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21 Blog Commenting Best Practices

Written on April 3rd, 2014 by

Blog commenting can provide a lot of traction in your SEO campaigns. It's also a great way to not only get back links but also gain traffic and build relationships in your niche.

However, like any other link-building strategy, leaving comments on blogs can quickly turn from a valuable tactic to a spammy one if not done correctly. Using the wrong tools and methods can get you a bad reputation and earn you a painful slap on the wrist from Google and the other search engines.

In order to get the most out of blog commenting, you have to learn its place in the SEO ecosystem, when it should be used and when it should be avoided.

Benefits of Blog Commenting

There are many benefits to leaving blog comments. Here’s a few:

Back Links

This is the most obvious and the most important benefit to us SEOs: Every time you leave a back link on a well-chosen site, you are getting a high-quality and relevant back link that Google loves to see in your link profile.

Traffic

If you post interesting and engaging comments on high-traffic sites, other readers will click through and you will get referral traffic.

Networking

The more you provide real and insightful comments on someone’s site, the more they will get to know you. By offering value through your comments, you start a relationship with someone in your niche or a related one that could pay dividends down the road. Many partnerships, joint ventures and other business endeavors have started just like this.

Dangers of Blog Commenting

Too much of a good thing can be bad, and blog commenting is no different. Building blog comment links in the wrong way, at the wrong pace and in the wrong places can negate the hard work you have done with your SEO campaigns and get you in trouble with the search engines.

Here’s where things can go wrong:

Commenting on Low-Quality Sites

If you skip the research and leave comments on spammy, low-quality sites, then you will reap what they have sown. If they have received a penalty or get one in the future, those links will be tainted. The best-case scenario is they will lose their value. Worst-case scenario, they might open your site to a penalty as well. Check out a site in Traffic Travis (get your free download here) before you start leaving comments. 

Building Too Many Comment Links

Your link profile needs to look as natural as possible. If you have too many of one kind of link, the search engines will not look kindly upon your site. If you have a headache, taking 10 aspirin as opposed to the prescribed three isn’t going to cure your headache that much quicker or relieve more pain. Likewise, a few quality blog comment back links may help you rank well, but that doesn’t mean you should go out and build thousands.

Using Automated Tools

While automated tools may have their place in finding good places to leave blog comments, using them to auto post comments is a first-class ticket to spam town. You’re not providing any value, you’re just exploiting loopholes in website building platforms and the laziness of absentee website owners.

Leaving Bad Comments

When you’re leaving blog comments on another site, you’re playing in someone else’s sandbox. They make the rules and if you break them or don’t live up to what they think a comment should be, then it’s not going to get posted. Not only will you have wasted your time, but you will also start to burn some bridges if you do it too much. Remember all of those networking and business opportunities we talked about above? Well, they all go bye-bye if other site owners decide you’re a self-promoting troll who is trying to use their sites for back links and traffic.

Blog Commenting Best Practices

In order to make sure you get the most from your blog commenting SEO efforts and don’t start down the slippery slope of posting spammy links, here are some easy-to-follow tips.

  1. Add Value: Be thoughtful and engaging with your comment and add some value to the post. Relate something from your own experience that expands on something mentioned in the post, back up the poster's point or respectfully present an opposing opinion. Don’t waste space and leave pointless comments (e.g., "Great post!" or "Awesome job!").
  2. Read the Entire Post: Know what you are writing about by reading the whole post first. Don’t just see that the post and site meet your requirements and slap something up for the link.
  3. Be Original: Read through the other comments and make sure you’re not repeating others. Bringing up the same point as someone before you shows the site owner that you didn’t bother to read through all of the other comments and are just there for a link.
  4. Comment Early: Most blog platforms list the first comments at the top, so the earlier you leave your comment, the better chance you’ll have for more people to read it.
  5. Comment Often: Become part of the blog’s community by commenting often. Again, make sure your frequent comments provide value so they are welcome.
  6. Don’t Always Link to Your Homepage: If you’re providing a back link to your site, there may be better choices than your home page. If you have written something that might compliment the blog post better than your home page, link to that. It also helps your SEO efforts when not every link you build goes back to your home page.
  7. Don’t Spam Sites: This should go without saying, but if you go out and try to mass build links without regard for what the site is about or the quality of your comment, then you’re going to get what you deserve.
  8. Don’t use Automating Posters: Push button SEO sounds good in a Warrior Forum newsletter, but it never pays off in real life. These programs might build a lot of links but they will be low-quality spam links that will do very little good for your site’s SEO.
  9. Don’t Live by PR Alone: Yes, a page’s PR should be something you look at when you’re deciding to leave a comment, but it shouldn’t be the only factor. Relevancy, quality of the posts, frequent updates, blogger interaction with commentators and other things are just as important. Also remember, the main page of a site may have a high PR, but the individual post pages may not. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t leave a comment, though.
  10. Build a Relationship: Engage with the author, provide value and help others when you can. Look at your comments as the first step in forming a relationship.
  11. Be Genuine: Don’t leave comments full of fluff, flattery and whatever you think the blog owner wants to hear. If you agree with them, say so and explain why. Likewise, if you disagree with them, say so and explain why.
  12. Don’t be a Troll: Leaving nasty comments, tearing down the author or other commentators and other troll-like behavior is not cool and will not endear you to anyone. Even if you don’t care about being polite and civil, you care about back links. You’re not going to get them if you troll it up.
  13. Don’t Keyword Stuff: Slamming keywords into where your name goes (and the link is built out) looks terrible and spammy. Do your best to avoid that. There are plenty of opportunities to create keyword anchor text elsewhere.
  14. Follow the Rules: It’s their ball and they will take it home if you don’t play by their rules. If the blog owner doesn’t state their rules for posting somewhere, you can ask or just see what other commentators do and follow suit.
  15. Don’t Worry About No-follow: Some link builders will look at a potential site for posting and not do so because the links are no-follow.  There is still value in no-follow links, so don’t dismiss a quality site just because of that.
  16. Post on Relevant Blogs Only: Imagine you are a reader and are enjoying a post and the comments on a blog about triathlon training. Then some thoughtless link builder slaps up a comment with a link to discount erection pills. You don’t have to find blogs in the exact same niche as yours. Something related will do quite nicely. You get the relevancy but don’t have to consider competition issues.
  17. Upload a Gravatar: Be a person, not an anonymous icon. By uploading an image of you or something personal, you will stand out to the blog owner you are trying to build a relationship with.
  18. Avoid Low-Quality, Penalized Sites: Do your research and make sure the site you are leaving a comment on has a good rank with Google and hasn’t been slapped around by the furry-animal updates.
  19. Ask Questions: A great way to add value and get a blog owner to engage with you is to ask questions. Now, don’t be that student that sits in the front row and asks an obvious question just to get noticed by the professor. The other students (and probably the professor) hate that kid. Ask something that adds value to your life and everyone else’s.
  20. Keep it Short and Sweet: If your comment is longer than three sentences, it’s probably too long. Don’t drone on.
  21. Links in Comments: Usually it’s bad form to leave hyperlinks in the actual comment. Sometimes you can get away with it if you’re linking out to something that shows an example about what you’re commenting about. Just don’t be surprised if the link disappears or you don’t get your comment approved.

Follow these blog comments tips and you’ll get the most out of your SEO efforts. If you don’t make an effort to ensure you’re following the best practices, you're wasting your own time and energy.

Since you’re most likely doing these SEO campaigns on your own, you’re not spending a lot of money, but SEO has other costs. Your time, energy and other resources are spent doing this work, so make the most it by going into every campaign armed with knowledge.

By doing research using tools such as Traffic Travis, you’ll know where your competitors are getting links and you’ll easily be able to emulate them. You’ll also be able to judge a site you’re considering leaving a comment on to make sure it’s worth your time and won’t be counter-productive to your SEO campaign.