Two quick tips related to names for folks promoting their band or business in blog comments or on Twitter. Google's Matt Cutts recently clarified, more or less, how you should handle your name and link practices in blog and forum comments if you don't want to be labeled spam by Google. And I point out a problem I've been noticing on Twitter with folks not including their full name or that of their band in their Twitter id or description. That means you won't show up in Twitter searches for your name.
Google Goes After Comment Spam
Are all comments with links spam?
Matt Cutts, Google's face/voice for webmasters and SEO topics, clarifies that they are looking at comment spam and suggests that you always use your real name when commenting.
He refers to real names being better for leaving comments than phrases such as "cheap study tutorials" or even the name of your business. I don't know what that means when you're posting on behalf of a band.
It also makes me wonder about logging into blog comment systems like Disqus using my Twitter accounts which are branded with the related blog names. Does that raise a red flag for Google?
But the bigger issue sounds like it's people who do most of their link building through blog and forum posts. Basically if that's where most of your external links to your site are coming from, then that could be perceived as a link scheme which would be very bad for your site's future ranking.
Note there's some ambiguity in his answer. That's pretty much par for the course with Google and Mr. Cutts which means SEO pros will be sending him more questions and he may well clarify with more videos.
But also note that this is part of their ongoing real names campaign that has affected Gmail, that results in repeated prompts when you log into YouTube encouraging you to use your real name and somehow now involves Google+ which finally pushed me over the confusion cliff. I just click on whatever the first option is and, if that doesn't require me to fill out a new form, then I'm good.
On a much more serious note, requiring real names also raises issues of privacy and, in some cases, security given that honest expression tied to a verifiable identity still leads to imprisonment and death in some countries.
Why I Can't Find You On Twitter
On a much less volatile note related to names, I've noticed that when I search for people by name or by their organization's name in Twitter search that a surprising number don't have their name in either their Twitter id or in their short profile description.
Given that not all musicians have Twitter accounts and that sometimes they leave the tweeting to a band account or something similar, it's easy to assume that they don't have one.
I usually then turn to Google to double check but most people aren't going to do that. Don't assume that your audience will track you down particularly if they're not yet committed fans. And even then why create an artifical boundary to someone finding you?
- SEO For Musicians: "Don't Chase The Algorithm"
- Google's Changing SEO Policies and How To Optimize Your Music Site
- 9 Top SEO Tips For Musicians
Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.