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.
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.
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 Some directories and lists are old though, so the PageRank information maybe out of date or the site may no longer be dofollow.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.
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.
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 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 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?
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.
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.
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?