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Blog comments are additions in writing to existing posts of a blog. They often contain a link to a website and refer with meaningful anchor texts directly from the comment to the website. In most blogs it is possible to manage comments. The webmaster or host can respond to the comments after they have been approved or released automatically. Under certain circumstances, however, they can also be judged as comment spam, which usually has the result of deletion.
Originally, blog comments were a popular means to generate backlinks for websites. They were from the perspective of search engine optimization, a simple and effective method of link building. Due to various Google updates it lost its effectiveness and thus its popularity. Google and other search engines changed the assessment of these types of links, which meant that comment spam and outbound links in blogs that had been enriched with commercial keywords, could have a negative effect on the ranking of a website.
Blogs as a communication platform
Many people use blogs as a communication tool in the blogosphere. Information, opinions, and references on interesting content are disseminated. Within a niche many bloggers are interconnected by linking blogs and individual posts with their own blog or self-written content. Inasmuch as blogs are a medium for exchange, blog comments and the links often contained in them could be understood as notes for further information exchanges and nothing to really worry about. In social networks such as Facebook and the microblogging platform Twitter, discussions continue and traffic gets generated by it. In particular, because social media and the blogosphere are usually networked.
However, the blog system differs in one important respect. Users can stay up to date with Reader and using links, SEO signals could be sent. Users have the opportunity to spark off discussions, to express their views, and respond to comments from others. You can also publish blog comments anonymously by using avatars and false names and link to your websites. But the emphasis is on communication and the exchange of opinions and information. However, since the formative years of the Internet, a lot has changed and search engines react negatively to some blog comments, because this kind of link building was pursued excessively by many webmasters and SEO agencies.
Blog comments in SEO
To achieve the highest possible Google ranking, more and more webmasters recognized the positive effect of inbound links. You would simply add a link to your website after a blog comment. The link profile for your own website would then be changed with this director, which was initially a positive signal in the form of backlinks for search engines. The comment and the content of the blog were of secondary importance for SEOs. Consequently, the blogs were inundated with mostly worthless comments. Many SEOs even took blogs at random, and their selection was not based on relevant content to the website in question. They were not after an increase in traffic with these links, this was a side effect. The objective more so was to improve the ranking in Google index by accumulating as many links as possible in blog comments.
Situation after Google updates
Google had to respond, and did so in the form of the Penguin and Panda updates. The webspam team at Google realized that the number of backlinks of a website could not be automatically considered as a recommendation. Especially since a lot of sites were ranked unduly high through artificially created links from Google’s point of view. Google now differentiates between worthless links which do not pertain to the topic of the website and links that may be helpful to users.
After many webmasters had ranking improvement as a result of link building within a short time, a drastic punishment followed because of the updates. Google was able to defend user friendliness of its search engine. Although the goal of SEO is still a better ranking, now more attention is paid to topic relevance and comment content. Useful, relevant, and complementary posts are therefore regarded as an added value. As a means of communication, blog comments are still relevant, but they have become worthless as an improvement of the link profile.
The following remains true: (almost) every link is a good link. However, backlinks can lose their effect if certain things are not taken into account. A nofollow link has hardly any optimization potential. The situation is similar with pointless comments and especially when the blog commented on is not relevant to your own website. Links from a spam site or from a bad neighborhood have proved to be worthless or even have negative effects. Google also reacts suspiciously to an unnaturally rapid growth of backlinks and an unnatural backlink profile. In contrast, organic link building with a link pyramid that is naturally distributed, should be the goal of link building.
The nofollow link has proven to be a particularly effective method as a weapon against link-spam blog comments. Blog operators have recognized the opportunity to devalue links with respect to link juice. If a blog uses the nofollow link, it is of no interest to SEOs, but it can still generate traffic. The value of increased traffic may be relatively small after the link has been rendered powerless, however, no-follow links provide more readers to a blog, which is also ultimately a signal to search engines.
Importance for search engine optimization
Blog comments are therefore not bad per se for search engine optimization. In individual cases, it depends on the comments actually being genuine additions to existing posts and that they contribute to the content. They can be used to build relationships and enhance reputation. A link can be set to a website in principle. However, these links should not be produced en masse, but carried out at specific intervals. Many SEOs also recommend to only participate in the discussion at the beginning and not to pursue direct link building goals. After some time, a helpful, relevant link can then be set in comments. The decisive factor is the degree to which this strategy is pursued.
Moreover, the purpose of blog comments should not be to influence the link profile, but rather to contribute something of substance to a discussion. In short, preferably comment spam should be avoided; and the means (discussion) and purpose (link building) should not be interchanged.
- Is Blog Commenting for SEO a Waste of Time? markerly.com. Accessed on 25/01/2016
- How Blog Commenting Can Still Be a Healthy Part of Your Post-Penguin SEO Strategy moz.com. Accessed on 01/25/2016
- Matt Cutts on Blog Comments, Links & Spam: Use Your Name, Not Keywords searchenginewatch.com. Accessed on 25/01/2016