How NOT to improve your website ranking in search engines

I wasn’t going to write this blog post, as I didn’t really expect a reply from the miscreant in question, but they did reply and their response was really quite annoying.

Like most blog owners, and any website that allows comments to be added, there is the problem of people spamming the comments with links to their websites.

Some will be just offers of cheap fake drugs to boost carnal performance, designed to elicit sales from morons, but most are designed to trick the search engines into thinking their website is endorsed by me.

Background for those not familiar with the issue – but Google (etc) decides where a page will appear in search results partly on the decision of other websites linking to that page. If I write a blog post about something and link to another website with relevant information, then Google looks at it as a personal endorsement of that other website and adjusts its results accordingly.

Obviously, vastly more sophisticated than that, but in simple terms, more links to your webpage, the better you do in search engines.

So spammers try to auto-post comments to blogs with links in the hope that Google (etc) will treat those as endorsements and boost their website.

Over this weekend, I had 83 messages posted on my blog by a Texas based spammer (IP address 174.120.28.226) working on behalf of www.londonelectricians.org who spammed my site with variants of “Electrician In Kensington London – How To Spot A Dangerous Situation”.

The aim being to boost their website chances of appearing near the top when someone is looking for an Electrician in Kensington etc.

Now here’s the problem – spamming like that doesn’t actually work. Google is clever enough to detect the difference between a link placed within the body of a blog post — and therefore put there by the author — and a link in the comments section of a website, which is not an endorsement by the author.

The other issue is that Google is understood to discount multiple links between two websites, so one link is counted, but the second is downgraded a bit, and so on. By the time Google gets to the 83rd spammed link, the value is going to be essentially non-existent.

Fortunately, I have a spam detector on my blog, and once the first few spams were detected, it killed the whole lot.

I tried to contact the firm by their email address, but it bounced back as unknown address. So I used the contact form, and got the following reply:

Dear Ian
Thanks for your information.
From your note I assume it has happened more than once.
We will contact the supplier and ask for that your blog is avoided.
If this continues please let us know, perhaps with a screen shot.
By the way lovely London photos on your blog.
Have a good day and apologies for the inconvenience.
Regards
Matt.

That actually infuriated me, as they are basically saying that I personally wont be spammed any more, but that other London blogs most certainly shall be. As I count a number of those bloggers as friends, I am quite annoyed by that. Especially as I know they get annoyed by blog-spam as much as I do.

At least they admitted they have hired a company to blog-spam on their behalf, which is an improvement on most firms who bluster and deny its them doing the spamming.

However, I am doing something I rarely do – and naming/shaming a spammer on my blog. If you need a London electrician, look elsewhere.

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17 Comments

  1. Edgemaster

    Glad to see the rel=”nofollow” on the body link!

    • IanVisits

      I just knew that would be the first thing certain people would check ;)

  2. Mike

    And by linking to their website within this post, you have helped them to increase their ranking. Since as you correctly say: “Google is clever enough to detect the difference between a link placed within the body of a blog post”.

    • Mike

      Hmm…OK, I correct myself…I obviously missed the “nofollow” tag.

  3. Eric Waring

    Well done for posting this! Just one little point – you have now put a link to their site in your blog and therefore appear to be endorsing them to Google!

  4. Eric Waring

    …as did I :-)

  5. That some people hire spammers and actually believe that spamming may bring them visitors, this truly stuns me :)

  6. An excellent post, thank you. I have also been having a lot of “comments” from the same company, just sent him a link to your piece.

  7. I believe that if a site is reported enough times for spam comments eventually Akismet will automatically reject the comments from across their network.

  8. Today’s offenders on TOLTOL: a body boot camp, a CCTV company and a discount Microsoft Windows retailer. I wish they’d go away.

    • IanVisits

      Yesterday, upon the website,
      I met a spammer who wasn’t there
      He wasn’t there again today
      I wish, I wish he’d go away…

  9. Jason Trost

    You could fill in their contact form with phantom requests for every time they spammed you :-P

  10. On my blog http://www.pimlico-flats.co.uk/blog (……. just kidding) I use the plugin Askimet http://akismet.com/ which is very very effective. I can’t remember the last time spam got past it, and false positives are so rare I don’t bother checking any more. I can’t recommend it highly enough – and it’s free!

    • IanVisits

      I had already linked to their spam filter in the blog post.

  11. Oh – the other thing I sometimes do is allow the comment, but edit out the link!

  12. Ian,
    So sorry this keeps happening to you, and well done for exposing spammers. We’re all fed up with them.
    Wish there was more we could do to rid all blogs of spammers.
    Suzi

  13. steve

    I just changed the settings on a couple of my old blogs, so that users had to create an account before they could post comments and I saw a dramatic reduction in the level of spam. However, just when you think you’ve got rid of all the spam, you wake up one day to find your blog riddled with dodgy backlinks and spam comments.

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