SEO

A Comprehensive Guide to Link Building via Blog Commenting

Though there is a lot of debate about the value of blog commenting as a form of link building, it is still a very popular linking strategy. This guide covers some basic things you will probably encounter while blog commenting, and how to make sure you get your comment approved more times than not.

Benefits of Blog Commenting Links

First off, let’s look at the benefits of blog commenting. There are five primary reasons we build links for websites. Here is what you need to look for to accomplish these goals with blog commenting.

Traffic

If you are looking to increase traffic to your website, your best bet is to comment on blogs that receive a lot of traffic that are in your niche or industry, without concern to dofollow or nofollow linking.

To find popular blogs in your niche, you can check out the variety of blog directories out there. Some of my favorite sites include:

  • Technorati – Use the search box at the top of the site – you can search for popular posts using specific keywords or change the “switch” from posts to blogs and search for a blog that covers particular topic.
  • Alltop – Alltop pulls in feeds for blogs on a variety of topics, showing the latest five posts from blogs on everything from ABC News to Zoology. You’ll be hard pressed not to find a blog on a topic you want to comment on here.
  • PostRank – Want some analytics details? Head over to PostRank Topics and search for your topic. It will bring up a list of blogs that are tagged wth that topic in order of social engagement, including comments and shares on social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, Delicious, Myspace, and more.

PageRank

If you are blog commenting to boost your PageRank, then you are going to want to look for blog posts that are relevant to your topic, have some PageRank themselves, and preferably allow you to have dofollow links, as that is how the magical “link juice” is passed.

To find blogs that are dofollow, you can simply do a Google search for dofollow blog directories or dofollow blog list. Some directories and lists are old though, so the PageRank information maybe out of date or the site may no longer be dofollow. It is kind of hit and miss.

To find blog posts with high PR, one method I like to use is a Google search for particular keywords in the Firefox browser using the Seoquake extension. When you install it, be sure to check to go to the Tools Menu > Seoquake > Preferences, and under SE plugins, and Enable the Google checkbox as well as change Load parameters to by request so you don’t overload Google and Yahoo with requests to the point they ban you from search.

Next, do a Google search for your keywords plus additional phrases to find blog posts such as Disqus (a popular blog commenting system), “register or login to post comments” (for Drupal blogs), site:blogspot.com for Blogger blogs, “leave a comment” (WordPress blogs), etc. You can sort the results by PageRank by clicking on the PR: ? and using the arrows to sort the results from highest to lowest PR.

SERPs

For boosting SERPs for a particular keyword phrase, you will want to find relevant blogs using dofollow (as you would for PageRank boosting), plus you will want to be able to use keyword anchor text for your link. This is a bit tricky in terms of getting passed moderation (more on that in a bit). But there are two ways to be sure you are safe with using keyword anchor text:

1. You find a blog post where others do it. If there are other people getting approved using keywords in their name field as anchor text or anchor text links in the body of the comment, then you probably can too.

2. If you search for your keywords and “Your Name@Your Keywords” you will find blogs using KeywordLuv. You will just need to enter Your Name@Your Keywords in the name field to get your website linked to your preferred keywords and anchor text.

Blog Post or Article Promotion

If you are blog commenting to boost PageRank, search rankings, or traffic to particular blog posts, you can search for blogs enabled with CommentLuv. These blogs allow you to have a link to your main website as well as a link to a post below your comment.

Typically, you can do this by simply entering your blog URL or your author page / profile URL in the website field, and CommentLuv will usually pull up your latest post. If you want the option to pull up your latest 10 posts, you can create a free account on ComLuv and then have access to your latest posts, linked to by their titles.

You can also promote articles using CommentLuv that are on particular article directories including EzineArticles, HubPages, Squidoo, or any network that allows an RSS feed for articles by a particular author.

Spam Filters

There are several roadblocks that you can run into when blog commenting, especially when you are trying to get a link added to your comment. The biggest is going to be spam filters.

Akismet

Akismet is the top spam filter protection for WordPress blogs, both self-hosted domains and on the WordPress.com site. The challenge with Akismet is that it only takes a few bloggers to mark you as spam before you end up triggering one of the many aspects that their database checks for, and once you’re in, you will have to request to be removed from their database. But of course, if you get marked as spam again, you’ll be back in it again.

How do you know you have been tagged as spam by Akismet? Typically, your comment will either be approved automatically or go into moderation. If you submit your comment, and it doesn’t show it as being in moderation, then you might want to email the blog owner to let them know you just commented and it didn’t show up on the site.

If you submit your comment on a blog post that is older than 30 days and get a white screen, then congratulations – you have found an Akismet protected blog that has turned on the option to delete any spam comments on older posts without it ever being recorded in the bloggers’ spam or moderation folder. Your comment, hence, will never be seen. Your only shot at this stage of getting a comment on that site will be to comment on a post that is less than 30 days old and email the blog owner to let them know you are in their spam filter.

Drupal

Drupal blogs (usually the ones you have to login or register for) also have a spam filtering system. Since I’m not a Drupal user, I don’t know exactly how it works, but you will know you have been caught by it because you will receive a warning when you submit your comment that it looks like spam because of the link in the body of the comment text. At this point, you’ll be prompted to enter a captcha – after that, it could go live or be sent to moderation.

Alternatively, it may simply tell you it is not going to approve your comment at all. You can try changing your keyword phrase to less keywords or something different. And if this doesn’t work, then your comment is probably not going to go through at all with any link in the comment body.

Standing Out From the Spammers

So if you do comment on a site that is heavily moderated or has a spam filter in place, how can you stand out and make yourself look like a legitimate commenter and not a spammer?

Gravatars

One of the most important ways to stand out from spammers in someone’s spam filter is by the use of a Gravatar, which puts a photo next to your comment. As a blogger who uses Akismet, I can tell you that 99% of the spam never has a Gravatar, so if your comment does end up in the spam filter it will stand out much better if you have your picture next to it.

Profiles

If a site requires you to register to submit a comment, be sure to fill out some details in the profile. It only takes about an extra minute to fill out a few fields and maybe add an image if the profile asks for one, and it will make you look less like a spammer and more like a real person.

Between a Drive By and One Hit Wonder

Spammers usually do one of two things – they do the one comment on the highest PR post they can find on a site, or they hit as many posts as they can get their hands on. Your best bet is to maybe do two comments on your first visit, on your target (most relevant or higher PR) post and on a recent post. If you want to continue to be able to comment at that blog, you will want to subscribe to comments (if that is an option) so if the blogger replies to you, you will be notified via email and can come back and answer. I have seen some bloggers that approve a comment and reply, and if the person doesn’t come back, delete it shortly thereafter (or strip the link) assuming they were a spammer.

Moderation

The other major roadblock in blog commenting is moderation. Sometimes you think you have gotten lucky because you submitted your comment and it was approved automaticaly. But don’t celebrate too soon. You might want to check back in a few days to make sure it is still there. Some sites will allow any comment to approve, but then will strip the link or delete it completely later on.

Getting Links in the Website Field of Your Comment Approved

On WordPress, Blogspot, or other websites that offer the standard name, email address, and website field, your best chance of getting your comment approved is to follow commenting policy, stated or implied. If you find a comment policy, read it and don’t break it, and your comment should get approved. If you don’t see anything that explicitly says what their commenting policy allows or doesn’t allow, take a look at previously approved comments. Is everyone using a real name or nickname? Then keywords probably aren’t allowed in the name field, and if you try it, your comment will not get approved. Just follow the trend.

Getting Links in the Body of the Comment Approved

Probably the biggest spammer red flag are comments with a link embedded in the body of the comment. If the blog allows you to add a link in a website field, I would go with that first over adding the link to the body of the comment to get it approved. But if you don’t have that as an option (as on Drupal blogs or others that you have to register for or connect with Twitter / Facebook) and you simply must have the link in the body of the comment, you have three options.

1. Include the link as your “signature” like you would in an email. Sometimes this will slip by moderation.

2. Include your link only if it answers a question from the blog post or another commenter. If the blog post says “where can I buy dog food at a good price” and your link is a discount pet food supply store, then it might be welcome.

3. Include your link only if it somehow adds value to the post. If the blog post is about website analytics (preferably a comparison of services out there and not simply an advertisement post about one service), and your link is to an analytics service, you can include it as an additional resource for people to check out when comparing analytics programs. Listing some differences and benefits of your analyics program compared to the ones listed in the post would also be a plus.

4. If none of these work for you, find blogs that have approved comments with links in their comment text. Chances are, they will be spammy, but if others have spammed it, you probably can too. Just make sure the other links aren’t really trashy and you should be in ok company.

In short, your link needs to add value to the post or discussion. Period. Or it’s not getting approved unless you luckout on a site that has laxed moderation.

The Golden Rule of Blog Commenting

Last, but most importantly, when it comes to blog commenting, there is one universal “Golden Rule” that should be followed, no matter what.

Make your comment valuable to the post and the discussion.

Great post is not going to get you far, and neither is a comment that has nothing to do with the post itself, no matter how long and intelligent it sounds. It is a time sucker, but you are going to have to read the post and make your comment a response to the post, or a response to another commenter’s comment. Be a valuable commenter, not a comment spammer.

Your Blog Commenting Strategies for Link Building

Do you incorporate blog commenting as a strategy for link building? Are you aiming for more traffic, boosting PageRank, or raising your search result positions? What kind of results have you seen, and what additional tips would you give to others who want to pursue this method of linking?

 A Comprehensive Guide to Link Building via Blog Commenting
Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, online marketing consultant, social media enthusiast, and author of Kikolani which covers blog marketing and blogging tips.

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44 thoughts on “A Comprehensive Guide to Link Building via Blog Commenting

  1. Very interesting. Just today I was researching on this topic for my own blog. But here's the other side: I found your article very interesting but does it work with non-tech blogs? I mean, If you have a blog, lets say, on sports, is 'polite' to comment on blogs focused on different topics? Does it work?
    I think that link building through commenting other blogs only works for techie sites (i.e. SEO).
    Best regards,

    1. It can work if you find blogs in your niche. Someone on my post about article marketing via blog commenting just asked how they were going to find blogs on hypnosis. I suggested they look for blogs on that topic, but also expand it out a little to topics where hypnosis can be useful, such as weight loss, quitting smoking, self improvement, etc. Depending on what your site is about, it can be tough, but you just have to sometimes get creative with it.

  2. Thanks for the great advice on building links through blog commenting.

    I think the key to not looking like a spammer is to actually read the article you're commenting on and making a relevant comment, rather than the typical “Great post thanks!” that you often see.

    It might take a little more time but I think it's more efficient in the long run since more of your comments will actually stick.

    1. Exactly… that's definitely one thing I hoped to drive home with anyone using a blog commenting / link building strategy. Don't be a spammer – take that little extra time and be real, and you'll have a much higher success rate.

  3. I am a novice to the area, I will definitely be reading this one again, with my study , learn,adopt and apply head firmly screwed on, thanks for the guidance, hopefully I can apply it properly.

    1. I felt a little bad for the length of the post as it might come off as overwhelming… definitely bookmark it for reference, and when you start your own commenting, you can have a guide on the do's and don'ts and what to look out for!

  4. Kristi,

    Thanks — PostRank topics is new to me! I've forwarded this on to my SEO team.

    Honestly, I could read every SEO blog out there every day and still not know it all… I need a few more hours in the day.

    1. Even if you learn everything out there today, there will be about 10 new algorithms and several old techniques that are no longer working tomorrow. You have to collect information as you need it and apply it when you can!

  5. FWIW: Been using CommentLuv for a couple of weeks and have found it helpful in generating some traffic to my site without spamming.

    Thanks for such a thorough and informative post on building web traffic by commenting.

    1. CommentLuv has done wonders for promotion of my blog posts, and I am starting to see it do wonders for my hubs and other article sites as well. It's a great system – very rewarding for commenters who leave behind thoughtful comments.

  6. Interesting: I'm reading your post to get more ideas on how to comment on other blogs to get links. Duh..that's what the post is about! But, what I took away that was the most valuable, was the info on how to set SEOQuake parameters to prevent Google from blocking search queries after awhile.
    I have been plagued by this for the last week while I was doing extensive keyword research for some clients.

    You have no helped me make Google love me again :-)

    1. You know, so long as everyone takes away something, that is all that counts. :)

      I had been blocked using that plugin at work, but didn't realize it was the plugin because there were so many of us running queries. Then I installed SEOQuake at home and got blocked about an hour later, and almost un-installed it until I found that setting. Now it works like a charm and I only get blocked on heavy search days, which are usually rare.

  7. Awesome you made some point on your blogs… commenting on blogs is a form of a link building and a great strategy for strengthening the links…

  8. Some points of your post are familiar to me but there are some others that I didn't know. You do a good job informing us about blog commenting but what I'm interested in is the following:
    Will you yourself let your commenter leave a linkback (either dofollow or nofollow) to his/her website? I noticed that you use nofollow tag.
    Thanks

    1. Here, I'm just a contributor, so I really don't have control over making comments dofollow or nofollow.

      On my own blog site, the comments are dofollow as well as KeywordLuv / CommentLuv enabled. So long as visitors leave a valuable comment and their website isn't offensive (adult, pharmaceuticals, etc.) then I will approve it. I also keep an eye on my Aksimet filter and make sure that no one who has left a good comment gets lost in the shuffle.

  9. I came across Comment Luv mentioned in another article last week and have had a brief look at it. Now your post has inspired me to have a further look at it.

    I think you make a great point about blog commenting being able to bring traffic directly to your site/articles even if there is no direct SEO benefit. This in itself creates value or the site even if there is no SERP benefit.

    1. Exactly! Plus, if your direct traffic likes your article, they might link to it in their next post, which means ultimately you will get a link if you have great content!

  10. This post is perfect for sharing with businesses and bloggers interested in learning to properly use commenting for link building. I just added it to my TwtPoll asking how bloggers feel about a particular type of comment and will add it to past and future posts as an excellent resource for new and experienced link builders.

    Many still do not realize that link building is THE most important online strategy. How well you build links – and not just comment links – ALL links – determines whether you succeed or fail online.

    Any Web site owner who does not want to acknowledge their importance or provide links to others is greatly limiting their own success – or unwisely trying to get links for themselves while denying them for others. Doing that WILL reduce your success over time. Selfishness becomes obvious and never pays off in the long run.

    1. Thanks for your input, and you're right. You can do all the great content and on-site SEO that you want, but without links coming to your site for traffic, SERP boosting, etc., your site won't get far at all. Definitely looking forward to the poll results from a blogger's point of view.

    1. You have to go with what the site allows. Any link, regardless of anchor text, will be a possible traffic source. A dofollow link without anchor text is still a link that counts toward strengthening the overall authority of the domain.

      Anchor text is what determines your SERP and is definitely valuable – searching for blogs that use KeywordLuv is a great way to make sure you can get some anchor text links. But don't give up on a site just because you can't get it. Think about it – you could get a nofollow link to your website anchored to your name, but if you leave a good comment, several people could follow your link, see that (hopefully) you have a great site, and then link back to you on their own sites. So one link that seems worthless SEO wise could turn into several good ones.

  11. Hey Kristi,

    overall a great resource but I wouldn't recommend to “Include the link as your “signature””. Most bloggers hate that. Also blog commenting just for link building isn't a good tactic because as a blogger you can really smell who is serious and who is not.
    Some bloggers delete all comments posted just for SEO.
    The ultimate goal of blog commenting is forging a relationship with the blogger. This way the blogger might even link out to you from the acual posts.

    1. That is a good point – there are bloggers out there that will delete anything coming from a business period, no matter how good the comment. The key to what you can get away with in your comment is looking at previous comments.

      If the blogger wants you to have the ability to leave a link, but doesn't have the field for it on their form (like on Drupal sites) they may be allowing the “signature” link in their comment for that purpose. If there are five comments before you with no link, I wouldn't try it, but if there are five comments before you that go that route, then obviously it is allowed and you might as well go for it.

      One thing that you may also want to note in the scenario of others dropping links in the comments is the kind of link they put in. Are they all blog links and yours is a business link? Then yours might not get approved. Are they all business links? Then yours should be alright, assuming they are not offensive.

      Every blog is should be looked at on an individual level, and if you want to build a relationship with the blogger, follow what has been done historically on the site and you should be good.

  12. I seem to recall that Google's latest algo update, Mayday, singles out blog comments as something that is likely to be devalued in the future. Is “blog commenting” as a link building tactic still worth it? Wouldn't the time be better spent on less spammy tactics?

    1. I think that, even if Google devalues comments, there is still community / traffic value in blog commenting. Think about it – if you sell coffee products, and are a regular commenter on a popular coffee blog, you may not build that many links to your site, but you may make a sale based on leaving an informative comment that a coffee consumer sees, likes, and then follows your link to your online store. That is still valuable.

      The other case in point is if you can use your company name in your comments (only on blogs that allow it, mind you). Someone may read a lot of blogs, graze through the comments, then do a search looking for something, and out of the results your company name will stand out because they had seen it before on numerous blogs that they peruse.

  13. Great post. I can see how CommentLuv really benefits both the blogger and the commenter. Will consider implementing that.

    1. It definitely does! And it even helps blog readers find posts on related topics, assuming commenters stick to leaving links that relate to the original post. So it's a win – win for everyone.

  14. well, i always comment with something from my own experience. and usually i comment on posts that i feel like saying some, whether or not they are hot.

    anyways, thanks for so great tips.

  15. I think the most important aspect of blog commenting is always leaving behind a comment that the community can either learn from or one that simply adds to the overall discussion. I think many blog comment campaigns tend to forget this step.

  16. It is completely irresponsible of you to post links to DoFollow blog directories, which only encourage abuse of blogs by comment linkers. You need to stop writing about these sham link building techniques and do some real research into effective, long-term link building.

    1. I know the kinds of comments that you are talking about, but I don't think posting the 'do follow directories' is irresponsible. The kinds of seo's that we are talking about will find them regardless of this list or any other list. I'm sure they have a much bigger list than any of us might have.
      Commenting for the sake of link building can be annoying to say the least. But a comment that adds to the discussion, or maybe even creates a little controversy can be interesting!!
      Any kind of decent comment spam filter will filter out the worthless 'Great post …' kinds of comments.

    2. I just posted links to searches for dofollow directories, not the directories themselves, and even if I didn't, everyone who wants to knows how to find them anyway.

      There is also the fact that bloggers who make their blog dofollow do so because they want to be known for being dofollow so they can get more comments and so they can get additional links from lists like these. Especially from the directories, as they are submitting their own sites to them.

    1. Yes, being marked as spam can happen to anyone. If you can recognize the warning signs early on, you can start requesting sites like Akismet to remove you from their database.

  17. You might have noticed that your run-of-the-mill SEO blog post suddenly started getting a lot of traffic and comments? Why's that? I've been using *my* secret SEO-fu to promote your article. Want to know what it is? I thought so. :)

  18. Great tips.

    I use blog commenting for getting direct traffic only. So thanks for mentioning how to find high traffic blogs (through Technorati for example), as I was really looking for this kind of information.

    Regarding key words in the ‘name’ field:

    Where Keywordluv is not available, Should we use “Your Name | Your keywords” or Just “Your Keywords”?

    If we use “Yourname | Your Keyword”, do you think it make it less effective (in terms of marketing) than just “Your Keywords”?

    Thanks,
    Nabeel

    1. I look at Your Name | Your Keyword as a way to let other people who scroll by your comments know what you are about. I do Kristi Hines | Kikolani on some site comments so people will be able to relate my name to my more well known blogging name. But again, it is really about what the blog allows – I would only do this on a site that is allowing it by others. If everyone is just Sam, Joe, and Bob, just go with that.

  19. Before I got askimet on my blog, I was getting a ton of comments. My golden rule is, if that is not YOUR NAME in the linky part – I delete it. Sadly, I get some comments that are not in English either and I have no idea so I just delete them. I thought about finding a language tool that helps me to translate.

  20. Great post! thanks. bye.

    Just joking. I must say, it's about time I start using CommentLuv on my own blog. I've never cared about SEO, lazy blogger that I am, but I think I should show my appreciation for the great commentary I do receive.

    All those people who leave comments should get something and your post explains just what that is – a backlink. Of course, the juice from my site is equal to the amount you'd get from squeezing a pebble in a heatwave but still…

    Cheers,

    Mitch

  21. Keywordluv is great for getting all them back links for your website, thanks for sharing this

  22. The best way to get your clients and web viewers involved is to include a blog commenting section. This will give you the right information and feedback on what people think about your products and services as well as how many people have visited and viewed your site.

  23. The process of establishing significant, inbound links to your website which help your website gain higher ranking with the major search engines and drive targeted traffic to your site is link building. It is of extreme importance for the success of a website. Basically, link building can influence the ranking of a website, provided that the process is done properly. On the other hand, the several search engine updates must be taken into account before proceeding to this technique.
    There are no shortcuts in a successful link building campaign. Patience and determination are the keys because it can take time to build links from believable sources.