Content Marketing, Search Marketing, WordPress

Commenting Strategies: Do’s and Don’ts

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.

11 Comments

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      There are plugins that sync WP and Facebook comments. I personally just don’t like pushing conversations to Facebook all the time. I’ve thought about having tabbed comments with one tab on Disqus and the other on Facebook… but then Google+ will be next, not sure when it will end.

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    Doug, do you find that posting comments and in creation of dialogue helps escalate people returning to your site. I am curious that some of my favourite blogs/podcasts, that are very popular, if it would be wise to spark debate, seeing as they do get so much traffic. I am sure it would need to be well thought out and might be time consuming, however, the point is to spark some attention and create interest among any audience. 🙂

    – Ryan

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      It’s a tough one, @brazilianlifestyle:disqus! I used to see a lot more dialogue and conversation in the comments than I do nowadays. Perhaps it’s because blogging is so prevalent. I think the conversations are happening more in Facebook and Google+ than on the sites themselves.

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        HI Doug,

        If, considering, the situation in particular to the site itself then I guess you might be right. A lot of blogging & commenting are subject to the topic at hand and the engagement the audience actually takes upon the site. If we consider that people are trying to pursue back links with an instantaneous means, then surely commenting is on a diet. However, I am sure we then need to focus elsewhere, that where being a place that matters. White-Hat SEO is still king, if you’re in this game for anything relevant to longevity. For there is no mediocrity that will build you an empire!

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            Spamming I think depends on what you’re doing.

            Example:

            If you are acknowledging commenter’s commentaries and perhaps some of their short stories or anecdotes, and you aren’t the original poster, then there is a two edged sword of glory here. You are not only building traffic for the poster or blogger, owner of the site etc, but you’re always collectively drawing attention to yourself for possible click throws!

            I came across this idea through a source, and I have yet to test it out until this morning. To be honest it actually doesn’t seem so harmful if your responses are well though out and extremely respectful of both the commenter and the blog post; link juice for everyone.

            It sure beats the hell out of answering stupid questions on yahoo and trying to build back links for the sake of back links. The more blogging I do the more I am able to write with ease and type faster with less effort :). I am going to try and start building discussions from now on! 🙂

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            Honestly, nowadays I would much rather someone acknowledge our articles by sharing them – that’s the ultimate compliment when it comes to writing our content. We love comments to provide additional color to the conversation but just a note saying “great article” doesn’t do much for me anymore. 🙂

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            Douglas you’re absolutely right, sharing articles, is undoubtedly the best medium! That said, I would be glad to, if ok with you, use your site as a reference for my future blog posts! You obviously have thrown in a lot of effort into your blog, as you’re promptly adamant in replying!

            The funny thing is too, these discussions sometimes, could be blog posts themselves because of the meat inside them.

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    I don’t like pushing conversations to Facebook all the time. I’ve thought about having tabbed comments with one tab on Disqus and the other on Facebook… but then Google+ will be next, not sure when it will end.

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