The Power and SEO Behind Blog Commenting

Sunday, August 07, 2011
A while back, Margo Dill wrote a great blog post, Comment Sense: Using Comments to Build Your Blog Readership, which brought a lot of Muffin readers out of their shells. Today, we bring you a post by the ladies at Author Marketing Experts that shares even more reasons why you should comment on other bloggers' posts, as well as a blog commenting and SEO plan for taking action. Did you know commenting was good for SEO? Find out why!

For the past five or so years, we've organized teams to support an author's efforts to increase the SEO of his or her website. We've done this a number of ways, but the biggest and most powerful was--and is--blog commenting.

When we first launched teams to offer blog commenting, most people didn't have a clue how powerful this type of marketing was. Most Internet people did and have been doing it ever since. Now it's become more mainstream, and everyone seems to want to jump on the blog commenting bandwagon. But let me caution you, because there's a right way and a very wrong way to do this. I'll explain both.

Creating a Blog Commenting Plan

The first step in blog commenting is creating a plan and, of course, knowing who you'll be engaging with. Here are a few ways you can get started:

Deciding who to follow: Who will become part of your online networking tribe? These are the people influential to your industry. They might be competitors to you, or spokespeople. They might also be authorities in one way or another. Whoever they are and whatever they offer, it should somehow dial into what you are promoting. I recommend that you make a list of the top 5-10 names. Don't go overboard for now. I'm sure there are more people you could engage with, but to start, I want you to focus just on a few. You can grow the rest of your list from there.

Once you have your list, you'll want to start following their blogs and also find out where they are appearing. This might mean commenting off of their website; I'll explain in a minute why that's important. First, let's look at how you can organize this information:

RSS feeds: This is the quickest and simplest way to get started. Subscribe to their RSS feeds and keep all of these in your online reader, or Google iPage. That way you can spend a few minutes in the morning going through your blog posts to see which ones you want to comment on.

Twitter: This is another great way  to find content to blog on. Follow your favorites on Twitter and follow the links to their blogs. This will often give you great insights into the biggest and most popular posts on their websites. Don't forget to comment on their Twitter posts, too!

Google Alerts: Another great system for finding good content to comment on. Plug in the names of the folks you're following. Also, enter their blog URLs too! Often bloggers will reference a blog post and not the name of the person blogging. Having this link as one of your Alerts will allow you to follow each and every mention of this blogger. So, why do you want to blog off their site? Anytime a blogger is featured on a website, it's likely that site is one you'll want to follow too. Or, at some point you may also want to blog comment on that site as well. It's a great way to network with folks who might one day interview you or feature your book!

Tips for a Great SEO Plan

Frequency: I generally recommend you try to comment on 3-5 blogs a week. I also recommend you spend no more than 30 minutes a day ferreting through blogs and posting, anything more becomes a time-drain that will prevent you from keeping up this work.

Engagement: Remember that each comment is no different than a post you would write for your own blog. You'd never consider writing "great post!" on your site and leave it at that, right? You should consider writing short but thoughtful posts for your blog comments. Offer additional insight, another perspective, or a link to where the reader can get more information. Don't be salesy, that's the first way you'll get blasted.

Quality over Quantity: As per the above note: make it count. Don't worry about the amount of posts you do, but spend the time considering the quality of the comment itself. You'll find much better engagement and response when you do.

Where's the Juice: The SEO juice from this strategy will be apparent in the incoming links that are now directed to your site. Each time you post a comment it will ask you for your URL (if you're already registered on a particular site, the login will remember your URL and post it in each comment). While not all blogs allow follow links, there's a lot of debate on no-follow blogs and whether they are still good for SEO. What is "no follow"? No follow is a term used in the SEO world to describe sites that can block your outbound link (the link to your site), using a No Follow Tag. See this Google article for more on no follow. The No Follow essentially tells Google not to consider your link when ranking for algorithm. Even though you may get referral traffic, Google will act as if you aren't even on the site. Meaning, you may get traffic from the link, but no "link juice" per se. This deters a lot of SEO people, but my take is this: If a link from a high-traffic site will get you traffic, why not post there? We still see a significant amount of traffic from links posted on No Follow sites. Also, keep in mind that search engines pay a lot of attention to social sites like Twitter and Facebook, which are both No Follows.

The point being, a strong SEO plan should include blog commenting. Not just for the SEO benefits, but for the engagement and connections blog commenting brings with it. Consistent, high quality posts will not only bring you great traffic, but also fantastic connections as well.

Good luck!

Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques.


Unknown said...

Useful information! Thanks for this overview on commenting.

jennysararyan said...

You know, I have no idea what SEO even means. Useful information, but clearly I'm not yet ready for it! I am even more of a beginner than I thought....

Helen W. Mallon said...

We all have to start somewhere, Jenny! SEO is Search Engine Optimization...which I learned pretty recently myself.

This is good advice. I would add that it matters that you don't sign up for everything and therefore find yourself semi-desperately commenting on blogs you know in your gut aren't right for you. I did that, and it felt like trying to get in with a group of kids in Junior High school because they were popular, not because I fit in. There's room for air in this!

thanks for the 'don't spend too much time' advice. It's easy to get too anxious over this.

hkhagan said...

Exactly! I just taught my mom about this. She recently started 2 blogs. Now she’s out there commenting all over the place. I’ll send her a link to this post as well. It explains what I’ve been telling her for a while very well. Thanks!

Margo Dill said...

Thanks for mentioning my article. I can't wait to share this with my students in my blogging course starting on August 30! :)

Terry Odell said...

One pet peeve: People whose comments are nothing but plugs for their own books, etc. Some can't seem to leave a comment without at least one of their own titles in there. If allowed, I'll include a link to my website and blog in my sig line, but try to keep my comments "on topic."

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Marji Laine - Faith Driven Fiction said...

I'm so glad I happened upon your article. Referred from Twitter. I've always posted comments on the blogs I visited. I didn't realize until recently that it helped my own blog with visits.

I have to ask, and I feel stupid, but what is SEO? (It's probably staring me right in the face and I just missed it!)

WOW! said...

@ Marji & jennysararyan:

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In this case... Let's say you have a blog and you want it to rank better on search engines like Google. What I mean by "rank better" is you want people to be able to find you on the first page of their search results on Google. One way to improve your search engine results is by having incoming links pointed to your blog from other websites. When you comment on another blog that allows you to leave your URL, or you add it to your signature, then you are leaving an incoming link to your site. The more incoming links you have, the more PR or Page Rank you are likely to receive.

Of course, there's a lot more that goes into it than just incoming links. You'll want to use certain keywords on your site and in your links that will add weight to search results. There's a whole "science" (or Voodoo!) behind SEO. It's still a mystery to even the pros because Google is always changing its algorithms.

I think it's great that you post comments on blogs you visit! It lets the blog owner know someone is actually out there reading. And what's even more important than SEO is connecting with people. By commenting and inspiring discussion, you are creating a community and building friendships. And those friends are more likely to visit your blog in return. :)

@ Terry:

I agree. Comments should be on topic. I already had to delete around 6 comments on this post because they were from essay writing companies that seem to be the worst spammers out there. (On our blog anyway) They just leave a comment like "nice post" and put a link to their service site. I don't even think it's a real person half the time.

As far as authors, I don't mind at all if they leave a comment and a link. As long as the comment is relevant. I know it's hard to reach readers these days.

Thanks, ladies! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask. :)

Unknown said...

Yes, you are right. Blog commenting is one of the most effective ways in building backlinks to your site. On the other hand, creating Google alerts can a good way to find fresh and relevant blogs for you to comment.

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