Let’s start by acknowledging that this is a controversial topic. If you are a social media purist or a blogger who genuinely believes your material is so spectacular that nobody should ever drop a blog comment except to react to the profundity of your writing, then please close your eyes while you read the rest of this post.
There is a legitimate role for blog commenting in SEO, and this should not be confused with blog comment spam. We all hate spam. But we each person defines spam differently. Hopefully by the end of this post, you’ll know how to use blog commenting for SEO benefits without being a spammer.
SEO Benefits Of Blog Comments
There are a number of SEO benefits from blog commenting.
The most obvious is that the search engines read the links in your comment (normally your anme is hyperlinked to your website) and you build your link popularity directly from the comments. However, most blogs are NoFollow, which at least in theory means that they carry no link value. But there are also a fair number of DoFollow blogs, and some give you a hyperlink both in your name and at the end of the comment to your most recent blog post.
All other things being equal, you might as well search for DoFollow blogs with the CommentLuv plugin; if you spend your time making intelligent comments, you might as well get link value for it. That being said, I never hesitate to leave comments at a blog whether it is DoFollow or not. Link value is something, but it’s not everything….and I’m not so sure the search engines totally ignore NoFollow links, either.
Another SEO benefit from blog comments is that every time you leave a comment, the blog owner takes notice of you. This is especially true for repeat visitors, so it is worth returning to the same blogs over and over. The other bloggers will undoubtedly visit your website. If there is anything of value on your website (remember that content is king) they will link to you in a post or they will invite you as a guest blogger (usually with a link back) or you can offer to be a guest blogger (with a link back). Yes, linking is in fact about building relationships.
It’s not just the blogger who will read your comments and follow the links to your website; other commenters will, as will other readers (another reason it is crucial to leave comments of value). For this reason there are two types of blogs you want to seek out:
- Blogs on the topic of your own website.
- Blogs that your target market read (even if the topic is not totally related to your website).
- Blogs on topics of interest to you.
What’s that? Those are three types of blogs? Well, so they are. I never was good with numbers.
Yes, you should also frequent blogs that interest you, even if they are totally off-topic. I suspect I might be the only SEO consultant making this recommendation, but I think it is worth noting that if you are a hiker, you will have more intelligent comments to offer on a hiking blog – and you will enjoy doing it, so it will be less like work and more like fun. And whether the links are all keyword relevant, they still count and you’ll enjoy it a lot more than trolling for blogs only on your professional topic. So there!
Have you noticed a common thread to all the advice above. Comment intelligently. As long as you are adding to the discussion, the blogger will appreciate your contribution. If you just write “Nice post”, expect to be deleted from any worthwhile blog. If somebody leaves a comment that could just as easily be left on any other of my posts, I mark it spam (see image below for the types of comments I wipe off with a little pesticide every morning).
But that’s just me.
Remember how I said that spam has different meanings to different people? Some bloggers will consider it spam if you drop a keyword into your name. While I do accept comments that come from “SEO Ottawa”, for example, I prefer ones that come from “David Leonhardt SEO” or just “David Leonhardt”. The contribution has to be better for me to approve a comment that doesn’t have a real name in it.
But that’s just me.
Never mind me. Before commenting, take a look at what other comments have been approved and make sure you conform to the convention of the blog (just as you would look around how other people act at a wine and cheese or a church basement gathering). Then make sure you exceed what you see, as a new contributor, both in quality of your comment and in avoiding a spammy signature link that might get your comment deleted if the blogger is having a grumpy day.
It is also worth returning to posts you have commented on. If someone has responded to your comment, it might be worth your while to respond back. The blog owner will love you for it, because you are creating interaction on her blog. Plus, any comment worth debating or discussing attracts more attention.
It’s worthwhile dropping a really relevant and useful link in your comment, if it provides truly useful information to better appreciate the blog post. Otherwise, I recommend against it. Gratuitous link-dropping is considered spamming pretty much anywhere.
If your site is adult-oriented or fits into one of the other red-flag categories, don’t even bother commenting (with a link) on most blogs. The blogger will not appreciate it and your comment will be deleted. You’ll need to find really related blogs that will accept your links.
But David, why shouldn’t I spam? What about a robot that auto-posts comments to save time (and having to use my brain cells)? Well, there is no denying that you can build some links that way. There are some lazy blog owners who don’t moderate their comments and let them publish automatically. There are four reasons why this really is not worth your while:
- Pretty much any non-moderated blog offers only NoFollow links
- Pretty much any non-moderated blog is considered low-quality and low-trust by the search engines
- Some non-moderated blogs do get cleaned out every now and then, and the spammers get reported
- The search engines might even be able to detect a pattern, and if most of your links come from sites known to link to spam websites, your website could be flagged as untrustworthy – guilt by association.
If I was to sum up everything here, it come down to this; when you are on somebody else’s blog, you have a wonderful opportunity to build relationships. In the online world, relationships means links, and SEO is all about building the right kind of links (well, not quite “all” about).
But just like in the real world, when you are on someone else’s space, pay very careful attention to what is accepted and what is not. The real definition of a spammer is somebody who does something that is not accepted. Period.
Commenting on blog posts in a manner accepted by the blog owner can be an effective means of attracting good quality links to your website and help with your overall SEO efforts.
David Leonhardt is president of The Happy Guy Marketing, a creative website marketing company that focuses on SEO and viral marketing to make websites better known among their target markets. David can be found on his SEO consultant website and other blog posts of his can be found on his SEO and marketing blog.