Marketing, Design, Writing & More

Use Blog Commenting to Build Quality Traffic

Using Blog Commenting to Drive TrafficBlog commenting isn’t dead just yet, however, it is if you just plan on spamming links and not adding value. This is more about how to comment correctly and create value out of commenting on articles. Participating in conversations with other readers provide a value for everyone when it’s done right. The definition of right is subjective of course. To keep it simple let’s define it as content that continues the conversation or adds the discussion. This should eliminate those comments that are simple “Thanks!” or “Good read”. That’s what like buttons are for and sharing of course.

If you plan on signing into a commenting system with a social media account then use Twitter because it’s where you should be active and a reader can quickly connect with you. I primarily use Twitter because they are instantly introduced to my brand and my website is right there in the bio. It’s simple and I think Twitter is just better at jumping right into a conversation. I never used to consider which service I sign in with. Google+ sign in is completely off my list at this point since it really has no value in getting seen.

Back in 2006’ish, I would hunt for lists of blog post with the domain PageRank to comment on. Chasing a quick link was where it was at. Back then it was for manipulation of the search engine because social really wasn’t a thing yet. That method faded over a few Google updates to how web pages are indexed and then commenting kind of died. Don’t get me wrong, there is still plenty of spam looking for a post to comment on. I just mean it’s easier for an admin to filter those out and delete them. In addition, the “nofollow” tag has neutered the practice as well.

With all of the changes over the last 10 years, and the ones to come, there will be only room for real comments that are truly valued. I now only search for content that is worth my comment and you should too. Let me explain why a quality comment is worth something.

Quality Comments Are Money

When I say money, I mean that quality content is akin to currency. You are buying respect by giving the site owner and reader something they can be glad they spent time reading. You are also buying a spot on that page. Most admins will simply delete a comment that is obviously there for a link. Spammy comments include one or more links, or very little text. The comments that are completely out of context are also easy to spot. If you want your comment to stay, you have to contribute beyond the typical “thanks, great read!”.

Outsourcing “SEO” can be dangerous and if you are a person surfing Digital Point or SEO Clerks for blog commenting gigs then this paragraph is for you. I wouldn’t outsource blog commenting because not many are going to create the level of quality to the conversation that I will. I mean that I have the biggest interest in getting it right so I need full control on how my contribution is viewed. When I first started out trying to build links I would hit some forum where services would be sold on the cheap.

Many of those services include blog commenting and I couldn’t resist. I didn’t understand content very well and the impact that great content had. Needless to say, I got a ton of blog comments and within a day or so most were deleted. The ones that stayed on the posts were garbage and little traffic came from them. I can’t discount the position changes in search engine position though. I may have benefited from that aspect. In case you think that’s worth doing it, Google no longer cares much about blog commenting as a way to rank websites. It’s worthless.

If you are pro-commenting then make sure you are putting the right time and effort into it. Find the right spots for them too.

How to Find Great Articles

I have been using this tactic for a long time and hopefully you have as well. If not, I will give you a nugget that can change the game. Google Alerts is the key ingredient to letting Google find the most relevant keywords that relate to your knowledge tree. For example, I have alerts set up for “social media marketing”, “blogging”, “content marketing”, and so on. Every day Google Alerts sends me an email containing lots of links to articles from solid sources that I can potentially leave a comment on. I don’t comment on everything because not everything has the same value to me.

What do I mean about value to me? Some articles are not meant for long term consumption. Websites like CNN, Reddit, and others that tackle things happening right now are not as great as content that will be relevant for a while. We call this “evergreen content” and is why websites like e-How are heavily trafficked.

Some articles from good sources are just quick write-ups that I know will not drive a lot of traffic to my social profiles or my website. I tend to skip these if I feel this way. I want to know that I am investing in a comment that is going to be seen and valued by the author and a potential reader. Using these methods, I have already accumulated top comments and I have seen traffic as a result. You have to test out which websites perform better and track your referrals if you can using tools like Google Analytics.

Building Links and Getting Organic Search Traffic

Most people chasing links know that commenting systems like Disqus don’t provide SEO value because their systems are handled through JavaScript. The content sits on their servers until it’s called for by the site. This is where you have to make a decision on whether or not to invest into a comment. It’s a choice whether you want the potential reader or the potential link. This decision is completely yours and there is no wrong answer here. If you want the link you will need to search for commenting sections that are native to WordPress or another CMS. It’s fairly easy to spot them because third-party commenting system like the few I mentioned above it will be branded with their name. There is little chance to mistake them for native.

So once you decide on a post to comment on, you just have to craft one that adds to the conversation and also attracts replies. Replies help push the comment to the top and give it clout. That is unless the replies are merely calling you an idiot or something of that nature. That would be what I call “doing it wrong”. Provide a few sentences and give another reader or even the author something to respond to. Nobody will engage with you if it’s just a “Glad I read that, and can’t wait for the next article” submission, unless they are desperate for engagement. I can tell you that I would delete a comment that provides nothing.

Going for the Link

If you choose to build links by using native commenting systems from CMS’s like Drupal, WordPress, Joomla systems (it’s ok if you can’t tell. Sometimes I view the source code to see), your website will be linked up but expect the “nofollow tag”. That will tell Google that the page votes for your website as a good place for other searchers. Then you may or may not get a bump in the search index. That’s basically how it works. You have to work hard for each link so create a goal that you can obtain. For instance, you can shoot for 50 high-quality comments per month. That is reasonable and probably even low depending on your writing skills.

Going for the Views

If you are commenting on a system that is like Disqus, you will have to consider a different route. First, it’s imperative that your Disqus profile has been completely filled out. Add your Twitter account, website, and a bio. You want that comment to drive someone to find out who you are so you can be discovered. Without a link, you are going to have to put even more of an effort into getting a reward with this method. I usually skip these but if you get the right article you can drive some great traffic to your profile. Never dismiss this simply because you don’t think it’s worth it. It is, but only selectively.

Adam Mulholland on DisqusHere is my Disqus profile so you can see what it should look like. Clicking on it will also bring you to my profile. I have mine on public view and you can follow me if you so desire to, but that’s not what I am after. You obviously are on my site already and know who I am. I have 2 comments on this profile and you can see I am not very active because I personally don’t find much value here. There is, but I prefer other methods of getting seen.

The Rub

Blog commenting is useful and provides long-term value. If you are looking for a quick fix then buying ad spots is probably the best way to achieve that. You have to have several legs to your strategy and this is just one of them. I absolutely recommend this and hope that you find value from it. There is no fool-proof way to make SEO happen quickly, but a steady approach with real content will make you rise in organic search. Great placement with your comments will also drive your social following as well. I firmly believe that both of these combined make this an essential piece of the pie.

Let me know what you think. Maybe you have some additional advice, or think I am wrong. I am happy to have the conversation so please drop a comment below.

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