Alister Cameron // Blogologist

Changing the world. One blog(ger) at a time.

Another stupid SEO strategy: the filipino link builder who can’t write

Please note: You are welcome to read this post, but please be aware that I have accepted responsibility for the fact that it is inappropriately abusive and not written in the spirit of encouragement and edification which I would have hoped marked all my writing on this blog. I have unreservedly apologised to the targets of my criticism, and were it not for the fact that deleting blog posts doesn’t work, would wish to be able to do that with this post.

Link building. In this age of social media it still remains a key anchor of a strong SEO strategy for your blog. The rationale is really simple: search engines rank the pages of your site or blog based on a number of factors, one of the more critical ones being the number of external webpages that link to yours.

links and more links

So… we’re after links. Good ones and lost of them. And not all links are equal. But more on analyzing links in another post.

What caught my eye today was a comment I received yesterday on this post:

I am very amaze of what you post Alister. You explain everything clearly and full of informations of what people, especially marketers really need to know.

Thank you so much..

Now, people can claim to be anyone in a blog comment, so I’ll just say that this commenter purports to be “Idea Guy” with the web address of

I went over to that blog to check it out (something I will usually do if you leave me a comment), and something was immediately obvious to me: this is a caucasian male who clearly has a good command of the English language, and (from the Contact page) lives in Ontario, Canada. So it seemed immediately strange to me that his comment on my blog post was written in broken, second-rate English.

What you can’t see from the front-end of my blog is what my admin page tells me: that the IP address of this commenter is I do an RDNS lookup, a traceroute, a geo-ip lookup and all that jazz and come up with the confident fact that the commenter is in the Philippines! What the?!

So I asks myself the scary question, I does…

What would motivate this filipino dude to come to my site and post a comment on behalf of a guy in Canada?

Well you know, I just couldn’t come up with an answer that made any real sense, that didn’t to a degree incriminate Mr Stu McLaren (the Ontario Idea Guy). I also couldn’t get the search engines or (Technorati) to show me if my site was “hit” as part of a broader linking campaign that some guy in the Philippines was doing on Stu’s behalf. But I’m still really sus.

Now, I’m not saying it’s wrong per se to get someone to “ghost-write” harmless blog post comments all over the place. Lame, but perhaps not wrong. Heck, outsourced link-building campaigns are the backbone of SEO, and in that world this kind of proxy commenting would be seen as a lighter-shade of grey(hat), at most.

But hey… at the very least try to get it done to a standard where it’s not immediately obvious that it’s someone else and not you! Secondly, make sure you’re not paying more than a few cents per link for this “service” because blog comments are the lowest of the low hanging fruit, for a couple of reasons:

  1. For a start, the search engines and directories (like Technorati) don’t count the URL/link under the comment author’s name for much. Only links in the body of the post count for anything worth the trouble.
  2. To add insult to injury, many (but definitely not all) blogs these days attach a rel=”nofollow” attribute to the A tag of the link to the commenter’s website/blog, rendering it of no value in a link-building campaign. No value for any keywords that matter to you, anyway.

I don’t know why anyone would want to hand real money over to a filipino link-builder who didn’t understand those two points!

So, if you’re going to hand money over the table for a link-building campaign, here are some quick — hopefully helpful — tips:

  • Understand that a little outsourced link-building can be quite effective to push a blog or site from total obscurity (i.e. PR0 and unknown to Technorati) to a PR4, say. After that, the kinds of links these link guys will (typically) get you become less and less helpful.
  • Don’t get someone to write anything on your behalf. It’s not necessary. You write the really good content on your own blog/site and (if you can’t resist) use some outsourced link-building to get you some highly ranked inbound links from authority sites or (ahem) directories.
  • Make sure you supply the link-building dude with a selection of different pages to link to on your site, plus different permutations and combinations of text/keywords for the text of the link.
  • Screw the link-building dude down to a commitment to list for you in a report every page on which he’s secured a link, what page was linked to, and what text was used in that link.
  • Agree on a way to price the links based on their value. Pagerank is an OK guide to start with. Dot Gov and Dot Edu links score double, if they’re not dodgy student-run servers/sites.

I could go on, but hey… I don’t think too much of outsourced link-building, as a rule. I have never paid for any, myself. My opinion is that great content “sells itself”… almost! Great content needs great marketing; it’s just that I don’t think buying links is great marketing.

Now linkbait… that’s a great link-building strategy for your blog! So are the various devices of social media marketing. Go sick on the linkbait and engaging people in conversation in the relational web, and the links will largely take care of themselves.

What do you think?

filipino, pinoy, philippines, link building, seo, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, google, links, linkbait, blog comments, commenting, linking


Note: Commenter website links are not no-followed, in case
you were wondering... I believe in rewarding commenters!

  1. Posted 11 years, 10 months ago // Permalink

    I wonder what really made you write this article when the comment was generally nice?
    You said it was written in broken English but so what? As long as people are polite and show respect, does it really matter?
    If I were a link builder who can’t write but can get an EXCELLENT job done, would it still matter?

  2. Posted 11 years, 9 months ago // Permalink

    Google started this whole link as a vote and page rank gold rush. They could end it at any time they wanted. they have semantic technology now that makes our links obsolete anyway. Just waiting for the day.

  3. Posted 11 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    This article should serve as a wake-up call to outsourcing companies in 3rd world companies and to the Philippine Educational System.

    As for cheap-ass companies that think that outsourcing is a low-priced way to get what you want, well, you get what you pay for!


  4. Posted 11 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    Hmmm well at some point sensitive Filipinos would really be hit hard on this post.

    I’m a Filipino myself but I don’t find it hard-hitting. We do have our faults. We just have to understand where the author is coming from in proving a point with blog commenting and outsourcing cheap labor to do it for you.

    If we give our services with quality and top-notch skills, they would probably pay us more, don’t you think? Just get the lesson that you can out of this and move on.

  5. Posted 11 years, 2 months ago // Permalink

    If there’s one piece of advice I would give anyone… it’s do not get involved in any schemes, at all. SEO and mastering search engines rankings is really only about good content. Master that and market it effectively and you will have everything you need. If the chicken is good content and the egg is backlinks, I really do think the chicken comes before the egg! 🙂

    Great post, I receive about 100 spam comments a day on my blog, I may start checking them out in more detail.

  6. Posted 11 years, 1 month ago // Permalink

    Maybe it’s your title that hit us hard. Putting “stupid” and “filipino” in your title is way to much for us Filipinos. You can’t deny the fact that your post is derogatory to us Filipinos. We are a proud race.

    I know Australian history by the way.

    “Australia was long used as a dumping ground for criminals, bankrupts, and other undesirables from the British Isles. ”

  7. cameron
    Posted 10 years, 8 months ago // Permalink

    I think Alister’s point here is, hire someone who can write English correctly especially if that person will represent another. He said it is not his intention to degrade Filipinos. I think his post is to show us how important marketing is. And how one’s writing skills can affect the image of a company. This is not the first blog I have seen which says something about how Filipinos write. Even some of our countrymen working in the marketing field complain how bad we write in English nowadays.

    Basic grammar rules such as parallelism, words without s (ex.information, furniture) and proper tenses are not present in the comment.

    I am a Filipino and I have to admit that I, too, was hurt when this was posted. Not because I feel we were humiliated by Alister, but because it takes another foreigner to tell us that we should improve instead of us criticising ourselves and our fellow-men for our betterment.

    We are not native English speakers. For some, even learning the language is tough. We are aware of the common mistakes we make when we write in English. The sad thing is, nobody even tries to correct them.

    This should be an eye-opener not only for Filipino people in marketing, but also for educators, scholars and intellectual Filipinos that there is something that should be done for us to improve our writing skills in English and Filipino (some of us are not even versed in our own national language).

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