Dofollow Blog Commenting Netiquette vs a Barbecue Party


First off: The introduction of real links in comments via a “dofollow” plugin has been a huge success. I was even ranking high for both [dofollow] and [dofollow plugin] on Google.


My success with real links in comments

It happened because my article about the end of conventional SEO was so popular and has been republished or translated numerous times including my “dofollow” link.

Removing the “nofollow” attribute encouraged participation substantially.

Moreover what most people do not mention in this context: It made this blog a really friendly place. Commenters who also want a link rarely will offend you. So by far most comments are

  • friendly
  • helpful
  • adding some new perspective, update or information.

In short: People commenting on SEO 2.0 are truly contributing. In many cases I even rank for long tail queries that are found only in my comments.

Blogging is like inviting people to your barbecue party. They get invited and receive free food while you enjoy a nice get together.

I use Akismet for spam protection and thus have rarely problems with real spammers who let robots comment automatically on thousands of blogs.

There are sometimes problems with false positives in case of people Akismet marks accidentally as spam. Aaron Wall of SEO book has been flagged as spam by Akismet.


Genuine comments and spam false positives

One of my eager contributors has been filtered time and again even after I made him a “member” of this blog. False positives are a nuisance.

This is a bug that sucks but I will de-spam your comments if you contact me by email, my address is onreact at

Many people complain about so called “manual spam” which is an oxymoron in a way. Spam is an unsolicited message and if you allow comments (by people) you can’t call it spam in this case.

Comments made by humans not robots are not spam in 99% of cases. Nonetheless some things annoy me too:

  1. People commenting with a name like “SEO Company” or “Real Estate California” because I want people to comment not companies or services, especially if the keywords have nothing to do with SEO or other topics of this blog.
  2. One liners saying something like “thanks, great article” because I don’t know if they are made by robots or not if they do not refer to the post.
  3. People who do not read the article but comment based on the title and it’s keywords because it’s just ridiculous to state “I also like three-way links” if I just wrote that I hate them.
  4. People using German or other non-English keywords as their “name” because it is impolite to exclude the majority of my readers who do not understand.
  5. Commenters linking to specific subpages like because I’m not your catalogue.
  6. People adding a signature in their comment because you already got a link, you don’t need a signature, that’s greedy.
  7. Commenters who disagree with me, because I never err you damn naysayers! ;-)

On good days I will just approve your comments, on normal days I will change your “name” to something which sounds actually like a name or remove your URL but on bad days I will spam your comment or delete it.

Spamming your comment means that you get flagged on other WordPress blogs too so you probably do not want to risk that.

There are easy solutions or exceptions for most of these cases where both you and I can live with them or they even add some additional value.

Tim Nash has a nice technical solution implemented: He added an extra text box for your favorite anchor text.


How to comment like a real person

This is really neat but I’m too lazy to hack my WordPress comment form and thus I prefer the easiest solution: combining two things, your name and job description.

Check out these simple rules of blog commenting netiquette, they might not apply everywhere but they will help you not be thrown out at SEO 2.0 and in other places probably too.

  1. You can write: Tad Chef, Blogger. You can also link to to an about page covering you. Also when you do not want to disclose your name or job position, you can even write something like Bob of Miller Real Estate.

    At least leave your initials to enable me to address you: AJ of Miller Real Estate but don’t write Miller Real Estate, AJ.

    Imagine being on a party again: You say your name first when you introduce yourself and then you tell people what you do for a living.
  2. I appreciate people being thankful for a post but unless your refer to the specific post or I know your blog URL I have no way of determining whether you are a bot or not. Write something like “thank your for the post, it helped me with …”
  3. When you want a piece of meat at a barbecue you don’t just drop in, take it and leave the party instantly. Stay for a minute to read the post, say “hi” and then leave.
  4. Do you speak German addressing people on a party where nobody understands it? Try to translate at least. Do not write Web design Köln, but Mark of Dom Web Webdesign in Cologne
  5. Imagine yourself on a party when asked about what you do for a living telling people, “Dirt Devil Vacuum Cleaner!” A page about you is OK, your homepage also but not a specific product page. Akismet will spam you in most cases you when you use deep links anyway.
  6. A barbecue party is not a trade fair, you do not wear your name plate on your lapel. You just introduce yourself, that’s enough. So skip the additional signature.
  7. Now imagine someone entering a barbecue party shouting: This place sucks, meat is murder, you dirty bastards stink! I guess such a person gets thrown out immediately. When you disagree, do it politely, with style after at least reading what this site is about. Of course I will delete trolls who offend me.

Did I forget something? Probably, feel free to add your take on the subject of blog commenting etiquette and barbecue parties in the comments below ;-)

Introduce yourself and be nice to the other guests. You don’t want to act rude on a party, do you? Just enjoy yourself and be friendly.

* Image by Marc Swarbrick.