Have you ever posted a comment on a blog? Ever stop to think about how posting that comment might affect you? Or your own website? Well, guess what. It does. After reading my comments today it may make you think twice about posting (and where you post).
We can’t really talk about leaving comments on blogs without first addressing “link building” and “link building schemes”. So what is that anyway? Well in the field of search engine optimization (SEO), link building describes an action that is aimed at increasing the number and quality of inbound/incoming links to a website or web page. Or as moz.com puts it, “they’re the roads between pages”. (If you’re already lost, don’t panic yet – by the end of this you will totally get it!)
“Search engines use links as “votes”- representing the democracy of the web’s opinion about what pages are important and popular and complex algorithms create evaluations of sites and pages based on this information.” -moz.com
So, when you comment on a blog post you are, in essence, building a little invisible road from their website to yours. This is where you should be asking yourself, do I want a little road built between this website and mine? Will this connection reflect well upon me and my business? Is this road “relevant” to my business type? For example, if you’re a wedding planner commenting on a photography blog about working with a wedding planner for your wedding then your road is probably a good idea to build. If you’re a wedding planner commenting on a strip club’s blog then maybe that road should be reconsidered.
In the past (and still today even) there have been companies that you can pay to build your links. They will post comments with links on thousands of blogs. Basically, they’re the sweatshops of the linking world. A bunch of people sit at a bank of computers in some third world country and post your blog link in the comments sections of a gazillion blogs all over the world and leave some stupid comment that makes no sense to what your blog was about and is likely riddled with misspellings. Now, computer programs have taken the place of actual humans in some cases and can post at the speed of light, without human intervention. This is a “link building scheme”! And provides no value.
If you have your own blog you will know what I’m talking about because you hate these little spamming bastards! And that’s exactly what they are – spamming bastards! And much time is wasted having to weed out these idiots from your blog so the actual comments can get through. This is not the way to build links to your website! This is for scamming scammers and Google will recognize them as such. (And there are spam filters you can add to your blog to weed these people out as well, by the way.)
So what is the normal person to do to build their inbound links? One thought is a link building “party”? Have you ever been invited to one? I have. You know, the whole “you post a comment on my blog and I’ll post a comment on yours” – except on a much larger level. Recipe and lifestyle blogs are really good with this. They schedule certain times where everyone in their community leaves blog posts on each others blogs. So, in theory, in one night you could feasibly have hundreds of comments on your blog post, if you have a really active community. And you, in turn, would leave a comment on a hundred other blogs.
But does it work? Well, yes, it does. But maybe not in the way you’re thinking. As in, it’s probably not going to send a wave of people running to your website because you participated in one linky party and now Google puts you on the first page of Google. A more likely effect of a linky party is that another more popular blog owner reads your blog and decides to feature you on their blog and now you’re exposed to even more people in your target market.
Keep in mind though, even with linky parties, you should stay in blog markets that are logical to you and your business.
Some things you should keep in mind for best results (and as a courtesy to others):
-Post with your REAL name. You’re not a scammer. You’re a human. So let us see who you really are.
-Much like the last comment, post as a person, not as your business name. It’s more authentic. Posting as a business name feels spammy right away. And don’t worry about not getting “credit” for our post. The all knowing Google will figure it out.
-Avoid one line posts, like “great post”. Ugh, that’s the worst! Is that the kind of comment you would want someone else to write on your blog? If it’s a great post, then tell why it was a great post.
-This is not an advertising platform for your business! Don’t be spammy by automatically adding a link to your website in your comment. Most blogs usually have fields for name, email and website just above where you will post your comment. Once your comment is approved your name will likely have a hyperlink to your website anyway.
-On your own blog, be careful who you let post a comment. As I mentioned earlier, there are spam filters you can use as a first step. But sometimes it’s hard to tell if that commenter is legit. If you have any question, check out their site first before approving their comment. It’s better to be safe than sorry, because if you let a spammer post on your blog you will be connected with spammers – and you don’t want to be associated with a spammer in any way!
-On your own blog, don’t forget to interact! You can’t expect to get a ton of blog comments and not respond. I often see blogs with questions in the comments but the poster never responds. Personally, I won’t leave a comment on these blogs. And your posters will soon realize that you don’t care about them – you just care about their comments.
“Bottom line – blog commenting IS a great way to build links, engage with an audience on a site you like, and enhance your own visibility.” But you can’t do it for one day and think you’re done with it. It needs to be added as a regular part of your marketing efforts.
What has been your experience with commenting on blogs? Do you already make it a regular part of your business?
Jamie Lewis says
Great Post! (That’s it – just kidding 🙂
If I did want to continue to increase my SEO by participating in a “Linky Party”, how would I go about finding one? Are there certain groups you would recommend over others? Thanks!
Cheryl Bailey says
Hi Jamie, I’m glad you liked the post! I found a great blog for you on linky parties. It’s http://www.blogguidebook.com/p/linky-parties.html
She not only has steps for creating your own but links to current linky parties as well. Again, you’ll notice that the crafty world of recipe and lifestyle blogging does this well so you’ll have to look for some that are more wedding related. You can always start your own, of course!
Kara Trombetta says
Very well researched and well presented. And thank you for the opportunity to bump up my SEO. Haha 😉
Erica Gray says
Cheryl, thank you so much for this. You de-mystified SEO. Super helpful!
jennifer Weems says
SEO is a crazy beast. Thanks for doing the research and telling it like it is in real terms. Signed, spamming bastard.
Cheryl Bailey says
Jennifer, you crack me up!
Susan Wolfer says
Yoda of SEO, you are. 🙂 I get a lot of interaction on Facebook by my goal is to get more blog comments! SEO is a tricky beast.
Ya know, I had read about this somewhere before, but the visual of building an invisible road really worked for me. “Spamming bastard” is catchy. And I also love your idea of commenting on the comments! Agh, why haven’t I thought of that yet? Awesome post.
Dawn Halstead says
Thank you for your post. I am trying to do better at increasing my SEO but am so intimidated by the blog world. I had heard it was good to have a blog on your webpage, but my web designer s unable to put one on mine. What are others’ thoughts about this?
Gretchen Blair says
SEO… the next beast I need to conquer… do you have any resources you would recommend?
Shea Bailey says
That’s such a good question and has so many potential answers. Could they have done that….absolutely, but I can’t say for sure because I would need more info. Can you tell me what they were going to do to get you on the front page of Google?
Thanks for these posts! I am slowly trying to figure out the world of SEO and feel like I’m floundering sometimes!
Steve Van De Steene says
I just joined a party group like you mentioned and someone said that Google now penalizes you for linking your site in comments like this.
Is that true?
Shining Star Photo Booth says
Good information on how those of us in the Wedding industry can work together to boost each other.
Sandra Gomes says
Cheryl, thanks for this great post. You de-mystified SEO. It’s really helpful.