Does blog commenting affect SEO
Learn how blog commenting can affect your search engine ranking and potentially get penalised. Many recent Google algorithm updates point to the direction that your blog could be penalised for blog commenting.
One of the most common link building strategies is, commenting in blogs that allow links to the commenter's blog. You can see numerous lists in the web that provides the list of sites that allow link commenting. After Google introduced the Penguin and Panda updates and started talking about link building and search engine penalties, most websites switched to "no-follow" links.
What is wrong with Link Building and why Google hates it?
Google is a search engine and it's goal is to provide most relevant search results for any search query. It depends on the number of links pointing to a webpage to determine the relevance and popularity of that webpage. In the past, most of the links leading to any web pages were natural links that webmasters provide just because the linked page is relevant to the target page. However, since everyone discovered Google and other search engines give weightage for the incoming links, everyone started getting into link building. Many companies offer link building services which do nothing but make links to their clients web pages.
When links are "built" artificially to make search engines think that the target pages are more relevant than other pages, then the search results are no more relevant and valuable. This is the issue Google is trying to solve. So, based on this theory, any links that you make to your webpage violate Google's webmaster guidelines.
Does blog commenting harm your site
Until recently, blog commenting was the easiest way to build links to any site. In fact, it worked well for small sites and new blogs to get some visibility in search engines. However, that scenario will change soon, if not already.
Google has made it very clear in their latest webmaster guidelines and link schemes page that any sort of attempts to artificially pass PageRank to any webpage can result in penalties. Even though it is not explicitly mentioned about the blog commenting, it is obvious that if the blog commenting is done with the intention of passing PageRank, it can affect the websites - the site which is providing the link from comments and the site which receive the benefit of those links.
Should we completely stop blog commenting?
Well, I never believed in link building through commenting or guest posting. I have always been doing only on-page SEO like making my articles rich in content and include all common keywords in content and title. However, my recent participation in lot of webmaster forums made me feel that many bloggers depend primarily on guest posting and blog commenting to increase PageRank and search engine ranking for their sites. Most of those sites were successful in getting good traffic to their sites through these approaches. So, finally I too tried my hands on a limited amount of blog commenting and quickly burnt my hands. I chose a wrong timing for me - Google came up with various search engine penalties that hammered the sites involved in artificial link building. I was lucky that I tried those strategies only some small and experimental sites, so it did not really affect my primary sites.
Let us come to the point. Do blog commenting affect the search engine ranking? Google has never said any statements about it, but my opinion is, it will affect very soon. Just think about this - will an authority site ever bother to go to other blogs and post lot of comments? No, they would rather focus on posting quality content.
Commenting on blogs and websites for getting backlinks is a very easy signal for Google to detect. Some genuine commenting on good blogs will definitely not harm anyone, but if you are spending a lot of time building links through commenting, it is time to revise your search engine optimization strategy.
Why blog commenting can harm your site and get your blog penalised
There are couple of reasons why I believe blog commenting can hurt your blog:
1. Google does not like Link Building, no matter how you do it.
2. I wouldn't recommend commenting often even if those links are "no-follow". Blog commenting for the purpose of getting inbound links is definitely not in the good spirits of organic links.
3. Most blogs give links from comments using the timestamp or the blogger name as the anchor text. This will mess up your ranking since the inbound links are not really any useful keywords. Unless your blog is an established blog and Google knows what are your primary keywords, by getting links with strange names and date/time as the anchor text, you will be confusing search engines about the keyword/niche of your blog.
Best practices for blog commenting
If you are commenting in other blogs, then keep these best practices in mind:
How does enabling comments in a blog affect its ranking
Almost all blogs on the web allow commenting in their posts. There are several benefits for allowing it. The primary advantage is, comments always add value to the blogs by giving more information, filling the gaps, correcting any wrong/misleading information. Another advantage is, it brings fresh content to the page and search engines love fresh content. I have experimentally proven that when new comments are added to an article, the page gets a small boost in the search results after Google index the page again.
Enabling commenting on blogs can negatively affect the hosting blog if not done carefully. Lot of automated bots post spammy comments, leading to comment spam. Most of the times comment spam are meant to promote spammy sites and by linking to such sites, you could get into trouble with search engines.
Best practices and tips to avoid search engine penalty
If you allow commenting in your blogs, try to follow these best practices:
Let me summarize my opinion about blog commenting. Blog commenting for the purpose of link building and passing PageRank can hurt the linking blog and linked sites in the long run. Stay focused on writing great quality content rather than deviating your attention to link building approaches which may get you penalised in the long run.
Read Effective link building strategies for 2015
"Always use "do-follow" linking if you allow others to mention their website address."? Isn't that wrong?
Wouldn't that pass off our link juice?