douchebag

As most bloggers do, I use the Askimet service to filter out (or maybe it's filter IN) blog comments. Sometimes a few legitimate looking, yet still spammy comments beat the system and are flagged for moderation. Normally they're random English sentences with no relation to the post, or gibberish with links to their own websites. Recently though, one came through that I actually read. And it had decent advice!

So before I hit the delete button, I looked through some of the points the author made (while ignoring the half-dozen links to his pharmaceutical website). They were spot on — here are some of the things I took away:

1. SEO does not create demand in non-existent markets. Exactly! What's the point in optimizing for terms that no one is searching for? Much like a house on a dead end street, the exposure of your website or content becomes irrelevant if no one is typing the keywords that maps them back to you.

2. If there are no competitors for your keywords in the market, take that as a bad sign. Unless you have a truly unique, first to market product or service. Then you've got to create demand in some other way. It's the same thing when running AdWords — in most cases, if yours is the only ad showing, or with organic search, no other similar businesses or pages show, then something's wrong.

3. Be unique in the market. Your overall SEO strategy becomes much more powerful if you're able to identify what your business does best, and what truly makes it unique in the market. If you emphasize these strengths, and follow SEO best practices, you'll attract visitors and clients who appreciate what you do as well as establish a robust and long-term SEO plan.

4. Always build links. Now, I'm not one for building links just for the sake of building links, however, if there's an opportunity to grab a link from a relevant article, blog or website, I think I'll take it.

5. Be consistent in your message. You want your website's content to resonate with a common theme, including your message and visual elements. So define your image and goals for your website, and always relate your content or link-building back to those.

6. Social media is not SEO. Admit it, some of you think social bookmarking still works for SEO. Social media has its purposes — mainly to foster communication with your clients and customers. It's not a free advertising platform.

Conclusion
Focus on keywords your customers or clients use — not the jargon that you use internally. A market without competition is unhealthy — either you've missed your target with your marketing, or you have something new and never seen before. Yes, continue to build links and integrate your unique selling proposition into your SEO efforts. And finally, use social media to be social — not for SEO.

Do you read your spam comments? What's the best advice you saw?