Four Common Blog Commenting Myths Debunked

  • December 27, 2011 by Guest Writer
  • 42 Comments

This is a guest post by Eugene Farber of Content Strategy Hub.

The Million Dollar Blog Project is all about creating a blog that produces consistent income for you over time. In other words, it is about building a business.

If you’ve been around the blogosphere for a little while, you’ve probably seen how much emphasis is put on blog comments. Commenting on other people’s blogs is important. Receiving comments on your own blog is important.

Or is it?

While there are definitely benefits to commenting, there is one fundamental flaw with this generalization…

How important, really, are comments to your business goals?

Assuming your blog isn’t just a hobby, but rather you blog for business purposes, blog comments may not be important at all!

You have to identify your goals first.

Let’s clear up a few myths…

1. Lots of Commenting is a Good SEO Tactic

Before talking about the importance of receiving comments from others, lets talk about the act of leaving comments.

I can’t even count how many articles I’ve read pushing the idea of leaving comments to obtain backlinks for an SEO benefit.

Of course, I can’t argue that there is a benefit to this method. But the caveat is that leaving well thought-out responses takes time. And those are really the only kind you should be leaving. Spamming will get you nowhere, and it will get you there fast.

If your blog isn’t just a hobby, but a business, then you probably don’t have time to leave comments just for backlinks. You have a business to run.

2. Lots of Comments Display Social Proof

Some people will argue that a pile of comments on each post displays social proof.

However, most individuals that look at comment count upon arriving to your blog are other bloggers looking to see how many comments you are getting compared to themselves.

Unless you are in the “blogging about blogging” niche that isn’t something you necessarily have to worry about. And if you take a look at the Million Dollar Blog Project participants, there is way more out there than just blogging about blogging.

Just under a year ago Think Traffic posed the question of whether or not comments should even be on blogs.

Plus, look at the likes of Seth Godin, who doesn’t even have comments on his blog. Would you question his social proof?

3. Lots of Comments Display Quality

If you are creating quality content, it only stands to reason that it should be getting heaps of comments. Right?

This isn’t always the case. In fact, a lot of comments isn’t even what you should be aiming for. Social sharing is.

I recently launched my new blog with a 3-part interview series about content strategy. Corbett Barr was even among the participants.

The series didn’t receive too many comments. But if you look at the content, it would be pretty difficult to say there’s no quality there.

What the series did get, however, is hundreds of social shares for each post.

With Google’s new social emphasis, this is exactly what you should be shooting for.

This helped my newly launched site reach PR4 in a little over a month. And this will help in terms of SEO far more than spending hours upon hours on finding blogs to comment on.

4. Lots of Comments Means Lots of Business

Marcus Sheridan recently wrote a post stating that blog comments are not a business model. He hits the nail on the head with this one.

Take a look at your client list if you have one. How many of those clients started off as commenters on your blog?

As always, the “blogging about blogging” blog (talk about alliteration) will always get more comments than other niches. But how many businesses revolve around blogging? Very little.

Sure, your business blog may not always create content that is “comment worthy.” But do you really care if it is driving traffic and conversions?

Posting more often can increase traffic. And if your posts are any good, this should theoretically increase your leads and conversions as well.

But posting more often also often leads to decreased comments on each post because you are quickly moving on to the next one.

So which do you prefer in this case? More traffic and leads, or more comments?

The True Benefit of Comments

I would be lying if I said that blog comments didn’t have a benefit.

But let’s be clear: the biggest business benefit of having the ability to comment on a blog is the opportunity to connect with the author.

That means that the true benefit of blog commenting comes from commenting externally, not drawing comments into your own.

This also means that taking the time to think and connect is more effective than dropping a “that was a great post” line just for the backlink. These connections can slowly build up to be relationships – be it online friendships or business partnerships.

But even then, you can always connect with people on social media or email. Comments are foiled again.

Metrics that Matter

Forget comments. Before putting the first words on the page you need to come up with a good strategy. And the first part of a good strategy is defining your goals.

What is the purpose of the content you are going to create? What are you trying to accomplish?

Are you trying to get more traffic? Are you trying to get more subscribers?

Maybe you really are trying to get more comments. But how are you going to monetize those comments or turn them into potential customers?

Define your goals, write your content, and measure the things that matter. And remember that not drawing in many comments is OK if you’re achieving those goals (even though others may tell you otherwise).

Eugene Farber (@EugeneFarber) is a writer, entrepreneur and founder of Content Strategy Hub. If you are ready to take your content marketing to the next level, check out his Content Strategy 101 series.


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Eugene December 27, 2011 at 6:20 am

A big thank you to Corbett and Caleb for allowing me to hijack Think Traffic for a day! :)

Caleb Wojcik December 27, 2011 at 7:31 am

Of course Eugene! Great post. :)

Dan December 27, 2011 at 6:33 am

Here’s whats worse: comments are misleading. Because I travel a lot, I’ve been able to meet at least100 of my readers, probably a lot more than that. At least in my case, the wonderful people who show up in the comments section of my blog do not, in large part, share the profile or desires of the vast majority of my readers. There are probably a few niches that are an exception to this, but I’d say it’s worth considering as a rule, at minimum because it could inspire you to reach out to your audience in other ways (99% of them!).

Another thing to consider is authority articles– I know a lot of bloggers who write authoritatively on complex topics. They make a ton of loot because their virtuosity inspires trust. I’ve found people don’t comment much on these types of articles. Kind of like “what do I have to add” sort of attitude. They “comment” when you put up a buy now button!
:D

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 6:51 am

Totally get what you’re saying with the “what do I have to add?” attitude. That leads to either no comments, or a lot of “great post” type of stuff. Of course those are also the kind of posts that drive a lot of traffic, sales, etc. I would take a buy button “comment” over a “great post” comment any day :) .

Jon Cooper December 27, 2011 at 6:41 am

I disagree with your first “myth”. I’ve driven at least 30 visitors to my blog with comments. I always comment with my name as the anchor text, and because of that, I’m now ranking 2 spots off the first page for “Jon Cooper” when my home page does not say my name even once (also, my name is actually a decently competitive keyword).

I will say that you won’t get any value leaving comment #319 on a post. It’s about getting there before everyone else.

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 7:00 am

I think it depends on how competitive the keywords you are trying to rank for are. I’m not saying that Jon Cooper isn’t a competitive word, but if you were trying to build backlinks to rank on the first page, or #1 for it, outsourcing backlinking work would you get there much faster.

Plus, most people are trying to rank for more than just one keyword. And that would take A LOT of commenting.

As I said in the post, I’m not saying that there is NO SEO benefit to commenting, just saying it shouldn’t be strictly used as an SEO tactic.

I’m assuming that the comments that drove traffic back to your website were fairly well thought out. That takes time. You need to read the post and formulate a good response.

If you find the content interesting, and are willing to leave a good comment, then you should absolutely go ahead and do so. And of course, there will be some decent side effects in terms of traffic and SEO. But its not the most efficient SEO tactic. That’s all I’m saying.

Eunice Coughlin December 27, 2011 at 6:52 am

I agree with Jon about #1 not being a myth. Not only will a well-thought-out comment on someone else’s blog about something you are passionate about send traffic to your own blog, it can also be a catalyst for a post on your own blog. In regard to “social proof”, Seth Godin doesn’t need comments on his own blog since he was already an established marketing expert before going online. And he doesn’t need them now. But people who are just starting need to establish their own authority, credibility and relationships. Commenting on blogs will help make it happen.

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 7:04 am

Hi Eunice,

That was exactly the conclusion I mentioned in the post. The real benefit of blog commenting is connecting with people.

As I mentioned in my response to Jon, and I mention in the post, I’m not saying that there are NO benefits in terms of SEO when it comes to commenting.

I’m just saying that if you are strictly commenting for backlinks you are doing it wrong. And there are more efficient ways to get backlinks.

A good comment, and one that will draw traffic back to your own site, requires a time investment. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t comment at all, but its best left for posts you truly find interesting and want to leave a well formulated response to.

Bret @ Green Global Travel December 27, 2011 at 7:41 am

Thought-provoking post here, and definitely going against the traditional wisdom we’ve been taught as relatively new bloggers. What I find is that, at least in the travel blog world, comments are more about other bloggers supporting each other (and, of course, trying to get backlinks) than it is about average readers responding. On the rare occasion where it *IS* a normal person so powerfully moved by a story that they feel they have to respond, it’s pretty potent. But by and large, I agree with you: I’d rather get more shares via social media than more comments.

Adarsh Thampy December 27, 2011 at 7:45 am

I must say that comment count is certainly not a good way to measure a blogs authority. Just as you mentioned Seth Godin, there are lots of other people who don’t allow comments on their blogs.

If your target audience are people who run business, don’t expect them to stop and share their views on the topic. If they do, well and good. If they don’t, do not be disheartened.

I am not going to touch on the topic of blog commenting for SEO because it certainly cannot be proved wrong. We can debate all day long, but there is no proof that it works or it doesn’t. It’s common SEO knowledge that footer links don’t pass any or much value. But recently GoDaddy used footer links on client sites to boost their rankings. So, we really cant say which will work or which will not.

In my opinion, the only metric you should consider for your blog is how well it’s achieving it’s goal. Do you want people to hire you? Then, it doesn’t matter if you get 1000′s of comments on your blog. All it matters is someone willing to pay you took the time to reach out to you for help.

Rease December 27, 2011 at 7:46 am

I was very tempted say “Great post” and nothing else, just to be a smart ass.

I do a lot of blog commenting as part of a business strategy, but I always leave comments that are worth leaving. I also spend a lot of time tweeting out those links so that I can show the authors I appreciate their works and build relationships with them. Like you said, it´s a slow process, but I have made great friends and I also got the added benefit of networking.

My posts do not normally get more than 10 comments, and I am totally ok with that. We focus on writing either Travel Cheap tips or funny travel stories. These kinds of posts are often enjoyed and shared, but if someone only wants to say “hahaha so funny!” I am not worried that they chose to skip it and just click the Tweet button instead.

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 8:57 am

Sounds like you have the same view of the situation that I do :) .

You gave a perfect example of a niche where commenting isn’t as common as the “blog about blogging” niche.

I’d personally rather have someone share my content than comment on it because it increases exposure. Of course, I’d rather have both :) .

Joseph December 27, 2011 at 9:24 am

You bring up several important points. I’ll add another one: audience personality. Some readers are more apt to post comments than others. They may find the information they’re looking for then leave (and is they’re in a rush they may not even share the info with others).

Many blogs/websites have a certain percentage of lurkers, these people are regular readers but rarely if ever post comments. They may not like posting comments, and simply prefer to read the information.

Unfortunately, businesses e.g. sponsors are often ill-informed and think that comments are a reliable indicator/predictor of social proof and success – an assumption that isn’t applicable in all instances.

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Audience personality is also a huge factor…great point. I think sponsors really are uninformed in many cases and that’s a shame. It’s probably in large part due to so many people putting so much weight on comment count. It’s up to us to debunk the myths :) .

Astro Gremlin December 27, 2011 at 4:13 pm

A consistent commenting approach has increased my traffic and put me in touch with a lot of great commenters. When a person leaves a comment on my site, I check back on them from time to time. Are they customers? Probably not. Are they readers? Maybe. Are they blogger friends? You bet!

Eugene December 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

That’s definitely the biggest benefit of commenting – using the comment system to interact and build relationships with others. But yes, they usually aren’t customers…which is my point :) .

Matthew Needham December 28, 2011 at 3:51 am

I change between thinking commenting is a good idea and a bad idea, because whenever I sell anything or via a launch the majority of people who buy I don’t recognise (other than as a name on my list). In my experience comments don’t equal sales, but they do equal social proof.

Eugene December 28, 2011 at 5:43 am

I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea. I think that commenting can get you a lot of great connections…but that’s commenting on other peoples sites (and leaving well thought out comments). I used to think that receiving comments was important…not so much any more.

Mark December 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I personally think, that blog commenting is one of the easiest way to get some traffic to our site, but what do I know? =)

TheMoneyMakingNetwork

Valorie Capone December 28, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Thank you for your great article. Very well written, much appreciated.

Tushar December 29, 2011 at 2:59 am

for me, you surely removed some myths. i always considered comments as a solid proof of quality and trustworthiness (and i consider it now also). But certainly, your points have forced me to think once again about my strategy

Trung Nguyen December 29, 2011 at 5:02 am

This post is great for those who didn’t know the true benefit of comments – Thanks so much.

Mike Yasieniuk December 29, 2011 at 9:29 am

I’m commenting on this blog just for SEO purposes and hope links are not set to nofollow. I don’t really care to connect with the author at this time, although i am sure he is a good guy. lol

Eugene January 3, 2012 at 8:45 am

lol. thanks for the honesty.

Steve Wells @ How to Pick up a Girl December 29, 2011 at 1:56 pm

“If your blog isn’t just a hobby, but a business, then you probably don’t have time to leave comments just for backlinks. You have a business to run.” – That’s where outsourcing comes into play. =)

At the end of the day, when your goal is to be found (whose not?), what counts is the number and quality of backlinks (and some on-page SEO). Blog comments are just one part of the strategy to reach that goal.

More Web Site Traffic Guide December 30, 2011 at 7:11 am

I have been running web sites for sometime now and I have included blog commenting in my implementations. Yes, the process takes time. To leave well-thought comments one has to understand the content first before squeezing a good comments. And yes, spamming would lead you nowhere. However, I still find it useful. But your points here are well-taken. They are, in fact, true. But I guess it all depends on your commitment to the process and your determination to do it.

SEO Reseller January 2, 2012 at 12:46 am

The purpose of these comments is to actually connect with people. The value of the links that are in the comment, whether it’s with the name or within the comment, should not matter. That’s because what’s important here is the relationships that you create with the authors and the other people who left comments.

– Ray

Sergio Felix January 2, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Hey Eugene,

After reading your article I was almost inclined to not even leave a comment but I decided to go through this anyway.

I think I do a lot of ‘blog hopping’ because I actually like to connect with new people.

Does it takes time? Yes, a lot actually.

Does it translates into sales? Not really but then again, every link I have left goes to somewhere I can control and I think that IS powerful.

I have made a lot of business relationships just by supporting the blogger through leaving comments on his/her blog.

The traffic that it drives it’s not that huge as to make it a daily activity but I would definitely still do it, from time to time and the same for new and old sites, and high and low ranked sites.

I think of it as a way of communication, not so much as a way to manipulate page rank.

Sergio

Eugene January 3, 2012 at 8:47 am

I completely agree with you Sergio. That’s why I say the true benefit of commenting is actually connecting with people. If you’re just leaving comments for the sole purpose of SEO, you’re probably doing it wrong.

EV SSL Certificates January 6, 2012 at 1:08 am

The benefit’s are……..

-Commenting on other people’s blogs basically means that they will go to yours and comment right back. Essentially, the exercise drives traffic to a blog.
-Find out more information regarding the topic by asking questions only the author or other commenter’s can answer.
-Build links to your personal blog that would help in propelling the site in search engine rankings.
-Leaving a comment on blogs allow people to express their own opinions and ideas about a particular subject.
-One of the benefits of blog commenting is that a person slowly becomes known to other visitors of the blog.
-Engage the author as well as other readers into a conversation

تور دبی January 7, 2012 at 6:04 am

I wish people would write more about this as you have done. This is something that is very important and has been largely overlooked by the internet community

EasyGap February 9, 2012 at 10:44 am

I have always been unsure of any SEO benefit of blog commenting, I guess if nothing else it does allow a diversity of backlinks to your site. However, if the article is good and thought provoking then I think adding a comment for that reason alone is good manners!

Whoever will work out the needs and demands of the mighty Big G?!

manoj kotak February 11, 2012 at 6:06 am

In fact I came on this blog and at this article on blog commenting as I was not sure how beneficial blog commenting could be and how? Your article has not only cleared the picture but helped in improving the technique of blog vommenting. Thanks a lot.

dan March 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Great post……. only kidding. Couldn’t help myself

I question the value of blog commenting unless it has anchor text. Surely the big search engines can work out if someone is trawling the web laying urls everywhere? If it works (and many claim it does) it just seems too easy to do.

I’m always amused at the amount of do follows that have the “great post blah blah” and never get deleted. Some bloggers must see any comment as positive.

Vineet March 11, 2012 at 1:13 am

HI Eugene,
I guess you wrote it right that the biggest benefit of blog commenting is tht you get to connect with the author. Bit you cannot deny the fact that it does help you to build backlinks and traffic.

De Linkbuilder March 20, 2012 at 11:06 am

Hi Eugene,

I couldn’t agree more with you and I think because people are using it as spam Google will take action just like they did with directories and start pages.

Caribbean shore sxcursions April 5, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Now, now, blog commenting is good for both sides, as long as they stick to the basic rules of communication

Ravi Sharma May 8, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I have always been unsure of any SEO benefit of blog commenting

jasmine September 27, 2013 at 7:41 am

Very nice and amazing tips about commenting and i learned a lot by reading this article. Thanks for posting :)

Eunice Coughlin December 27, 2011 at 7:37 am

I do agree with you that just leaving a comment of “great tips” or whatever is really not worth anyone’s time. I sometimes wonder if someone’s asleep at the wheel when I see spam as comments on really good blogs. Have they not heard of spam filter plug-in’s? This is a good post otherwise, Eugene. You certainly hit some people’s sensitive spots ;-)

Dan December 27, 2011 at 7:39 am

I love it when readers reply to my posts with “i loved it!” or something similar. Makes my day!!!

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