There are a lot of reasons why people may choose to comment on a blog post. Maybe they find the post interesting and want to leave a thoughtful and insightful message that invites intelligent discussion. Maybe they’re engaging in trolling, flaming, or some other bad behavior. Maybe they want everyone to know that they’re “FIRST!!!”
Or, most likely, they want to drive traffic to their website and boost their search engine rankings by building backlinks.
Using blog comments for SEO purposes is a respectable and time-honored strategy that has been with us since the mid-00s, when blogging was new and exciting. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. No self-respecting blogger is going to stand by and let you spam the comments section of their blog with blatantly irrelevant links and vague, nonsensical content. However, most bloggers have come to see marketing-related comments as a quid pro quo proposition, and are perfectly happy to let you do a little bit of linking and/or promotion so long as you’re actually providing something of value.
In other words, you can’t fake it. If you want your comments to stand, you’re going to have to put a little effort into them. Here are some tips for writing blog comments that won’t make people hate you.
Read the Post before Commenting
If you’re going to comment on a post, you really ought to read it first. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many folks will either try to skate by with a generic, meaningless comment (“Great post! Very informative!”) or will simply read the first paragraph and then try to rehash it (“I agree totally that there are a lot of reasons why people may choose to comment on a blog post.”). Instead of trying to game the system, take the time to read the post. Look for points with which you agree and/or disagree, and mention them in your comment.
Make Your Comment Meaningful
Easier said than done, but necessary if you want your comment to do anything besides take up digital space. Offer up a solution, add some insight, or even start a debate (assuming you can back your viewpoint up). Some experts recommend setting a minimum length (at least 2-3 sentences) just to make sure you’re actually leaving a thoughtful comment.
In that same vein, if you’re going to drop a link into your comment, make sure it’s relevant and contributes something other than a cheap plug.
Use Your Real Name (If Possible)
When people see an anonymous comment, they assume the person writing it has something to hide. When they see a comment from a corporation or brand, they write it off as a blatant marketing attempt. Posting comments under your real name gives you more credibility with both the blogger and the blogging community.
Respond to Other Comments
If you can’t come up with something worthwhile to say about the actual article, then consider responding to some of the other comments. It’s a great way to start a conversation with the other readers. In addition to the SEO benefits that come with a well-written comment, you could end up developing new professional relationships and connections.
Don’t treat blog commenting as a “set-it-and-forget-it” strategy. Make a list of industry blogs, as well as other blogs that might be somehow related to your business. Keep track of the ones you visit and the articles you comment on. That way, you can go back periodically to check and see if your comments have been posted and if anybody has responded to them.
Even if you do everything right, odds are not all of your blog comments are going to get published. You might run into a blogger who has zero tolerance for online marketing, or a blogger who takes umbrage at people who disagree with him. Or your comment could simply end up lost in the æther somewhere. It happens. The key is to not take it personally. If your comment doesn’t show up on one post, try commenting on another post on that blog. If that comment doesn’t go through, scratch the blog off your list and go to the next one.