The latest Google updates Panda and Penguin have website owners scared of doing any type of link building – especially blog commenting. The truth is, if you are still posting blog comments for backlinks and for SEO purposes in 2013, you are doing it wrong. While blog commenting has lost its appeal as a tool for SEO’ers to build links, the allure of blog comments is still there. You need to revise your blog commenting strategy to think more about driving targeted, converting traffic to your site and less about using those links to boost your search engine ranks.
Why you shouldn’t comment for SEO
Blog comments have traditionally been used for spam. Spammers have used automated blog commenting to build links to their websites in order to manipulate search engine rankings. While this was working well for spammers for a long time, it started to lose its effectiveness as Google began to implement new methods to fight web-spam and limit its power.
In addition, most blog platforms these days (including WordPress, Blogger, and Typepad) have added the no-follow attribute to all links in their comment fields, meaning you will not get any “Page Rank” flowing into your site from the comments themselves.
Matt Cutts, the head of Google’s Webspam team said himself that, “no follow links are dropped out of Google’s link graph.” He also said that even if you do find a “do-follow blog,” that the link probably won’t be that valuable because it will probably already have been spammed-to-death from other webmasters seeking that do-follow link-juice.
So, if no-follow links don’t count, and the do-follow links probably won’t count as much as you’d like them to, why even bother commenting? The answer is simple – search engine ranks aren’t everything. There are also users and potential customers who will be reading the blog comments you will be posting. If you leave an insightful comment, somebody might read it and click through your link to learn more about yourself or your product. Even though the blog comment link might not influence your search engine ranks, they could still become a customer or tell a friend about your services.
How blog commenting has helped me
As I look at my Google Analytics account and track my conversions, I notice that my it’s not my Google traffic, or even my Bing or Yahoo traffic that converts the best, it’s my comment-links on a few specific external blog posts that bring me the highest conversion rates.
After realizing that there is life beyond Google rankings, and that there are other methods of getting traffic that converts, I started to change my marketing strategy.
The most effective ways to blog comment
You need to revise your blog commenting strategy. It needs to be more about quality than quantity. Blog comments should be for the visitors, and so it makes sense that you should comment on articles, comments, questions, and forum posts that are already getting traffic. The more eyes that see your comment, the better. Remember, you are trying to get traffic from these comments, and not for SEO links.
To find these high traffic properties to place your comment on, use Google. Chances are, the articles ranking in Google web search, blog search, and news search are already pretty well visited.
Search for questions that customers might be asking in your niche. Ideas for search queries include:
- Where is the cheapest place to buy [widget]?
- What is the best [widget]?
- How to get [widget] in [insert location here]?
Once you find these blog posts, forum posts, Q+A site questions, etc., you need to help the user answer the question and then provide a link to your page for more information. Provide value and a solution in your answer so that visitors are more likely to click your link (and your answer is less likely to be marked as spam).
You can also set up Google News alerts for specific keywords in your niche. I work a lot in the auto insurance niche, so I have a Google News alert for the keywords “auto insurance” and “car insurance”. Whenever auto insurance news stories are released, I’m always to first to comment on them.
Often times, a big news story will be syndicated or written about on many different news sites, blogs, etc. In these instances, my secret for efficiency is to post similar comments on every single article on said news story. This way, you can stay on topic and avoid running into blog-commenting “writer’s block,” all while you quickly build links to your site.
While blog commenting for SEO may be a thing of the past, blog commenting for targeted visitors is not. By being creative, finding those targeted visitors, and posting valuable comments related to your niche, you can discover a method of driving traffic to your site that is both conversion-driving and immune to the fluctuations of search engine ranks.