Commenting on Dofollow-Blogs as a Link Building Strategy

conversation-cool-skatkat.jpg*

Today I will write about commenting on so called dofollow-blogs and whether it makes sense as a link building strategy. Let me explain why:

No doubt the power of habit is a thing that makes you perpetrate the worst mistakes. For instance some people will vote for the same party again and again no matter what disastrous laws it will enforce. Webmasters are prone to be victims of the power of habit. The power of habit can be even inherited, then it’s called tradition. People who have never done a thing before will do what they perceive to be a habit of others.

On the Web people stick to the same habits like in the real world although the nature and rules of the Web change at an amazing pace. So many webmasters still stick to the habits of the twentieth century while we’re already 2011. One of these hopelessly outdated habits is: Search engine and directory submission.

While search engine submission is obsolete since the appearance of Google more than 10 years ago, directory submission did make some sense for a few years longer but in 2007 and 2008 Google killed off most general web directories for being too low quality.

Some directories still work but only focused niche directories have a long term future according to Matt Cutts, Google’s “head of webspam”. I do not want to write about directories this time though. I want to write about the “directory submission approach” which is very often part of the typical SEO 1.0 mindset. People just don’t get the change that took place.

Most webmasters still seemingly assume that the best way of gaining links is to submit them somewhere.

Where can you submit nowadays when directories have less and less value? You can press “submit” on blog comment forms. It looks very similar and even does not take that much time. Many people still recommend commenting on dofollow-blogs that is blogs that do not add the “nofollow” attribute to comment links.

This nofollow attribute marks those links as worthless for search engines. Especially Google discounts them. Thus many webmasters collect “dofollow blogs” where the links still count. My blog is part of several lists by now and the more popular I get via these lists the more clumsy commenters visit my blog and leave their comments here.

I have formulated quite strict instructions as to how you should comment here but many people fail to follow those simple common sense rules and get their comments removed for breaching my commenting guidelines. Also I’m amazed at how people apparently assume that blog commenting is a viable link building strategy in the first place. Why?

Dofollow links in comments get discounted as well!

It’s widely known at least since 2006 that Google knows where a link resides on a given page, whether it’s in the footer, in the sidebar or in the editorial part of a page. Also Google knows that a link is a comment link which is no wonder as most blogs out there are either Blogspot or WordPress blogs and most other platforms have a similar structure.

Not surprisingly Google assigns less value to comment links. Footer links have been devalued long ago, I think 2005 or 2006. Sidebar links have been discounted a while ago too, 2007 when the first anti link buying campaign by Google has been started.

So even if your comment link is on the same page as the high value authority link in the post your link counts much less if at all.

Watching the bizarre ways people comment for links I can only scratch my head:

  • Barely any context agreeing: “I also like SEO”
  • Bot-like flattering: “Thank you, great post”
  • Stupid questions: “What is the difference between blogs and SEO blogs?”
  • Repeating a phrase from the post or rephrasing it, sometimes ignoring the message in the post: “Dofollow blogs are great for link building”

The ways people to circumvent my guidelines are ridiculous as well.

  • Making up a keyword containing nick name like “SEO guy”: I said a name not keywords, besides, I’m the SEO guy here.

Do you really think that dropping a nonsense comment on my blog will be of advantage for you? Do you really assume that I won’t notice “solely for SEO” links as a SEO since 2004 and online publisher since 1997? At the same time I got a few real commenters, be it other bloggers or my peers from social media. Even without seeing their names I can already recognize their style of commenting:

  • It’s adding value
  • it’s conversational
  • it’s not flattery even if it’s a compliment

I check each of my comments and I visit the sites you link to.

  • I will delete links to empty pages etc.
  • I will just take a short look at the “directory submission style” comment links.
  • I will visit the pages of real commenters and read the content there
  • I will retweet your post or like your site on Facebook
  • I will bookmark or link their blog

So do you see the difference? The SEO 1.0 type commenters add no value and receive no value. The SEO 2.0 type commenters add value and get more value back. So does commenting on dofollow-blogs make sense as a link building strategy? No, it doesn’t.

Does it make sense to participate in blog discussions in the comments in order to get links and traffic? Yes, it does! In case you have some valuable content it will often end up getting a retweet to my engaged audience of more than 2k Twitter followers, a bookmark or a link.

Last updated: January 29th, 2011.

* Image: Conversation by kool skatkat.

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