To internet marketers everywhere, blog commenting is about as natural as eating when you’re hungry. Blog comments have always been an incredible resource for SEO for several reasons. In today’s article, we’ll be breaking down all aspects of blog commenting, as well as going over strategies on how to fully utilize comments in your SEO campaign.
Due to recent Google updates, there’s a lot of confusion within the world of search engine optimization. The process has always been the same: write SEO content, optimize your website and build backlinks. However, thanks to these new updates, search engine experts everywhere are questioning the value of backlinks and blog commenting.
So, we’re left with two questions: how effective are backlinks, and if they’re still effective, is blog commenting still a great way to get them?
Yes, Yes, Yes!
Even with all the confusion going around, one thing is still certain: backlinks matter – for now at least. Websites with the most links will still rank, hands down, over websites with fewer links – even if those websites have higher amounts of Facebook “likes” or Google “+1’s.”
Although this could change at any time, chances are search engines will make a gradual transition. This means you should still be building backlinks whenever possible to help your website rank and stop competition from taking your rankings.
Since building backlinks is still important, the best strategies for building these links should still be used. Of all the backlink strategies, blog commenting, when done correctly, can be one of the easiest and most powerful ways to dramatically improve your website’s rankings.
Why are Blog Comments so Effective?
As far as the three major search engines (Yahoo, Bing, Google) are concerned, backlinks are a popularity contest. Since search engines want to provide their users with the best websites for whatever keywords they search, it helps to know which websites provide the most value to real people.
Whenever you visit a website you really enjoy and gain value from, chances are you send a link back to that website. Whether it’s a link through Facebook or your own personal blog, a link is still a link.
Since we only link back to websites we gain value from, websites with more links are naturally higher quality and more valuable than websites with fewer links.
Now, before I go on, it’s important to note one thing: not all links are equal. Naturally, the more links a website has, the higher value that website is. For this reason, when a website with a high number of links sends a link to another website, search engine algorithms automatically give that link more authority.
Since blog comments are automatically attached to whatever website posted the page commented on in the first place, these comments gain authority from the main website. This means a blog comment on a website with more authority is worth a lot more than a blog comment on a website created yesterday.
Because blog owners are always looking for comments for their content, most high authority high traffic blogs allow comments. For internet marketers, this means blog commenting is an incredibly effective way to get a lot of backlinks quickly.
On top of this, blog comments have the potential to bring targeted traffic straight to your website without the help of search engines. For example, when you post a comment on a high traffic blog, if your comment was interesting, visitors may click the link in your comment to visit your website. Since you should always be posting blog comments on blogs within your niche, you will gain targeted traffic AND links through blog commenting.
As any experienced Internet marketer can tell you, building relationships with other bloggers and internet marketers is extremely important – especially when you’re just starting out. If you constantly add to discussions within comments and blog posts with other bloggers, they’ll be much more willing to allow you to advertise your links and, in some cases, will even link back to your website themselves! This can bring in a stream of targeted traffic as well as drastically increase your SEO authority.
Also (more on this below), due to comment spamming, almost all webmasters will flag a comment as spam if it includes a link. To get around this, ensure each comment you post adds value to the website and contributes to the overall discussion.
Finding Blogs to Comment On
The first (and most obvious) step to blog commenting is to locate blogs to comment on. We can do this in a variety of ways using free tools. Mainly, Google!
Websites are created within niches. These niches act as an umbrella definition for everything within your website. For example, if you have a website on “goldfish food,” your overall niche would be “goldfish.” All major search engines look for relevancy when reviewing links. If you get a link from someone within your niche, the link will be much more effective than a link from a completely unrelated niche.
So first things first, when you begin blog commenting, comment mainly on blogs that are within your niche. This will make your links have more authority and provide your website with traffic that is interested in the overall topic of your website.
Using RSS Feeds
Although many people believe RSS feeds are dead, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Sure, more people are using email subscriptions and social media to keep up with blogs, but RSS is still a popular way to read blog posts the second they’re published.
Although RSS feeds are designed for the casual blog reader in mind, they can be incredibly effective for blog commenting as well. This is for two reasons. First, when doing blog commenting, it helps to get links from as many different pages of a website as possible. This is mainly because as a blog post leaves the front page of a website, it also loses the authority it gained from ranking on the front page. As a result, your blog comment will be worthless when the post is a few days or weeks old. By constantly commenting on new blog posts, you ensure all your links are as valuable as possible AND your link “portfolio” is significantly diversified.
The second reason why RSS feeds are so handy has to do with building relationships. As mentioned above, bloggers and internet marketers love it when people add valuable comments to their websites. Doing so gives them social proof and encourages other readers to actively participate on their website. When this happens, a community forms around the specific website, which is what every blogger wants to have happened. By commenting on all new posts, bloggers will notice you and begin to form a relationship with you. They might write posts based on your comments (linking to you of course), and, most importantly, will let you get away with posting links within your comments.
Social Media for Blog Commenting
The main reason why RSS is no longer as popular is due to new social media websites taking over. Websites like Facebook and Twitter have made it easy to follow websites without having to use a third-party application (like Google Reader) or having your email spammed by blog notifications.
On top of this, social media websites also add another great tool to a blog commenter's toolbox: the ability to find new blogs within a specific niche. Unlike RSS, where you only receive updates from blogs you’re already following, websites like Facebook and Twitter can help you find new blogs within your niche. Although there are plenty of ways to locate new blogs with Google (more on this below), this is a nice perk for using social media websites. Instead of having to go out and locate new blogs, you’ll be notified of new posts within new blogs automatically.
And, of course, never forget the relationship-building aspect. Although blog commenting is great for building relationships on its own, by also retweeting and sharing blog posts on Twitter and Facebook, the blogger you’re helping to promote will be even more likely to link to you or allow you to do a guest post of some sort.
Google Alerts is an absolutely fantastic tool for all internet marketers. You can set specific keywords within the alerts program, and whenever a blog in your niche is updated with those keywords, you’ll receive an email. As you can probably imagine, this tool will help you locate new blogs and see fresh content being posted within your particular niche.
When setting up Google Alerts, make sure to only allow blog updates to show up within your alerts, or else your email will be spammed by links you can’t comment on.
.gov and .edu Links
Although there’s no definitive proof this is true, it’s a widely held belief that .gov and .edu backlinks are worth more than .com/.net/.org links. One of the best ways to get these links is through blog commenting, as we can leave comments on these .gov or .edu websites with our website’s link.
Finding these blogs is a bit difficult, but there are ways to do so. Warning: this technique is a bit on the “black hat” side of things, so if you’re looking to only use white hat techniques with your SEO, you might want to skip this part.
In order to find these blogs, we use specific Google searches to only give us .edu or .gov results for keywords we search. Paste the following searches into Google and put your primary keyword into the “keyword” section of the code:
site:.edu inurl:blog “comment” -”you must be logged in” -”posting closed” -”comment closed” “keyword”
site:.edu “no comments” +blogroll -”posting closed” -”you must be logged in” -”comments are closed”
site:.gov “no comments” +blogroll -”posting closed” -”you must be logged in” -”comments are closed”
inurl:(edu|gov) “no comments” +blogroll -”posting closed” -”you must be logged in” -”comments are closed”
site:.edu inurl:wp-login.php +blog
site:.gov inurl:wp-login.php +blog
site:.edu inurl:”wp-admin” +login
By using these searches, you can locate blogs with .edu or .gov extensions, allowing you to gain extra authority for your links.
A Word on Spam
Since commenting was originally such a great way to get easy links, many “black hat” SEO experts began creating programs that would comment on blogs for them. This way, they could spam thousands of blogs and get links from all of them. This results in highly inflated search engine rankings, but, of course, it came at a cost.
Bloggers quickly realized the vast majority of comments on their blogs added nothing to the original post. In fact, spam comments discourage visitors from posting their own comments since they’ll likely get lost in a sea of spam. As a result of this, spam detection software has been added to almost all blogs on the internet and precautions have been taken to ensure spam doesn’t make it through.
Most bloggers know about blog commenting and SEO, so when they see a website linked in their comments, the red flags go off immediately inside their heads. Since it is now 2015 and blog commenting has been around for quite some time, the odds of finding a blogger who isn’t wary of spam is incredibly low.
What does this mean for us as internet marketers? Well, blog comments are still effective, we just need to make sure they get through spam filters and attract targeted traffic to our websites at the same time. We do this by building relationships and adding value to our blog posts.
No/Do Follow – Does it Still Matter?
When Google first released the “no follow” concept, it was met with mixed reactions. On one hand, bloggers now had the ability to disable their blog comments from giving any “link juice” to websites that spam them. This completely removed the incentive to spam no-follow blogs, drastically reducing spam. On the other hand, nofollow made it so blog commenters who actually do provide value with their comments have a much more difficult time locating blogs to comment on.
At the end of the day, though, does it really matter if a blog is do/no follow? Well, as far as SEO is concerned, of course, it does. However, when you consider other factors like building relationships and gaining targeted traffic through your comments, it would seem like blog commenting is always a good idea – regardless of whether the website is doing or no follow!
Contrast this idea to the common idea held by most blog commenters. Most people running SEO campaigns only think about their rankings on the search engines. For this reason, they’ll scour the web for do follow blogs and being posting comments only on these blogs. Well, the problem is, these do follow blogs are so rare that when you find one, they’re usually already giving out links to hundreds of different websites.
With each link a page gives out, the less authority is given with it. This means that even when you do find a do follow blog, the amount of authority you get is virtually nothing.
Now, with a no follow blog, on the other hand, you can still submit comments which add to the overall discussion, encouraging both visitors and bloggers to visit your own website. The benefits to commenting on all types of blogs drastically outweigh the benefits of only posting on do follow blogs.
The #1 Rule of Blog Commenting - Provide Value
After you’ve found blogs within your niche, the final step is to leave a comment. This is the most crucial step, and, if done incorrectly, can make all the work you’ve done to find the blogs meaningless. For this reason, it’s essential you understand how to get your blog comments approved and attract visitors to your website.
Throughout this whole process, you should always remember one crucial rule: bloggers are humans, just like you! Bloggers want their blog to become popular. They want to form a community. They want people to gain value from their content and discuss it within the comments. For this reason, as a blog commenter, you’re in the position to give bloggers exactly what they want. If the cost is a simple link back to your website, bloggers aren’t going to care! They want their website to grow. By providing value with our comments, we help their website grow.
The vast majority of blog comments left for the purpose of SEO are spam. They’ll contain broken English and won’t discuss anything in the original article. For this reason, these comments rarely make it through spam filters, and even if they do, bloggers will go through their comments by hand and delete all the spam.
If you visit a blog and the only comments are spam, what do you think of the website? Chances are you won’t trust the content on the site. As you can see, blog comments directly influence the perception of how valuable a website is.
To provide value through your comments, read the content first! Read all the articles you comment on. By doing this, you know what the writer is talking about and can add to the discussion. After you read the content, write out an in-depth comment. Don’t just write a line saying: “thanks for the post.” Instead, write a well throughout comment which adds to the discussion.
Proper Anchor Text
With backlinks, using proper anchor text is incredibly important. If you don’t have the right anchor text, the backlinks won’t count towards the keywords you’re targeting. Instead, they’ll count towards whatever the anchor text is.
With blog comments, usually the “name” field is where your link will go. This means we should put the correct anchor text within this field. Going back to our “goldfish bowls” example, your anchor text is “goldfish bowl,” so you should put that in the name field.
However, we also need to remember webmasters are looking for these links and marking them as spam. For this reason, we can add a nice personal touch to the name field. This plus a comment which adds value all but ensures our comments will be approved.
“Tom | Goldfish Bowls”
Remember, bloggers know what you’re doing with these blog comments. They know you want to gain link juice from their website and boost your own rankings. However, as long as you’re helping them out by adding to the discussion and making your comment as personal as possible, they’ll be happy to give you some link authority. On top of this, if you’re consistently providing value with your comments, they may go out of their way to promote your website with you. This is the power of adding value and building relationships with blog comments!
Throughout this article, we’ve covered all the best techniques and strategies for blog commenting in 2015. Although there are many changes taking place in the world of search engines, blog commenting remains an effective strategy – for now, at least.
If you follow the techniques and strategies outlined in this article, you’ll accomplish three things:
- Links from relevant blogs
- Relationships from bloggers in your niche
- Targeted traffic from people who read your comments.
Never underestimate the power of relationships and organic traffic from your blog comments. Even if a website is “no follow,” you can still gain traffic and build relationships by actively commenting on blogs. For this reason, you should never skip blogs that are “no-follow,” especially because most blogs do this to prevent spam in the first place.
Lastly, keep things personal with your comments. Add to discussions and provide value with each and every comment. This takes a bit more time but will be worth it in the end.
So what are you waiting for? Start adding value with your comments and watch your traffic stats grow!