Content Marketing

Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?

B2B Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?I went against everything I know as a social SEO person a few weeks ago. It may be a cardinal sin of social media marketing and blogging, but I decided to close the comments on my company’s internet marketing blog. I had been trying to find a way to better manage the commenting process on that blog for a while. It had been getting so many spam comments everyday (anywhere from several hundred a thousand), and even though most of them were getting caught and filtered by the spam filter, I was still manually sorting through the ones that snuck. I’d say that for every 50 comments that I had to manually approve MAYBE 1 was a good comment.  (forget about the 5,000 spam comments that were already caught every day!)

What constitutes a good comment?

In my opinion, a good comment contributes to the conversation. While hearing how brilliant my post was is nice, I know it’s a load of BS. I am a big fan of blog commenting for link building, but I make try sure that any comments I leave for my company or my clients are at least 2-3 sentences long and add some sort of value to the blog post. I want to connect with other commenters, start building a rapport with blogger and build my reputation. I don’t just leave comments to get the link; I think blog commenting has much more value than that.

I’ve been doing this for a long time and I can spot a “get the link” blog comment a mile away. I try to not to do that to other bloggers and I decided that I didn’t want to offer my blog up as free links to spammers and competing SEO firms. So I followed my gut (against the frantic advice of my web developer) and closed the comments entirely.   So my question the Search Engine Journal audience, do you think it was a crazy idea?

I’m going to preface this by saying this might not be the case for every business blog and blogger out there, but that’s why it’s considered best practice to allow comments on your B2B blog and not a hard and fast rule.

Before you start calling me a fool, let me try to explain why I think comments are NOT the most important thing when it comes to a B2B blog’s success.

1. What is your end game?

I am not a professional blogger; I’m an SEO consultant and business owner. The goal of my blog is to help generate new business for my company. I’m not trying to sell ad space or become the most important blogger in my industry. I never want my blog to be the last stop of a visitor; I want to push them over to my site and get them to convert (in my case, conversion means signing up for my SEO newsletter or filling out a lead form). Since I closed the blog comments section and replaced it with a small banner ad encouraging readers to fill out a proposal form, my conversion rate has practically tripled (8% to 22%). I may not be getting any comments, but I’m getting leads and that’s what really matters to me.

So why do you blog?

2. Do you really want to have a conversation with your competitors?

It might be the industry we work in, but I have noticed for a long time that the vast majority of comments being left on my blog (upwards of 80%) were coming from other SEO companies. Obviously other SEO companies know the value of blog commenting, so of course they’ll want to leave blogs on SEO sites. Here’s the thing though, I don’t want to have a conversation with another SEO company. I don’t really want to build a rapport with you (no offense) via blog comments because you are never going to become a client. I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment on my posts, whether it is expressing your opinion, arguing with my points or adding your own thoughts, but I don’t really care if you read my blog. I didn’t create that blog to connect with other SEO firms; I wanted to connect with potential clients.

3. Have you ever gotten a client from a back-and-forth comment conversation?

In the 5+ years I have been blogging, I have never landed client after having a conversation with them in the comments field. Have I gotten clients because I blog? Of course, but as far as I can tell the comments had nothing to do with it. If someone is considering hiring me as their SEO provider, they’ve always sent me an email or filled out the lead form. I’ve never gotten a phone call that started with “So I’ve been leaving comments on your blog…”

Am I recommending that B2B bloggers run out and close their comment sections right now if they want to triple their conversion rate? No. But I am suggesting that it might not be worth the hassle of sorting through the hundreds of spam comments just to have 1 decent comment go through.

I would love to hear from other bloggers and SEO professionals. Have you gone a similar route and either limited or completely shut off the comments section? Or do you think I’m making a big mistake in my decision?

About the Author – Nick Stamoulis

Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing a Boston based SEO firm that offers white hat SEO link building solutions. With over 12 years of Internet marketing experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO tips to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal.

 Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?
Nick Stamoulis is the President of Brick Marketing, a full service Boston SEO firm. With nearly 13 years of experience in the Internet Marketing industry, Nick Stamoulis shares his B2B SEO knowledge by contributing to the Brick Marketing Blog and publishing the Brick Marketing SEO Newsletter, read by over 160,000 opt-in subscribers.
 Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?
 Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?
 Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?

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16 thoughts on “Are Comments Important to Your B2B Blog’s Success?

  1. I actually do value comments because its good to know who is reading and engaging in your blog. The conversation is also needed to become a better blogger and knowing that ones audience care. Yet I do understand your point that your blog posts is all about attracting new clients and having a competitative edge on your competitors. And if your are using all your time sorting through spammy commentes I would have done the same and maybe thats what it’ll come to when my blog gets more popular.

    Aren’t there some kind of software available which can sort out the problem of spammy blog comments? maybe even learn to block sertain e-mails?

    Thanks for a good blog post by the way. Got me thinking!

    1. There are plugins like Akismet for WordPress which is very efficient in stopping spam.

      Nick, I think I would disagree with you. Blogging is a way to interact with your users, building a relationship with them. If you maintain a blog where you allow people to comment and build a level of trust you can turn a lot of your visitors into future customers.

  2. Nick, I have found it was beneficial to just leave the comments open on post 3-4 days old so the regular visitors would have already seen the new material way before the spam starts to come in. If people run WordPress you can switch the settings in discussion to block comments with a link in them and take out the website field in the comment section. I do believe 1-2 real comments isn’t worth the hours of deleting spam, just a hassle.

  3. Links from blog comments have next to no SEO value. They are no-follow most of the time and even if they are do-follow, Google must surely be able to differentiate between an editorial link and a free-for-all link area – the blog comment section.

    Blog comments have been so used and abused I’ll be surprised if Google still assigns any value to them.
    It is said the harder it is to get a link, the more valuable it is.

    I have also closed off the comments on my blog.

  4. In response to “2. Do you really want to have a conversation with your competitors?”.

    You said, “I don’t want to have a conversation with another SEO company. I don’t really want to build a rapport with you (no offense) via blog comments because you are never going to become a client.”

    This statement undermines the true purpose of blogging for business – to establish yourself as an industry expert. Experts fraternize with other experts – it’s a natural part of blogging. For you to actually tell your readers that you don’t care about them unless they are eventually going to give you money is callous and, ultimately, bad for your blog.

    I like what you guys have to say over here, but point No. 2 kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

  5. What blog platform were you using? I have used WordPress on many large traffic sites with active commenting and never have that issue. Akismet and other solutions usually destroy 98% of the garbage. Now my clients that use in-house built solutions do suffer. My advice has always been do not re-invent the wheel and adopt use of a proven solution.

    If you are using WordPress I would be curious to know which plugins you were using.

  6. Nick – As usual, you are on the cutting edge of the SEO industry and always doing something that surprises most, shocks some, but in the end…works!

    I am not sure I will close my comments though, not just yet anyway. I am still trying to establish myself and comments (especially from other prominent SEO’s) are very valuable to me as I try and establish industry credibility and branding of our company. I see your point though for the more well known and established SEO’s out there. I am sure the spam and other crazy comments that come your way may simply not be worth the effort anymore. I am also sure that it will have little to no effect on your inbound leads program.

    As always…thanks for the share!

  7. With the right plugins, it should stop most of the comment spam. I have felt my share of spam, and believe me, it’s not fun to weed out legitimate and spam comments. As Garth said, WordPress offers many solutions to fight spam, including captchas, which I found are the most effective. I used a captcha plugin and the spam comments seemed to have slowed from a couple hundred a week to less than 5 a week.

    However, since you have been converting your traffic at an even higher rate than before, you might as well stick with what works. That’s a sacrifice many of us are willing to take if conversions are our main goal.

  8. It is a pity that spamming makes owners of popular (and not so popular) blogs close down.
    I do understand the reasons behind it but I don’t agree with the point about not wanting to engage in conversations with other SEO’s. On a pure business point of view, sure, totally right, 99,9% of blog commenters on a SEO blog will never contract the SEO services of that blog. In our case, without doubt we would like to have comments because we consider we still have a lot to learn from fellow SEO practitioners, it would be great to have constructive discussions about current SEO topics on our new blog, we are hoping to acheive that.
    Of course, having twenty spam messages each day is nothing compared to the amount you are mentioning, we would probably see things differently.
    At this stage, I do think a potential customer that checks out an SEO site and sees engaged readers with added value comments will have a higher view of the blog and could consider filling out a form but this percentage is probably low.
    I guess that the owners of new blogs like us will be idealistic about the virtues of creating a community on our blogs and owners of successful blogs like you have already passed to the pragmatic phase where comments bring in no added business and thus are a waste of time.

  9. Nick,

    I haven’t thought about closing off comments, but I have had to delete spam comments by people who were trying really hard to post something “insightful” (haha).

    I agree that often the people who come to one’s blog are competitors, but I also agree with Mitch Holt who says the purpose of a blog is establish yourself as a thought leader. I personally don’t mind comments from competitors.

    As for why I blog, I’m not doing it to get clients — I do it to express myself. I find that my monthly e-newsletter is too stifling. My blog lets me be — dare I say it? — authentic. :-)

  10. Nick,

    Great post. I wouldn’t say definitively whether closing comments is good or bad, but I think your rationale is excellent. I’ve experienced item #2 with a LinkedIn discussion; it generated many responses and great participation from Web Development providers, my peers (competitors), instead of small-business owners, my target audience (potential clients).

    If I was forced to make an argument against closing comments, I would say the lost opportunity for additional keywords. But, that benefit would be diminished if most of the posts are spam, as you said …

  11. I want to connect with other commenters start building a rapport with blogger and build my reputation blog commenters on a seo blog will never contract the seo services of that blog. Now my clients that use in house built solutions do suffer if you maintain a blog where you allow people to comment and build a level of trust you can turn a lot of your visitors into future customers.

  12. Comments contribute to the conversation. They tell us how popular our blog is. It is a metric to measure its ranking in the search engine. Comments also let us know the feedback about our blog. Comments should be active for 10-15 days because someone commenting after that might be of spammy nature. Also the comment should be relevant and should add value to the discussion.

  13. Comments contribute to the conversation. They tell us how popular our blog is. It is a metric to measure its ranking in the search engine. Comments funny> also let us know the feedback about our blog. Comments should be active for 10-15 days because someone commenting after that might be of spammy nature. Also the comment should be relevant and should add value to the discussion. <