Our Blog

27 May 2010

A Blog Commenting Experience: What Can We Learn?

experimentAre you using blog commenting as a form of link building? These days blog comments have received quite a bad rap from industry experts. Many people shy away from dropping a comment with a link back to their site, for fear of being labeled a spammer. But in all actuality, there aren’t any conclusive studies that say comments hinder SEO. In the same token, there aren’t any conclusive studies that say just comments will help. The NLB Blog hopes to shed some light on the topic of blog comment valuation with a bit of an experiment.

The experiment involves four different groups of websites, one of which will have no links built to it, the second will only have blog comment links built, the third only "other" links built, and the fourth will have "other" links and blog comment links built. With the control group of websites this case study should, theoretically, show the true valuation of blog comment links.

Of course, there will be many variables that cannot possibly be controlled. Natural links, comment links that are approved and then subsequently taken down, authority of the sites on which the links were placed (constantly changing), backlinks to the pages on which the link is placed (constantly changing), internal linking structure, no follow links/do follow link differences, differences in onsite SEO factors of the 4 sites themselves, and many, many others.

In my opinion, and take it for what you will, I think that blog comments do have value. In combination with other link building efforts I’ve seen them help the rankings of many clients. Of course there are many factors to take into consideration:

  • Does the blog post on which the comment was left apply to the site that is linked to?
  • What do the backlinks to the overall domain of the blog look like?
  • Is the blog comment link no follow or do follow? What is the Page Rank of the domain and the individual blog post/page?
  • Are there other links on the post/page? How about other blog comment links?
  • Does the link allow for optimized anchor text or is it contained within the body of the comment?
  • Are there spammy links in other blog comment links?

Looking at the list above, and making sure you drop a worthwhile blog comment link can help you avoid instances where your comment link will do more harm than good. The very nature of a blog comment link should inspire conversation. While the above items should be taken into consideration, there’s also something to be said for dropping a comment that provides worthwhile information and input into the conversation already taking place on the blog. Crediting yourself as the source with a link back to your site provides more ‘good’ than just link authority: it can provide you with traffic to your site, potential leads, etc…

It will be interesting to see the results and if it actually sheds some light on the question of whether or not blog comments help or hinder rankings.

What are your thoughts? Do you already know that blog comments work, or vise versa?