Regular readers have noticed that I no longer permit keywords in the ‘Name’ field when submitting a comment to this blog. In this article, I will outline the reasons why I have taken this step and what I hope to achieve from it.
Share the link love
I ‘link love enabled‘ this blog from day one as I felt it was only fair to reward those that take the time to comment and get involved in the community with a full return link. Some warned me that I would lose search engine ranking as a result, but I care more about catering to my real, human visitors than I do the search engines. Others warned me that my blog would now be inundated with spam, but thanks to Akismet this wasn’t a problem. Additionally, I am not convinced that blogs offering full ‘dofollow’ links receive more spam than those with the ‘nofollow‘ attribute.
For the first year this system went well – I had to delete or edit a few comments, but they were a tiny number in comparison to the amount of constructive contributions being submitted. Over the past couple of months though, I have noticed a large increase in the number of keyword spammers – people submitting a worthless comment just to get a link back to their site with their preferred keywords in order to curry favour with the search engines.
Perhaps it is my British genes talking, but I am a strong believer in fair play. I offer full ‘dofollow’ links to contributors in return for them taking the time to submit a comment which adds value to this blog and its community. Once people began to abuse this system, I was forced to take action. I am really hesitant to change links back to ‘nofollow’ as I still want to reward those that take the time to get involved by submitting comments, therefore the best compromise was to ban keywords from the ‘Name’ field in the comments form.
Online communities build relationships
As I have said before, a blog is an online community. For a community to be successful, it needs to encourage the development of relationships. It is extremely difficult for myself and other readers to develop a relationship with someone named ‘Make Money Online’ or ‘Cheap Blue Pills’. Consequently, by default these contributors add far less value to the blog than those that submit comments with their real name or a nickname.
This blog is a networking tool
A lot of online communities fail because the person or company developing the site doesn’t have any clear goals. Only when you have clear goals can you determine when your community is a success. This blog wasn’t established to make money – my goal was to network amongst community developers and those in the industry. To that extent, this blog has been successful and has put me in touch with a huge number of fantastic people.
It is hard to network with people who prefer to gain a cheap link at the expense of adding value to this blog. Similarly it is harder for me to come across as credible when readers come to my blog only to see it full of comments stuffed with keywords.
Do you agree or disagree with my decision? Do you have a blog? Do you give ‘nofollow’ or ‘dofollow’ return links, and why? Share your thoughts and opinions by leaving a comment below.