking by spamming comments with their name, since it usually won’t affect their ranking if their sites are complying with Google Webmaster Guidelines.”

Ah, there’s the rub. If you do things the right way, you will be fine. Here is our approach to blog commenting:

1. Use a keyword for the name field.
2. Type a URL in the appropriate field.
3. Type out a well-written, well-thought-out comment that relates directly to the content of the blog post.

The difference between this approach and what Google is talking about is that we are making legitimate comments, while also taking advantage of the opportunity to get the link.

Here’s another thing: don’t rely solely on this or any other SEO strategy to get links. Mix it up. And be credible.

Here’s another thing that we find odd: one of Google’s suggestions is that a way to prevent this is to set comment links in your blog to no follow. However, it was recently revealed that doing that reduces the value of your own internal-pointing or other do follow links. The reason is that PageRank leaks out of your page from the no follow links, even though the pages the links point to do not get credited with the PageRank. So setting your links to no follow is now damaging to your own SEO efforts.

So what should you do? Don’t worry about it. Do your blog commenting like we suggest above and you will be fine.