For bloggers, seeing a constructive, intelligent and genuine comment at the bottom of the post is like chugging a mouthful of ice cold Gatorade after a long workout: it’s both refreshing and empowering.
On the flip side, not seeing a single comment after a month of being posted has the very opposite effect. You feel like you’re doing nothing more than spending hours enlightening no one, merely attempting to fill up the infinite vacuum of cyberspace. Even worse, is when all you see are those jackal spammers, who seem to stop at nothing in their attempt to build backlinks to their own sites. Their comments are impersonal, disengaged and usually bot-generated, which can sometimes feel rather detrimental to your credibility.
“Great post!” they say. “Now, check out my site @ blah blah blah.com” they say. What are you and your readers probably thinking? You most likely mumble, “Yeah, thanks. Thanks for the spam, you jackal.”
However, great and powerful opportunities abound for those who diligently post thoughtful blog comments. You really can, in fact, reap rewards for commenting on other blogs within your own niche –and these rewards can pay dividends in traffic and love from the search engines.
As I’ve preached time and time again, it’s all about the quality of your content, not the quantity of your posts. This truth rings clearer and louder when it comes to the comments that you write below the posts from your fellow bloggers.
Let’s go back to square one. What exactly is a blog? If we simply ignore the existence of search engine crawlers and algorithms for a moment, then the essence of a blog becomes clear: it’s a podium in a great big community of other podiums. The blogger is the speaker who’s enlightening an eager audience.
Because of this, bloggers are a part of a community, and communities thrive on an open flow of ideas, communication and relationships.
Keeping this in mind, commenting on a blog carries with it several advantages to you:
- First, by posting interesting, thoughtful, and generally helpful comments, you are able to bolster your own credibility in places other than your own blog.
- Second, along with this credibility, commenting allows you to share your name and brand with others who might also benefit from your insight.
- Third, this is a fantastic way to build relationships with other bloggers! This often results in guest posting opportunities, link sharing, etc.
Your comments can provide the blogger with invaluable ‘social proof’ and instant validation, especially if you are also an authoritative source in your own niche. Gestures such as these do not often go overlooked.
Another interesting advantage is that posting thoughtful comments can be great for SEO, but only if this is done properly. It can provide you with a backlink; however, if done improperly – this practice can also hurt your blog’s search engine ranking.
Harnessing the power of commenting is not difficult. In fact, it can be one of the easiest methods of growing your credibility, your backlinks and your readership with it. However, you should never opt for the ‘easy way’ of commenting – using bots, posting copy-and-paste comments en masse and spamming should be viewed as obvious pitfalls. But of course, while there is a wrong way… there is also a right way.
Being effective at posting blog comments carries with it a three-part objective:
- First, you need to comment with personality, credibility, authority and knowledge of your niche. (Sort of the way you would, if you were commenting for no other reason than to share your opinion. Go figure.)
- Second, you need to keep branding in mind. Branding isn’t merely linking back to a website. Branding is getting your potential readers to associate you with your blog.
- Third, in order to take advantage of SEO, you need to convince Google that you are not spam.
The first part of the objective is actually rather simple. If you know what you’re talking about, then this isn’t going to be difficult. Talk about what you know, but because you’re also trying to build a relationship with the blogger – be personable, supportive and helpful!
The second part of the objective is a little more complicated. My thoughts are tossed back to grade school, when the teacher would play videos like Schoolhouse Rock in class… to this day, I can’t separate conjunctions from that catchy tune, and I sure remembered what the function of a conjunction was! Nowadays, we know even more about how the brain reacts to associations, which is one reason why new companies like Grammarheads.com, who make educational music videos of grammar rock songs, have become such a hit in the classroom. When we are able to build connections in our minds, memory simply flows.
Branding works the exact same way. If you provide comments that cause readers to think, “Hmm… now that was actually kinda helpful,” it won’t take long before they become a regular on your own blog. They’ve associated you with being helpful.
The third part is fairly straightforward if you’ve been following along. Assuming you’re posting insightful comments, then attaining SEO isn’t difficult. The key is to actually use your real name in the post. According to Tommy Landry of SocialMediaToday.com, this will actually prevent you from being labeled as a spammer by Google, and even get you past apps like Akismet.
If you are able to avoid the blacklist, then you will have essentially built yourself a working backlink – and you did so for free, having taken only moments. If you do this regularly, the backlinks will begin to add up quickly and achieving SEO momentum is only a matter of time.
That’s why commenting can be such a traffic driver: because you cover several aspects of effective online marketing in one single act. Commenting not only makes you an integral part of the community, but if done properly, you will start seeing hefty traffic flow from them on your analytics dashboard.
Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dharmasphere/20993325/