If you've ever wondered whether those links from comments on blogs would hurt or help your SEO strategy, Matt Cutts is tackling this scenario in his latest webmaster help video from Google.
Google's Webmaster Guidelines discourage forum signature links but what about links from comments? Is link building by commenting against Google Webmaster Guidelines? What if it's a topically relevant site and the comment is meaningful?
Cutts said this is the kind of thing he does all the time. He often posts comments on blogs, that are topically relevant, and he links to his own personal blog rather than the Google webmaster help blog or website.
I leave topically relevant comments on topically relevant sites all the time. So somebody posts an SEO conspiracy theory and I'm like, "No, that's not right," I'll show up and a leave a comment that says, "Here is the pointer that shows this is not correct," or, "Here's the official word," or something like that. And I'll just leave a comment with my name, and often even point to my blog rather than Google's webmaster blog, because I'm just representing myself. So lots of people do that all the time and it is completely fine.
He does caution that how you represent yourself in a link can make the difference. He suggested users use the person only rather than the company name or keyword-rich "name" to avoid any problems.
The sorts of things that I would start to worry about is it's better to often leave your name so someone knows who they are dealing with, rather than "cheap study tutorials" or "fake driver's license", or whatever the name of your business is, often that will get a chillier reception than if you show up with your name.
He also warns that blog comments should not be the main part of your link building strategy. Having a large portion of those backlinks coming from blog comments, it can raise red flags with Google.
If your primary link building strategy is to leave comments all over the web, to the degree that you have a huge fraction of your link portfolio comments, and no real people linking to you, then at some point that can be considered a link scheme. At a very high level we reserve the right to take action on any sort of deceptive or manipulative link schemes that we consider to be distorting or rankings.
But he does reiterate that as you go about your day shouldn't be a concern.
But if you just doing regular organic comments and not doing it as a "OK, I have to leave this many comments a day every single day because that's what I'm doing to build links to my sites," you should be completely fine and it's not the sort of thing you should be worried about it all.
As long as you aren't actively using blog comments as a way to increase your backlink profile significantly, you are posting on topically relevant blogs, and you aren't using the a spammy keyword heavy name, but are using your real name instead, you should be fine and not get penalized.
SES Denver (Oct 16) offers an intense day of learning all the critical aspects of search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search advertising (PPC). The mission of SES remains the same as it did from the start - to help you master being found on search engines. Early Bird rates available through Sept 12. Register today!