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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