Blog commenting – Following a guideline

By | January 19, 2010

Quick Online Tips recently had a nice post on approving blog comments which I want to touch on as well. First up, I know many people with their own sites or blogs comment frequently to get backlinks, which in and of itself is not a bad thing; everyone wants to promote their sites, including myself.

Backlinks from blog comments, be they dofollow or nofollow have value in the search engines; so don’t forget nofollow links as they also hold some weight with Google (depending on where those links are coming from). Commenting is a legit way to get backlinks; even big companies are now getting in on the act.

Commenting is good, spam is not

But alas, with the good comes the bad. I’ve seen many dofollow sites getting spammed to death (literally). The spam gets to the point many of the pages cease to even load properly and the blog owners either turn off their comments or mass delete almost everything after a while.

You may have seen those comments before, either one liners to “thank” the blog owner or some copy paste comments which commentators spew on a dozen other sites (it saves them time) and loaded with dozens, even hundreds of links to questionable pharmacy, shoes, bags, jewelry, and what-have-you sites. All this spam necessitates moderation, but moderation brings up other questions as well; are there any good moderation guidelines to follow?

Since I can’t speak for other blog owners, I’ll just list down what works for me in deciding whether to approve a comment or not:

  • If the commentator is linking to warez/adult/one page/shady sites I usually don’t approve the comment. This also applies for sites that look as though they might be shut down anytime. You wouldn’t want to link to sites that could be penalized by Google – like sites with copied content, or sites that are here today, gone tomorrow, cos your blog might be the one to get penalized next.
  • Normally I do not approve one liner comments, but this is not a fixed rule. Comments like, “Thanks for the great post,” normally won’t get approved. Hey, I don’t think it’s that hard to read the blogger’s post before commenting.
  • I generally frown on “outsourced” comments, unless the commentator makes a good comment. The thought of “comment packages” doesn’t sit too well with me, but again, it’s not a hard and fast rule for me.
  • Anything rude, profane, or negatively unconstructive also won’t get approved.
  • Copy-paste comments which can be spotted on other sites and are clearly recycled, won’t get approved.
  • Keywords in the name field – I guess I go on a case by case basis.

Yep, blog moderation might be a killjoy but the fact is, it’s essential. I’ve seen very liberal blogs and very conservative blogs. Blogs with dofollow but hardly approve any comments (you have to wonder why they allow comments in the first place). Dofollow blogs with auto-approve that get spammed to death (Not good). Blogs that strictly won’t allow any keywords in the name field. Blogs that switch back to nofollow after promoting themselves as dofollow. All sorts.

At the end of the day, you have to decide where you want your blog to be, since no two blogs will ever or should be, the same. Blog commenting is still a relevant SEO strategy available for all that doesn’t cost a dime; let’s keep it that way as long as we can.

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23 thoughts on “Blog commenting – Following a guideline

  1. Austin Divorce Lawyer

    Hello, just want to add a point, blog commenting should be practice with respect to the owner of the site and should be of quality, and also whats the point of putting all those link in your comment knowing that they wont be accepted? I also do SEO and its irritating on my part that my comment wont get accepted because the site owner would mark me as a spam 🙁

  2. Rick

    My own blog gets several spam comments every day. Many of them are just jibberish and nonsense. I’m not even sure how those comments help the person posting them, but yet I get them all the time.

    Moderating comments is difficult as sometimes there is a fine line between someone spamming a site for SEO purposes and someone making a short, but legitimate comment.

  3. Edward

    I always have a chuckle anytime I see a blatantly obvious spam-comment posted on a blog – when people post a billion links in their comment, and have no substance at all. Who do you people think you’re fooling? 🙂

  4. William Olsen

    @ Austin Divorce Lawyer – I agree with you there mate. A good comment is one that furthers the post and pays respect to the owner of the site or the writer of the post. Even if it challenges the post or the writer, it should be engaging at least.

    I have my own blog as well, and would actually allow people to comment, but request that everyone registers first.

  5. subash

    Spam comments is a big problem my blogs get about 200-300 Spam comments each day.
    Its a big problem to manage the comments.

    I think making a blog nofollow will solve the problem so i also have made all of my blogs nofollow.

  6. izlesene

    I’m not even sure how those comments help the person posting them, but yet I get them all the time.Moderating comments is difficult as sometimes there is a fine line between Even if it challenges the post or the writer, it should be engaging at least.

  7. Deborah Bradley

    I think most blogs with a high PR rank mostly get spammed, Me I dont mind people using keywords on their name or put links(maybe 2-3 links) on their post as long as they post a comment that makes sense. Lets face it we all do SEO and we need it.

  8. DarrinW Post author

    Hi Deborah,
    Google has said all blog owners are responsible for the content posted by commentators, and they will be held responsible even though it is not them making the comments. So, approving comments is difficult and time consuming, because of so much “spam” going around. I’ve seen many bloggers who just turned off commenting altogether or changed their policies radically.

  9. Webhotel

    I use to visit lots of blogs and post comments and I will keep in mind all your guidelines while posting comments hereafter. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Steven | The Emotion Machine

    From a marketing perspective, it could be seen as inconvenient to actually have to read a post before commenting on it, but it is the only way to make a lasting impression.

    Reading a post and then leaving a thoughtful comment is about networking, building connections, and showing you can provide value (both ON and OFF your site).

    Great guidelines! I generally feel the same way when I approve others comments. I want to at least know they put some effort into understanding the message of my post.

  11. Dara

    It’s too bad, but I see tons of sites that were once dofollow now have become nofollow. I’m assuming because of the spam they received, but comment moderation should really fix that. The jaded part of me thinks they just were dofollow for an instant, to gain readership, and then become nofollow. A sad ploy to get readers, it would be a great blog post to discuss how ethical this is.

  12. Billy Deakin

    All good points. I have similar criteria for approving/deleting comments as you, although I do sometimes approve one-liner comments if they are positive, use a real name, and link to a decent site.

    I currently run about half of my sites as dofollow, and I’m planning on changing the others over. It does take a little more time and effort to moderate, but you get much more devent comments so it’s worth it IMO.

  13. Frances

    Thank you for…. Just kidding.

    I have seen so many of these types of blog commenting and even ones made by so called professional marketing companies.

    I for one believe blog commenting should further the discussion with other blog commentators and add value to the site as a whole

  14. Mary MacKillop

    @Dara above.

    From the bloggers perspective, everything goes to hell in a handbasket when you end up on one of those damned “dofollow blogs” lists.

    I had to turn comments off altogether after I ended up on one of those lists, as it didn’t matter that I’d turned dofollow off, the spam just kept on coming.

  15. Roadster

    You can’t stop spam even if your blog is no follow. My blog gets lots of spam everyday with insurance, pharmaceutical, porn and casino promotions being the most common. Sometimes, the sickening thing is you can have a comment touching on spiritual stuff and rosary beads but click on the link, it ends up at a porn site!! I guess if you run a blog and allow commenting, then you just have to put in the effort to moderate those comments. Sigh!

  16. Urma

    @ Roadster – yes I agree. My one blog gets spammed daily but I am also getting some worthy readers and subscribers now as I have forced “must subscribe to comment” – it helps to a degree.

    my other sites I dont really mind who comments on them and if I find something I dont like I delete it. For WordPress blogs I recommend using Akismet….

  17. Algerian love knot necklace

    I see both sides of this as one one hand I run multiple blogs and have to deal with constant spam comments, but on the other hand want to benefit from my involvement in other blogs by leaving comments such as this.

    I don’t mind people adding a link to their site – as long as that site looks ok to me – and including keywords.

    The main thing is whether they have actually added something to the conversation or just butted in without reading either the post or other comments.


  18. Simon | Sydney Hotel

    Spamming is not good for the Blog, for the visitors and not for search engines.

    Placing comments that continue the story or post or engage the visitors and I agree with Nellie… the commenter must add substance to the comments or post…

  19. John

    Owning a blog I guess comes with a down side.It’s the nature of the beast. We are forever getting spam through our comments section, alot with just a double name like ‘david david’,very annoying in one way but ammusing that they put so little effort in. I guess it’s just a numbers game.

  20. Discount

    At the end of the day, you have to decide where you want your blog to be, since no two blogs will ever or should be, the same. Blog commenting is still a relevant SEO strategy available for all that doesn’t cost a dime; let’s keep it that way as long as we can.

  21. skilte

    All good points, we have problemes with spammers aswell, do you have a good wordpress plugin for it?

  22. sudeep

    spammers are just a great problem for us. i also get 30-40 daily. i think disqus will help us to reduce the spam comments.

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