For the busy marketing manager looking to enhance and maintain a healthy website search rank, things have only gotten more complicated in the past year thanks to Google's Penguin and Panda algorithm updates.
Everything from keyword usage, your meta data structure, link text, link building, and duplicate content – the entire rule book has been torn apart, leaving you hesitant and paranoid to make your next move in order to avoid causing harm to your site's SEO.
So, what about blog comments? Are you wondering whether this is still a safe and effective way to build backlinks to your site? If you've relied on this tactic in the past you'll want to keep reading.
Are Blog Comments Still Good For SEO or Seen as Spam?
The thing to remember is the fact that even before the introduction of Penguin, utilizing blog comments for link building only offered value if the blog/website was credible (meaning it contained unique and quality content) and if it offered true "do-follow" links (versus "no follow" links), since these are the only links that offer link juice that will get noticed by Google.
These rules still apply more than ever in order to obtain any SEO benefit, but there's a handful of new best practices to abide by to avoid making these links work against you.
1. Choose Relevant Sites
Forget the days of hunting down any and every blog that accepts comments. To avoid being seen as a link pirate, stick with blogs/websites that are relevant to your business and industry, if your intention is to build a backlink. For example, your manufacturing business shouldn't be posting comments on a home cooking blog just because it gets a boatload of traffic. Besides, as I'll explain further down below, your comment needs to relevant and helpful to other readers.
2. Choose Credible Sites
In addition to focusing only on relevant sites, it's important to stick with credible ones. Remember, if your goal is to be engaged online within your industry and attract some credible links along the way, you need to be focused on the sites that can pass on some valuable link juice. Once you've identified a blog post that you want to comment on, evaluate the quality of the content on the blog overall and how it's being shared by others via social media. You can also look up their mozRank, a link popularity score.
3. Strive for Thoughtful & Purposeful Comments
As a co-manager of The Whole Brain Marketing Blog, I can't tell you how many times per week we receive bogus, thoughtless and spammy comments from individuals looking to nab a backlink from us. These comments don't result in anything since we delete them before they ever appear on our blog page. If you want to avoid being seen as a spammer and having your comment deleted, be prepared to add to the conversation with a thoughtful and purposeful comment. This not only ensures a better chance of having the blog manager post your comment but you then look credible to others who read the blog, which can sometimes lead to referral traffic to your own site.
4. Stick With Branded Link Text
One of the biggest changes post-Penguin to be mindful of is not overusing the same link text. Variation is key! And this becomes really important when leaving blog comments since this is how SEOs used to cheat the system. With that said, countless experts in the SEO field have advised to stick with branded link text such as your company name or your site's main URL when leaving blog comments.
5. Limit Your Links
The last but not least important blog commenting best practice is to limit the number of links you place in your comment. In my opinion you should keep it to one link, which on most blogs is satisfied when they ask for your URL as you enter your name and comment. In some cases if you have another valuable blog/article of your own that could add to the topic of discussion, this would be acceptable to incorporate – but refrain from throwing in a blatant keyword for your link text. Not only does this decrease your chances of having your comment approved but could also be flagged by Google.
Relying on blog comments alone as a link building tactic won't work as well as it used to pre-Penguin but there's still some value to this approach. Depending on the blog's credibility and handout of "do-follow" links, you can pick-up some added link juice that will in return improve your SEO. Follow these guidelines outlined above and you'll make better use of your time and avoid causing harm to your site's credibility.