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I've searched the net and wasn't able to find a solid answer to this. Is it poor practice to seek out blogs that are related to your site, and post comments relevant to the particular blog post, in order to gain backlinks?

For example, if my site was called "TAFSpecialists.com", or "The Ant Farm Specialists" and I posted comments on relevant blogs using the name The Ant Farm Specialists and TAFSpecialists.com as the website URL, will Google penalize my site? Or is it beneficial, as I originally thought? I'm not spamming blogs, but rather contributing intelligent comments to their blog post. Thoughts?

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That's perfectly fine to do as long as your comments are thoughtful and contribute to the discussion. Otherwise you're just a spammer.

Google won't penalize these links but keep in mind that most blogs use nofollow on their links because of spammers and users who leave comments only for the backlinks. So this strategy won't get you very far unless you happen to find an uncanny amount of blogs in your industry that do not use nofollow. I'd be stunned if you did.

Additionally, if enough blog owners mark your comments as spam Akismet will begin to flag all of your comments as spam and then even when you do leave a legitimate comment it won't ever be seen because it will be flagged as spam before it even reaches their comment queue.

On a non-seo front this may be good to do as human beings may follow those links and find your site.

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If nofollow is turned on links in the comment won't matter. If you try putting your site name and link in the body of your comment be ready to get hit by the spam stick.

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  • Nofollow is not guaranteed to be in use on any given site, and content systems sometimes allow for more fine-grained application such as only on anonymous comments, not on authenticated or trusted users, etc. – Su' Apr 29 '11 at 3:28

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