Google's Matt Cutts: Using Keyword Rich Words As Your Comment Name Can Be Spam

Nov 14, 2013 • 8:59 am | comments (96) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

google comment spam

As someone who manages a content site with comments, there are things that bother me with some comments I get here. I dislike it when I see comments from people but they use their company name and/or keyword rich anchor text. I know the name hyperlinks to your site, but the links do not count - so it looks (1) spammy and (2) that you don't know SEO because the links don't count anyway.

That being said, Matt Cutts, Google's head of search spam, published a video yesterday telling webmasters who leave comments to "worry about" two types of comments:

(1) Using keyword rich anchor text or your company name, as opposed to your real personal name when commenting.

(2) Using commenting as your primary link building strategy.

If you are doing these, then Google may consider it a link scheme and may take action.

Here is the video:

Will this video reduce the number of comments I get that look like these below? I doubt it:

keyword rich comment company name comment site name comment

Those are just a few from a single story I wrote.

Forum discussion at Google+.

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Praveen Sharma

11/14/2013 02:20 pm

Surprised, but people are still following these tactics to build links. At least they should be real (use real names) even if they are linking their website.


11/14/2013 02:31 pm

Well, I'd better comment with my real name then. I guess this step will avoid the annoying practice of some companies of overflowing the web with their links when they couldn't care less about the comment they leave or the content they read. Now we will get real comments, I hope. Nevertheless, I think Google is taking spam as some sort of witch hunt mission and in their obsession of cleaning stuff, they also harm many that do their homework.


11/14/2013 02:31 pm

Probably they just don't care about Google. I see more and more people who don't care about Google and MC. How about that ? Google replaced quality by popularity and got it - people just promote themselves no matter what.

Szymon Slowik

11/14/2013 02:49 pm

When I comment for example on WordPress blog that have Name-Email-Website-Comment form I usually use my real name. I don't skip possibility to post link though. In field "website" I post URL that is adequate to the topic I comment. If it's somehow related to my business - I paste link to my business site. If it's more lifestyle, sports, music etc. - I use my personal lifestyle blog URL. I hope it's not considered as spammy? I do it to drive some traffic form quality content-related sites. I hope it's ok :)

PM Fiorini

11/14/2013 03:06 pm

Who cares anymore

The Big G

11/14/2013 03:18 pm

Link solution. Don't leave you link anywhere online, anywhere ever, not ever.... focus on high quality information and bold tags. Some day some people will manage to find your site and they will goto the trouble of linking to it with a nofollow link to protect their own sites! These nofollow links will not boost your sites ranks and you will stay on page 50 but at least you don't have to worry about earning any income you could one day lose from one of our updates. (High five anyone?)


11/14/2013 03:57 pm

Punish, punish, punish .... who gives a flying f**k what Matt says anymore anyway. His crappy biz is past it´s sell by date.

Durant Imboden

11/14/2013 03:59 pm

Barry: Why not simply moderate the comments on SEO Roundtable? Promotional spam is the least of your problems.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 04:03 pm

I do. But people who leave helpful comments but use spammy names, that I let by because it makes them look spammy.

Chase Anderson

11/14/2013 04:13 pm

This was my question, there real reason I asked this was to get more clarification from Google on the fact that comment spam is bad and could draw a penalty. We got that confirmation and a bit more.


11/14/2013 04:22 pm

The only person in the last 3 years who failed to realize comment spam is bad was Osama Bin Laden because he lived in a compound in Pakistan with a fat TV watching videos of himself. Everyone else in the world knows comment spam is bad and Matt did not need to make a video to tell us that.


11/14/2013 05:04 pm

Technically what he meant was "anchor texts". So what i understand from my experience is "anchors texts" works great and it will continue to work..this video is to teach newbies not to comment spam or use keywords on comments. He just basically says its wrong to do but it still works

Sam Gooch

11/14/2013 05:06 pm

some of my client's competitors are ranking very well on competitive terms, but when I look at their backlink profiles they include a lot of followed exact match anchor links from irrelevant blog posts which sit among other irrelevant links from other companies doing the same thing - when will Google stop rewarding this old school technique??

Chase Anderson

11/14/2013 05:13 pm

I disagree, I've seen plenty of SEO proposals in the past few years with comment linking among other bad link procedures handed over to clients. Then clients get confused when you can't point them to the exact spot in Google's Webmaster Guidelines or videos where comment spam is listed explicitly as bad behavior. Not to mention, Barry's examples of "SEO Expert" and similar names used in comments on his site (with no-follow) links. Like it or not. This video is helpful.

Chase Anderson

11/14/2013 05:16 pm



11/14/2013 05:52 pm

The solution is simple, devalue all blogs, they are full of low quality content 99.99% of the time. The good ones will switch to a real CMS or get a custom site built. Blogs are the real problem here people, no blogs for a better internet.


11/14/2013 06:06 pm

@Barry - What if some one doing regular comment on your blog and helping others with their comments? Eve n if they just add SEO or . What is the issue if they are doing genuine comments?

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 06:09 pm

It looks spammy.


11/14/2013 07:20 pm

Is this question really being addressed, again, today? This is 2009 crap and is a microcosm of a much larger area; linking penalties. @mattcutts and his team should help people with understanding which penalty(s) are impacting their websites, and give direction as far as some of the specific items they need to fix in order to start the recovery process. Good, honest working people are being negatively impacted because of the actions of spammers who are knowingly manipulating Google and they have no idea what to do except search Google for answers and swim through a sea of miss-information.


11/14/2013 07:46 pm

What if I want to rank for my name... and my name is my anchor text?


11/14/2013 07:52 pm

@Barry - I think you should not have to publish real person name here.

Juggernart Games

11/14/2013 07:52 pm

As far as I can see the names at disqus comments do not hyperlink to anywhere. Where's the spam? (and thanks for deleting my other comment in the other post, Barry)

Juggernart Games

11/14/2013 08:11 pm

strange attitude.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:12 pm

I leave the comments that are helpful, they just feel more helpful with real names.


11/14/2013 08:15 pm

@barry - why you are putting real person name who have one keyword in username only? If it looks spammy, you should have to remove them but you cant give any one's name here publicly.

Lars Johan Nissen

11/14/2013 08:19 pm

I've always been using my company's name when commenting, but from now on I will start using my real name. It's perhaps a bit awkward, but if it works better that way so be it.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:19 pm

Because back in the day, like 10 years ago, everyone went under aliases. Times change but some people still use them. I am not the judge of what Google defines as spam.


11/14/2013 08:22 pm

Whats wrong if some one is from SEO field? At the end this section is for SEO people. I think you should have to remove such images from your blog


11/14/2013 08:23 pm

And as you said you are not judge then why you are blaming people such like this?

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:25 pm

I remove pure link spam.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:25 pm

I am not blaming anyone.


11/14/2013 08:28 pm

If you really want to remove, then remove those people who are commenting with their company name or keyword name as a user name. I saw your image. First person - Rahul - He is SEO person. And it is true. So whats wrong if he add rahul -seo in name? If i am seo person and i want to known by people ankita-seo then whats wrong? I am not doing spammy comments. Then how can you count me as a spammer?


11/14/2013 08:29 pm

You are blaming the people by saying that these 3 types of people are commenting on my blog.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:29 pm

no, I am showing examples of what Matt is talking about.


11/14/2013 08:30 pm

You cant pin point on a specific person. You have to remove that image from your blog

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:33 pm

It is public comments on my blog. I can use those as examples as I do on all the stuff I write here. See my code of ethics post, the formatting is messed up because it is old, but I stick to it every day.


11/14/2013 08:40 pm

Its ok that this is your site and you can do anything from it's content but you cant criticize any one who is your regular commentator of your blog.

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:41 pm

I am not criticizing. I am showing examples of what Matt Cutts was referring to.


11/14/2013 08:42 pm

Matt cutts did not give anyone's name but you gave..

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 08:43 pm

Showing examples is very important in this case. I could have picked dozens, these were the easiest.

MARK again

11/14/2013 09:38 pm

Barry, I don't know if you are really dumb or acting dumb. Ankita is the same person who spams your site daily. 'Rahul Trivedi - SEO Expert'. Today he is shocked to find out that he is marked as a spammer with his head shot. Hence he is crying foul and requesting you to take his image down. Got that?

Barry Schwartz

11/14/2013 09:39 pm


Ashley Stanf

11/14/2013 10:42 pm

Alright, so you telling me all I have to do is spam my competitors with blog comments links now????????????? Got it. Seriously Google, WTF is their problem. What's the reason for penalties? Why not just ignore and don't pass any value?

Ashley Stanf

11/14/2013 11:58 pm

What baffles me is how does Google know what's a legitimate name and what's not? What if my name is "World Peace" (basketball player), how would it know it's my "targeted keyword"??????????

Ashley Stanf

11/15/2013 12:17 am

By issuing penalties they created the whole new negative SEO industry. Why not just ignore and not pass the link juice?

Yo Mamma

11/15/2013 12:50 am

I guess my yo mamma website will be hit now

Yo Mamma

11/15/2013 12:51 am

Any name with a letter A in it is spammy SPAM has the letter A in it Google is smmmaaaart

Yo Mamma

11/15/2013 12:57 am

This is a very spammy name. Google either missed you or will find you as a spam violator! LOL I love Google jokes

Gaurav Srivastava

11/15/2013 05:11 am

Folks(@disqus_ruL0Fj4E9D:disqus ) not ready to stop spamming. ;)

Jitendra Vaswani

11/15/2013 05:14 am

Yeah praveen people still use these spam tactics

Rahul Trivedi

11/15/2013 06:03 am

Mark, Dont you know the difference between two name? If you dont know then do not comment here.

Soni Sharma

11/15/2013 06:12 am

That is true people do a lot of spam in comments. But Google should not include comment links in their algorithm.. So simple..

Praveen Sharma

11/15/2013 06:27 am

I don't think anybody would have issue with that till one is going genuine way. Use your real names, don't try to use keywords as anchor texts and post on your niche blogs where you can contribute through your comments rather than just saying 'nice post' etc for backlink.


11/15/2013 07:25 am

What is spammy about using a brand name instead of a real name (ever heard of privacy on web?) in a comments system (disqus) when the names DO NOT link out to somewhere. The names at disqus open the disqus profile via javascript. Correct me please if I'm wrong.


11/15/2013 07:50 am

@rustybrick:disqus : I was not promoting my self. It was just that i am in SEO industry. I did not post any anchor text in my comments till today. But i think you are right and i should not use alias as 10 years ago. And i cant understand why should i have to comment with other


11/15/2013 08:01 am

"I've seen plenty of SEO proposals in the past few years... " - Haven't you noticed that stuff that was perfectly ok and valid in terms of SEO is now being looked at as bad and "bad" SEO. It's like saying "I've seen keywords in meta tags being best practice a few years ago". Google changes - rapidly - and so does SEO!


11/15/2013 08:08 am

As you are "in SEO industry" you should have realised how...let me put it this it looks to have a name like John Doe - SEO Expert!! Using this to talk about SEO, on an SEO other SEOs and some people interested in the matter.

Eric Tipon

11/15/2013 08:09 am

I've got a friend whose name is Novel and his son is Mac... what else they should use when leaving a comment? :D

Srikanth Gattu

11/15/2013 09:23 am

Can't believe people are still working this way.

Andrea Bosoni

11/15/2013 11:10 am

Nice t-shirt!


11/15/2013 11:30 am

I know that kind of spam 3 years before. Be Natural Be smart ;)


11/15/2013 11:43 am

rahul trivedi alias ankita - masta yeda banaya ...... :P


11/15/2013 11:51 am

Ankita alias Rahul Trivedi - Barry highlighted coz u were using generic name "seo expert" in ur name which is unethical... if u r really from seo background then u should be aware of this

bob's message

11/15/2013 12:13 pm

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11/15/2013 12:16 pm

Most of blog comment links are no follow. then why Google dig about spam here?

Tahseen Dilbar

11/15/2013 12:17 pm

Hm i got !!


11/15/2013 12:22 pm

Videos made for the sole purpose of pushing confusion, like most from this author, should also be treated as spam. Stop spamming kido.

The Anti Cutts

11/15/2013 12:46 pm

Today’s question is from Jim in Los Angeles, Jim asks (Smile) “Matt, im getting my van sign written with my business name and web address next week, is this okay with Google or should I nofollow?”. That’s an excellent question Jim (Smile), this is a grey area and it really depends how you will be using your van, will you be using the van for organic trips you would naturally make or will you just be using it to drive around to advertise your business? Will you use any keyword stuff any words that are critical to explain your business on the van or just use a naked URL? If you’re planning to drive your car more than a couple of times a week it could start to look spammy and ruin peoples user experience. I would ask myself questions like “how can my add improve the user experience of the person in the street?” I would also ask if advertising on your van is an organic use of a van that was designed for moving things around rather than be a commercial, and then I would ask myself WHY am i doing this, if the answer is to gain new business and feed your children I wouldn’t recommend it as a long term strategy and would nofollow (smile).

Todd Johnson

11/15/2013 12:53 pm

Fair Call!!


11/15/2013 01:23 pm

Hah.... Good question. It would be badass if I could rank for my name...

Dave Fogel

11/15/2013 01:24 pm

I just last week talked to a client that got a proposal from another company that included blog comments as back links. I told them they need to avoid that guy. He was cheaper than we were, but in the end they went with us.


11/15/2013 01:28 pm

Dave, 99% of SEO companies offer that stuff. I've found it hard to find any that look like they do quality link building work.

Stuart David

11/15/2013 01:43 pm

You know, the problem is, it works, loads of these 'SEO Companies' simply pop on Fiverr, buy a blast, get a ton of back links then start ranking. In our field, we see this almost by the hour! Even when you report Google do nothing. I think another problem with this pop-up SEO companies is that they look at everything short term, so many problems. So few real answers.

Stuart David

11/15/2013 01:45 pm

I usually don't enjoy these kind of pops as I feel they distract from the message but this was actually really amusing and captured the general mood and paranoia.


11/15/2013 02:08 pm

Keyword rich blog comment spam is a popular negative seo method used (I'm an experienced victim and qualified to say this). When all small businesses are penalized, whether algorithmically or manually, then there will only be corporate dominated search results and of course Google owned/backed properties listed.

Chase Anderson

11/15/2013 02:54 pm

IMO - If you're working on client sites, comment spam was never a valid SEO tactic.

Chase Anderson

11/15/2013 02:58 pm

To quote the awesome SEO below: Re: comment spam being a bad idea today. "It's like saying "I've seen keywords in meta tags being best practice a few years ago". Google changes - rapidly - and so does SEO!" Even within this comment thread there is disagreement on comment spam. Pretty ironic.

Chase Anderson

11/15/2013 02:59 pm

What the hell are you saying man?!


11/16/2013 03:55 am

I don't see the reason why using your company's name should be spammy. How are you sure that the name a person writes in a blog comment is his or her real name. A company's name is a representation of the person leaving the comment and it is because of their company that people are leaving comments in blog posts. Why is it spammy to promote a person's company by using the company's name in blog comments. Cutts Matts should please review what he calls spammy. To legitimately promote the name of your company through blog comments is NOT SPAMMY. if you are in doubt about the legitimacy of the company or interested in finding the name of the owner of the company you can do so. Every company is registered with a legal name of the owner. So Cutts Matts should please not find spam where there is none. Neither should you, the manger of this blog site be bothered with people leaving comments with their legitimate business names. After all it is much easier for you to find out who a person is through their company's name rather than just trying to find our who is John Ikenga or Zita Etite

Jitendra Vaswani

11/16/2013 05:12 am

Yeah Praveen you are right. but webmaster are still not aware of it, They just keep spamming. Even experts also provoke to use keywords in name field.

Jitendra Vaswani

11/16/2013 05:15 am

but still webmasters use keywords, how dumb they are

Jitendra Vaswani

11/16/2013 05:16 am

Yeah sam, I agree with you , keyword spam is still very popular in SEO. Google need to shun this down soon.

Jitendra Vaswani

11/16/2013 07:37 am

Did anyone notice that Pin it button on floating social widget is slightly cropping with facebbok, I am noticing this on all blogs.

Lalit Burma

11/16/2013 10:05 am

Many webmaster believe in ranking for 2 - 3 months, earn money and move to another websites. But yes this kind of video is going to bring changes in the mind of buyers. Last 1 years have changed many thing in search engine and more to come. Air is changing and its getting fresh and fresh :)

Lalit Burma

11/16/2013 10:06 am

yes they are and they are ranking too, though for few months

Ashish Ahuja

11/16/2013 10:28 am

They way things are going in few months from now backlinking itself would become risky and webmasters would dread the day when somebody links to their site.


11/16/2013 11:22 pm

I'm not using my real name unless it's SEO discussion. I'm in other 'niches' that I use pseudo profiles and that works fine. I'm against the keyword rich comment spamming, but the fact that Google expects us to use our real names everywhere is silly. Do we need to take this real name thing at face value? Either way, I wish they would just discount blog comments as link juice entirely. There are much better ways to build links and promote your site, not to mention the majority of those who use comments as a way to build links are spamming elsewhere anyway. Just do it Google. Come on.

Spook SEO

11/18/2013 07:53 pm

Google is always concerned with the way it shows the SERP to its users. It will be unfair to only take into consideration the benefits of those working in the industry. If you really want to get better, think like you are using Google.

Shell Robshaw-Bryan

11/20/2013 04:25 pm

Please someone tell this to the endless Chinese blog spammers both my own and clients blogs are blighted with daily!

David Heintzelman

12/04/2013 08:06 pm

Well... I mean a more valid comparison would be buying a butt-ton of vans with oil leaking out of the bottom and parking them all over other people's lawns then crying to Google when the person whose lawn you're leaking all over has it towed. Clever though. When like 99% of comments with a business name or a link are obvious retarded spam adding 0 value to the article, doing nothing but leaching onto someone else because they don't have the skill or the knowledge to actually create something for themselves, then yeah, probably something should be done about it. Why comments should count at all is beyond me. If you have something that interesting to say that adds oh so much to whichever blog you're commenting on then make it a new blog post instead.

David Heintzelman

12/04/2013 08:20 pm

Hold on... I'm all for improving blogs but this sounds like punishing a crappy home owner because someone painted graffiti all over it, "Well darnit! You shouldn't have had a home to start with! Look how crappy it is!"


12/05/2013 07:42 pm

That homeowner should paint over the graffiti. If it looks like a dump then it's probably a dump and needs to be bulldozed for the greater good of the neighborhood.

David Heintzelman

12/05/2013 08:39 pm

Yes. And if a committee of concerned neighbors decides old lady Marjorie's choice of curtains is garish, certainly that too is grounds for bulldozing... You see I hope the rabbit hole your logic has fallen into. The problem is the comments. Comments are easy. Robots can do thousands of them a day. The only reason to do it though is to trick the system (while pissing in everyone's eyeballs). Make it so all comments get exactly 0 benefit of any type at all for their effort whether they are doing a million spam comments a day or even if they are only doing 1-2 actually semi-legitimate-but-really-I-have-alterior-motives comments. Make it all worth 0. Then you only (well mostly) have legitimate comments. I mean wtf? If your a business or an SEO and the best most creative thing your freakin' brain can comprehend to do your job better is comments, then you might be in the wrong business (the general "you" not you personally, I don't know or care what you do). And if on the other hand some clever SEO has a comment scheme that's working wonderfully, and it's nothing to do with sheer stupidity--still, so the gig is up, it comes with the territory and you should have had other shit in the works. Explain under what circumstance one's optimization should benefit from a freakin' comment, please, because I just don't see it.


12/06/2013 07:25 pm

It's not the comments, it's the laziness that comes with building a site using a blog script. There's no love put into it. Teach someone some basic html and have them create the same content and design and you'll get a much different result. Most people will realize that it takes hard work to make money online and won't do it. Blogs breed laziness, poor quality content and security holes. Period.


03/20/2014 04:58 am

i used keywords as my name at times and i forgot all the links that i used is there anay way i can recall those mistakes again?

Jitendra Vaswani

04/30/2014 09:03 am

using companies name in name section fiel dis spammy, just like you r using

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