Comment backlinking is the process of visiting blogs and websites with comment sections and creating a comment with a link (almost exclusively on the comment username) that points back to your site. It’s an old school, “gray hat” SEO technique that Google’s search engine algorithms are iffy about. Matt Cutts himself said that a quality comment may help you as a backlink, but a bad comment may be seen as spam, and since Google bots are not people, every time you comment on a website an provide yourself with a backlink you’re taking a risk.
In general, Great Leap Studios doesn’t engage in comment backlinking because of those risks. But rather than discuss all of the reasons not to use comment backlinking, let’s look at some of the reasons it actually could be useful.
Caveat: Quality Comments and No Spam
For the purposes of this brainstorming session, we’re going to assume that the comments you leave on other people’s websites are amazing, and that you’re using no spam techniques. Your “name” isn’t a keyword you’re trying to target, but rather your actual name, and you’re not spamming your link in the comment trying to get more hits. In this case, you’re creating comments that improve the conversation and possibly share interesting ideas that others would want to read.
Reasons to Comment on Blogs for Marketing
- Creating An Online Presence
The simplest reason is that blog commenting allows you to continue to create an online presence. Commenting is branding. You want people to get to know you – who you are, what you offer, and more. When you comment on a blog, others will read your comment, click on your link, and learn more about your business. When people search for information on you or on a topic, they’ll find your comments and find your website and remember you. That’s beneficial, and something that far too few businesses consider with regard to that type of marketing.
- Possible SEO
If you ask me if comment backlinking works as an SEO tool, I’m probably going to smile and say “no.” But the Google algorithms are not publicly available. No one truly knows what works. Spammers certainly seem to think that comment backlinking works, which is why they send bots to spam website comments every day. So even though I would say “no,” I would also add “but they might, so why not try?”
- Website Engagement
A forgotten reason to comment on the websites of others is that others will see your post, go to your website, and comment on your own blog posts. While the exact numbers aren’t known, there is evidence that engagement (the amount of people that view and comment on your website) does appear to improve website rank. So if your comments attract quality comments on your sites, your website could improve its search engine rank as a result.
- Encouraging Backlinking
Though less common these days, the only way to develop natural backlinks is to have other websites find you. For example, if you comment on a blog and that blogger loves some post on your own website, they may write about it and link to you, and you will have developed a natural backlink. For that to happen, the blog has to know you exist, and commenting allows them to find that out.
Finally, the process of comment backlinking also provides you an excuse to do something else that is important for marketing – learning about your industry. When you’re busy marketing your business it’s not uncommon to find that you don’t have time to learn more about what’s going on in your field. But comment backlinking provides you with all of the benefits above, and gives you an excuse to start updating yourself on the news of your industry and the takes that people have on it. That’s valuable, even if it doesn’t relate to SEO directly. Indeed, you will need blog post ideas and original research, and learning what other bloggers are writing about provides you with more ideas to work with.
Comment Backlinking: Why Not?
In practice, it’s unlikely that comment backlinking has much of an effect on SEO. But it’s also free marketing, and it MIGHT have an effect. So while you shouldn’t assume comment backlinking will work or invest all of your money on spammers that will comment on thousands of posts in an hour, comment backlinking is, if nothing else, interesting. It may be something that works, and even if it doesn’t, who cares?
COMMENT: What do you think? Is comment backlinking something that more companies should use?