It’s been a while since I’ve done a mythbuster post. Today I want to talk about something that for people “in the know”, might seem like common knowledge. But at the same time, there are a lot of people who have been fed misinformation on the topic of blog comments, and I want to clear the air. This mythbuster is all about blog comments, and whether or not they’re effective.
The whole issue of whether or not blog comments are effective basically centers around the use of blog comments for SEO purposes (i.e. getting backlinks). From that perspective, no, they’re not very effective. The reason why they aren’t effective for link building is because a lot of blogs take measures against people who leave spam comments for the sole purpose of getting a backlink.
Back in the day, you could spam thousands of sites using different tools and bots to automate blog commenting. It’s how a lot of low quality sites were able to rank quickly as a matter of fact. But LEGIT website owners caught on to the nonsense, and started doing things like setting up CAPTCHAS, no-following blog comment links, and installing plugins like Akismet to block out spam comments. Some people even started to manually review all of the blog comments they got. It’s sad that it had to come to that though.
Those spammy blog comments are what motivated me to write this post in the first place. I have Akismet installed, I no-follow blog comment links, yet people still continue to flood my blog posts with spammy comments. I just find it a little crazy that with everything we know about what works in terms of SEO and content marketing, that people are still relying on spammy tactics like this. The fact that I’m getting all of these spammy comments was evidence for me that a lot of people are being mislead by someone, somewhere.
How to tell if a blog comment is spam or real
If you’ve been blogging for a while, you probably know exactly what type of spammy comments I’ve been talking about. I divide spam blog comments into one of two types:
- Blatant, incoherent spam
- More polished, and almost believable spam
The people leaving the first type of spam comments are generally people just learning how to use automation tools and haven’t gotten a firm grasp of how to spam like the pros yet. Either that or they’re just lazy. So their blog comments usually look something along the lines of (this is a real example someone tried to put on my site by the way)
539 for the apple iphone 6, and also from?
And guess what? Despite how laughably spammy that comment is, there are sites that have let that comment get through and show up on their site. Here’s a search I did for that exact phrase in Google. There are over 9,000 results! You’re probably thinking to yourself, how are the comments getting through? If you click on some of the sites that the comments are live on, you’ll notice that they’re not exactly high quality, and they aren’t really monitored. So they probably auto-accept any blog comment that comes through. Never auto-accept blog comments by the way. It’s like letting strangers come into your home even when you’re not there.
With those types of blog comments, Akismet is usually pretty good at filtering them and marking them as spam. But the second type of spam comment is a little trickier.
To the untrained eye, these comments appear genuine. These are the comments that tend to get through on sits run by bloggers just starting out. You’re so excited that someone left a comment that you’re thrilled to put it up and make your site look active. But the reality is that the comments are spam most of the time. Here’s an example of one that I got recently:
Very nice article, exactly what I was looking for.
If you were new to the blogging world, and didn’t know about “blackhat” SEO and spammy comments, you might let that comment go through. It seems like a real person who just found your article to be helpful. BUT, a majority of the time it’s spam. You can usually tell by looking at:
- The name of the “person” (really a bot) that left the comment: It’s generally a keyword and not a real name. I doubt there are a lot of parents who name their kids “iPad Cases”
- The url of the comment: They’ll usually link to some spammy looking piece of crap. Also, never EVER click on a link in one of these spam comments. They might have viruses and malware, and ain’t nobody got time for that!
- The content of the comment: They don’t reference anything specific to your actual post. It’s always something generic like the one I pointed out because it’s all handled by automated bots that didn’t read your article.
You’ll know a real blog comment when you see it because the person will use their real name, the comment will be authentic and genuine, and the site they link back to will be legitimate.
If you’re dealing with a lot of spam on your site, then I highly suggest you read this article from WP Beginner about how to fight spam blog comments if you use WordPress.
Blog Commenting Done Right
I’ll admit, I went a little off course in that last section, but I really wanted you to see WHY blog comment spam isn’t effective, and why you should be avoiding it. But now, I want to tell you why blog commenting in general, is still effective.
When done correctly, blog comments can be very effective for building your reputation and getting on the radar of people in your industry. And I don’t just mean getting on the radar of the blog that you’re commenting on. That’s obvious. I’m talking about getting on the radar of the readers of the blog you’re commenting on. That’s some next level brand building that a lot of people never even think about.
I can’t even tell you how many bloggers I’ve discovered from the comments they’ve left on other peoples’ blogs. And guess what? After I found those new blogs, I usually bookmark them, and re-visit over and over again. I might subscribe to their newsletter, follow them on Twitter, or even link to one of their posts in one of my articles.
But in order to get that type of exposure from commenting, you have to leave the right kind of comment!
The key to effective blog commenting is writing a thoughtful comment that adds to the conversation. Ok, so what’s a thoughtful comment? Most people just think it’s praising the writer for how awesome the article was. That’s all fine and dandy, but a thoughtful comment goes even further. It shows that you read the article, and can start some type of conversation about something you got out of the content, or even something that you may not have agreed with. For instance, here’s a comment I left on a great article on Niche Hacks about guest blogging.
I disagreed with a point the writer made, adding to the conversation, and also threw in some additional resources which added to the overall value of the post for anyone that comes across it. Notice how I mentioned specific parts of the article, and contributed something beyond the typical “this is the best thing I’ve ever read” comments.
The more you expound on your comment, the better. Don’t just say that the article was helpful. Explain which parts were helpful, and what you learned from their content. You’ll get a lot more from it, trust me.
Is blog commenting dead?
No. When you’re leaving a real comment, then blog comments are great for building your name, and getting some recognition. But when you’re just using them as a way to get a link back to your site, then yea, you probably might think that it’s useless after a while when you’re not seeing any results. Even though that spammy comment I showed you guys showed up thousands of times in a Google search, that’s not going to be a long term strategy to build up their site because Google hates keyword stuffed anchor text, and most of those links are probably no-follow anyways.
Stop worrying about getting as many backlinks as you can, and start focusing on adding value through leaving real comments, and creating awesome and sexy content that people can’t ignore. That way, you don’t have to worry about getting filtered out like spam.