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?


  • Gerald Weber May 27, 2010

    I personally think there are much more effective link building methods than blog commenting. Even if you are commenting on do follow blogs if you are using keyword anchor text it's only a matter of time before you will start getting sent to Akismet and then that's where all Akismet enabled blogs (which is just about all of them) will route your comment. If you aren't using keyword anchor text then it's not really going to help you rank anyhow, so what's the point?

  • Gil Reich May 27, 2010

    I think the most important thing about blog commenting is that it helps you form relationships. Many people (like me) get a great feeling of appreciation when thoughtful comments are left on our blogs. From a selfish point of view, the more people whom you've made feel good about themselves, the better chance you have that they'll be there for you when you need it. Even were there no direct SEO benefit, the indirect benefit from trying to help and engage other bloggers can be quite significant.

  • joshuatitsworth May 27, 2010

    I think if we were to get the most out of links in comments, the moderators needs to be more active in sifting through the 'spam'. Removing the comments that really don't add anything and are blatant attempts to gain links. Sculpting a page full of great content, in the post itself and in the comments should be a priority. But I also have to wonder how much 'stand alone' text is worth compared to 'nested' links within relevant content? Sure the screen-names can be keywords and even do follow if the comment is valid. But if all says is 'bestshoesever' with no supporting text it might as well be on the side bar similar to a blog-roll link.
    Great Post!

  • Nick Roshon May 27, 2010

    I think its important to look beyond link building value as well. I commented on a post on Autoblog.com one day with a (very relevant) link back to my site – that day, I got a spike of 1400 unique visitors from that referring URL alone (I typically get 100 visitors a day, so thats a 14x increase).

    I look forward to the results! I have a hunch there is SEO value too, even in nofollow cases.

  • verticalmeasures May 28, 2010

    Wow Nick, that's a great example of one of the benefits of blog commenting: that if it's good and its relevant it can refer traffic as well. Thanks for the comment, we'll let you know when the experiments results are live and probably weigh in on our blog as well.

  • verticalmeasures May 28, 2010

    Very true Gerald, there are so many other ways to build links….but blog commenting can show its value in other ways. In my opinion, you have to think that there is at least some way Google is monitoring these factors. It shows that bloggers are interacting in their community, so it only make sense. But it should never be the only way you build links. A varied approach is the best way.

  • verticalmeasures May 28, 2010

    Def agree with you Gil. I love all the comments that get placed on our blog, and it for sure helps form relationships. Comments are a way for users to express their opinions and give feedback on a blog post or article. Thanks for the comment!

  • PPC Management | Peter Masters Jun 03, 2010

    From my own experiencing trying to build up links I have found that Blog Commenting is a good way to go about, but definitely not the be all of link building. I also use Directory Submissions for a boost over long term, even if they are low quality directories (my site is brand new, less than one year old) and also done social bookmarking with one or two links in the content or profile I write.

    BTW attended your Webinar about Link Building – Finding the juicy ones. Really good.

  • verticalmeasures Jun 04, 2010

    Thanks! We have another webinar coming up, check it out: Link Building Tools for Success https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/138710307.

  • blackpool stag Jul 18, 2010

    Too many people don’t pass on their negatives, and only put forward their positives. When this happens, people don’t learn. I will be sure not to repeat your mistake.

  • stag do magaluf Jul 19, 2010

    i think another good feature would be to have an option to disable html tags on the comments, on your specific site, until someone had posted a given amount of comments selected by the moderator.

  • Hoa Nicoulin Nov 26, 2010

    Hey awesome, this has been a great help to me, I have had some really strange trouble in my private life recently and it is strange how certain things can really pick you back up or make you look differently on the horrible stuff and get working on the other things in life. Anyway thank you so much.