When I first started blogging, I think I was probably looking up and adding comments to 10 posts on other sites for every single post I wrote on my own site. The conversations on blogs at the time were amazing… they could go on for dozens of pages. Commenting was a fantastic means of getting your blog seen by authorities (still is) and drive traffic back to your own site.
It's only my opinion, but I believe Facebook killed blog commenting for the most part. Rather than having discussions adjacent to our blog posts, we share our posts on Facebook and have the conversation there. I've even thought to move my commenting system over to Facebook, but I just can't bring myself to moving another activity inside their walled garden.
As a result, commenting ain't what it used to be. Comments are a bit scarce on most blogs and have largely been abused by comment spammers. So the question has to be asked, “Should we still incorporate a comment strategy on our blog?“.
Yes… but here's how my commenting strategies have changed:
- When I disagree or have something substantial to add to the conversation, I always comment on the author's post and then point people from my social networks there to try and stimulate the conversation.
- I still believe that commenting on sites I wish to build a relationship is a worthy cause. While I may not always get a response, repeatedly adding value to the conversation ultimately gets attention from the author. In other words, they know who I am.
- I avoid publishing URLs within the comments I post. Most commenting packages link your name back to your site, your blog, or a profile with links to your site. Comment spammers almost always push links in their content. I typically report them as spammers (to Akismet), blacklist them (on Disqus) and delete the spammy comments.
- I don't go after 10 sites a day now, but I still comment on a few posts each week. The majority of time, those comments are made on blogs where I am friends with, hope to become friends with, or respect the blogger. Many times, it's a new blog.
- I always try to comment on posts that make mention of me or our content.
From an SEO standpoint, do comments help? I do believe comments on my own blog add to the content, indexing and ranking of the post. I don't believe it's a coincidence that my posts with the most contents rank very well. Do your comments on other blogs help your SEO? Not likely… most commenting systems utilize nofollow or block links that you publish. I don't expect SEO benefits from my commenting stategy.