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Comment Marketing 101

Posted By Guest Blogger 24th of July 2012 Blog Promotion 0 Comments

This guest post is by Slavko Desik of LifestyleUpdated.

Trying to understand the ways to get more traffic to your site, or even get some backlinks, you’ve probably stumbled across comment marketing.

And correct me if I’m wrong, but the first thing you probably hoped to get out of it was some links (even though most of them “nofollow”, hoping that it will still somehow boost your ranking), and also maybe get some traffic while making the blogger notice you.

Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but this is the wrong way to go.

So what are the basic benefits of comment marketing, and what should you aim to get out of it on the long term?

The benefits of comment marketing

Once you have a deep understanding of the benefits you can get from leaving comments on other blogs, you can learn the right approach to doing so. Let’s look at each of the benefits now.

Make yourself an authority in the field

The first thing that comes to mind when you’re thinking about how you can present yourself as someone who knows your niche, is to leave comments on other blogs that serve that same niche. The only way to make this happen is to leave good, structured comments that add value to the discussion.

Forget about writing “Great post”, or “I completely agree”. You are putting your name out there, so you’ll want to make every comment count. That way, you will grab the attention of those who are really interested in whatever goes in your niche. And those people are usually the key players now, or will be so in the future.

Grab the attention of the blogger

That’s probably one of your main goals here, right? I mean, you probably wouldn’t be leaving your opinion on another blog post if it wasn’t at all important to you. And leaving a comment that adds value to the discussion is the right way to do it.

You can either agree with what the blogger’s is saying, and offer some of your own similar views on the matter, or you can take a different side (something that is highly recommended if you want to grab the attention) with arguments that support your claims.

The word “arguments” is very important here. You can also grab the blogger’s attention by being offensive, or offering some highly subjective opinion—sure. But you probably won’t achieve any of the other benefits listed here if you take that approach. If you disagree with the points made in the post you’re commenting on, make sure to say that in a dignified, respectful way by offering strong objective facts that support your view on the matter.

In any case, if your comment’s strong, you will probably eventually spark a conversation between yourself and the blogger, so be sure to check back on the post after you submit a comment. Most of the comment systems nowadays have optional subscription for replies, but even if the blog doesn’t, you’ll want to return to the post to check out the replies and other new comments.

Making connections

It’s really a no-brainer when you understand the points above, but making those connections with the blogger, as well as the other readers, is so important that it must be mentioned separately.

Connect not only with the influential people in blogs’ comment sections, but also give your attention to those who are new, and not that experienced in the niche. Because note this: Your blogging peers now may one day grow to become A-list players in your niche.

Also, the “natural link building” which is so many times mentioned as the ideal way to gain backlinks, is not so “natural.” If you check the link profiles of some of the most authoritative sites in your niche, you will surely find that a large amount of links come from sites that are very well connected with the sites that they link to. By making connections with other bloggers, you’re passively attracting future links from them.

Just ask yourself who you would rather link to: a person you know pretty well, a person whose blog you love responding to and leaving comments at, or a person you don’t know anything about? The answer is pretty obvious!

Gain some search rank juice

This takes is such a small consideration in light of all the reasons why you should leave comments on sites, that I’m not sure if it’s worth mentioning. But here it is anyway.

If you’re thinking about boosting your site’s backlink count—and thereby search rank—by leaving comments on blogs, you’re probably hoping to find those blogs that allow “dofollow” links back to your site. So you go over there, write a sentence—or maybe two if you are in the mood, pack your name rich with keywords that you are hoping to rank for, and hope for the best.

Sound familiar? It’s all right—many, if not all, bloggers go through this stage at one point or another. However, the link value that’s passed even through those “dofollow” links is almost not worth mentioning at all compared to other methods of link building (and of course there’s none available through “nofollow” links).

On the other hand, if you leave blog comments under a name that’s rich with keywords, chances are that search algorithm updates like Penguin will make sure to greet you appropriately—that is, by penalizing your blog to some extent.

I should probably mention that there are still some sites in some niches that rank or ranked pretty well using this gray-hat SEO strategy in the short term, but it’s just not a viable long-term solution for your brand or your blog. Also by doing that, you’re just begging to be outed by someone out there.

Familiarize people with your brand and yourself

This point is similar to the first, except that this one deals with making a positive impression whenever someone sees you and recognizes your brand anywhere online. That’s why I strongly recommend having only one name, and one avatar associated with all comments you leave. Choose whether this will be your own name, some nickname you go by, your secret ‘net alias—whatever, as long as it’s something you feel comfortable with.

It’s widely accepted that the best option is to use your real name and your headshot, but you should probably decide for yourself. The thing is that this is how people will recognize you, so once you decide, it’s better to stick with the name and image you’ve chosen than to change these details.

For that reason, be sure to choose the picture carefully. You will be surprised how important this is—even at such a low resolution. Choose a professional-looking picture, and try to make a positive impression by smiling. Using Gravatar is a great way to make sure your picture is the same all over the web. This can go long way to build that trust and connection with people.

Get traffic from the other blogs, and expose yourself to a broader audience

Each time you leave a comment, make sure you include a working link back to your site. Remember, the better you fulfil the ideas we spoke about above, the greater the chance someone will click your name, and visit your blog.

I’ve heard that the commenters that get most clicks are those who leave the first few comments. You can also achieve higher CTR by leaving responses in which you (respectfully) disagree with the author—this will surely attract some attention, but you’ll have to make sure that the facts are on your side.

Guest posting opportunities

In some ways, this benefit is closely connected with the second one: grabbing the blogger’s attention. But the thing here is to consistently add value to the discussion over a longer period of time. That way, you’re sure that the connection you are building with the blogger is going in the right direction, and the chances of having a guest post offer accepted are bigger, and more real.

Using the same name and picture each time you comment should help here, because it increases your chances to be noticed by the author. That said, do should consider the number of comments on the page and the response rate of the author. If you’re commenting on a site that has a few hundred comments on every post, it’ll take eternity to get yourself noticed. By the same logic, a site on which there are a smaller number of comments, but where the author is not even willing to spend time responding to them is also a site in which you would have a hard time making yourself stand out from the crowd.

Comment marketing in practice

Building a brand and developing your persona as an expert in your field takes a lot of time, but knowing how to make the most out of the commenting opportunities on other blogs is going to help you a lot.

What are your practices when it comes to leaving comments, or better yet, have you had some experience from the other side of the fence, in the comment section of your own blog? Maybe you have some tips you want to share too. Be our guest, the comment section is right below!

Slavko Desik is writer and editor at LifestyleUpdated where he tries to blend together his passion for living full time with his knowledge and passion for blogging. Find Slavko on Google+ or the official Facebook Page.

About Guest Blogger
This post was written by a guest contributor. Please see their details in the post above.
  1. Blog commenting is all about getting involved, and getting noticed by others in your niche. Leaving sub-par comments just to get a backlink is almost worthless in a sense. It’s way more beneficial to add something of value to the discussion. Like you said, you will make new connections with other bloggers, and help to gain credibility and authority in your niche. It just makes sense.

  2. These tips may seem fairly basic, but I would have never given any thought to keeping a consistent image as far as avatars go. This is a small, genius way to slowly develop your personal brand! Thanks for the unconventional tip; they are always appreciated! Now to find a somewhat flattering image I wouldn’t mind constantly seeing day-to-day!

    • You are right Brittany. These tips even though seeming fairly basic, are indeed the details that make a lot of difference. Since I started understanding comment marketing as the way I described it above, I noticed a huge difference even by tweaking my comments and the way I leave them just a bit.

  3. As a blogger, I would like to reiterate the value of adding your email or URL to the comment. I’ve had instances in which I would like to continue the conversation with the commenter but have no way to contact them.

  4. Once a month, I’ll take a good look at my google analytics and look at the traffic that has come from comments, and see which sites are sending the highest quality traffic (as in low bounce rate, high pages/visit, time on site, etc.).

    I can then focus a bit more time on those sites and put a little more effort into the discussion.

    At some point, I’ll probably also test out different comment lengths or how much of a difference it makes to have discussion opening comment vs. responding to another commenter.

    Aside from the benefits you’ve mentioned, I’ve noticed that when I spend a little time forming a thoughtful response, I get more out of the post than I would have otherwise.

    • Testing the length has only occurred to me briefly, and I never gave it a further thought. I will try now though. Thanks for the tip Graham. This is a classic way of leaving a well structured and value adding comment.

      • So far, I’ve found that short, high value comments get the best response. (keep in mind, this is an n=1 experiment of only a few days, but that’s what I’ve seen so far).

        From personal experience, I tend to skip over the long, drawn out comments, much like I skip over huge bodies of text on a blog that have no formatting or attention grabbing headlines.

  5. Wow, perfect timing with this post. I’ve made my first few attempts at comment marketing over the last few days I am guilty of many of the mistakes listed above!

    Besides an “argument” what are some other creative ways to engage the blogger? What’s the optimal comment length? Too short an you may lose respect, too long and people may not read it.


    • It’s all experimenting, as Graham said, but also knowing the blog you are visiting has some part to play too. Every blog and every author is a different story.

  6. What? No one else has commented yet? Well here I am! Thanks for putting this post together. As a new blogger I often struggle with comment etiquette. What should I say, is it okay to disagree, am I expected to reply to every comment – even the ones that say Nice post or I like it! I’ve tried to strike a balance and it seems to be working – be polite, if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. I reply when asked a question or if someone says something interesting or helpful. When I get a lot of Nice Post comments I usually will do a reply that’s aimed at the group and say thanks glad you liked it. Your post today confirms that I’m on the right track – although I still have much to learn. Thanks, nice post!

    • I too sometimes avoid answering on comments that only give compliments. Saying thanks to the group is a nice way to do it, but sometimes I do get carried away and start typing: “thanks, thanks, thanks…”

  7. Well explained sir, there is certainly more to commenting than the small link benefits or the few clicks you get. Of course it’s easier to just start the software and bomb a couple of thousands sites with the same spam msg. But this is the only way to go if you’re seeking a long term benefits from it.

    Speaking about it, going to see what kind of spam i got today. There can be some innovative ones. :)

    • Comment marketing is an integrated part in internet marketing. Therefore, understanding your IM strategy on the start will make quite easier for you to plan your comment marketing strategy. It’s as you say a relationship building thing, that stretches on the long run.

  8. Oh Slavko! you just broke my heart by telling me about for comments. Its like telling a kid there’s no Santa. And here I was commenting all over the blogosphere thinking search engine will like me better. My fingers thank you though. However I do try to leave relevant, quality comments these days. Some things that have been useful in my experience:

    -Some days when I add a link to one of my posts, with an explanation of why its relevant and whats there, I get some traffic from that website to my blog. It varies wildly, but if the website is really popular, the number of visitors sometimes surprise me.

    -Yes some of my comments did start a dialogue with some very popular bloggers. Specially if they answered one of their queries or solved one of their problems. Like there was this blogger who asked if we would like to see any changes to her blog design and I commented pointing out a pop-up ad she didn’t know about. She emailed and talked to me about it.

    • I’m glad Anshu.
      Leaving links in the comments is a picky thing nowadays, since spammers overused and ruined that practice. However, if a link is relevant to what is discussed, and adds value, than by all means it’s place is justified.

  9. oops I guess my word was taken for an html tag, my first line should read as:
    Oh Slavko! you just broke my heart by telling me about ‘nofollow’ for comments.

  10. Commenting on other blogs with serious comments can indeed be a boon. I’ve pulled in quite a bit of attention to my own blog by commenting on other’s comics and illustration blogs.

    I couldn’t agree more that it’s about human connections. You aren’t trying to sell yourself and/or your product to machines – you’re trying to do this with human beings. The more you come off as being a living breathing person rather than a mindless bot that says “buy my stuff”, the better you do.

    • Certainly Max. And that’s why a person without a passion for the thing he writes about is better off staying away from commenting in the first place.

  11. This is my favorite kind of marketing simply because I learn so much by reading other blogs. I’ve been advised to stay within my niche, but I think dog lovers are everywhere so although I follow many dog blogs, I follow many more that are just around my interests.

    Thanks for sharing the value of commenting!


    • You can always learn something. I started with a passion for all things fitness and health, but over time I guess I got carried away with other niches as well. Internet marketing fascinates me, and building relationships with people too. Oh, I’m also a dog lover. I have a four year old Siberian Husky, and at the moment of writing this, he is getting crankier by the second.

  12. Slavko,

    Thanks for the timely post. I was making many of the mistakes you just listed. One thing I’ve had success with is posting a comment and then introducing myself to the author via twitter or a quick email. The next time I comment on a post, they are much more likely to remember me and engage.

  13. I need to say, as a great deal as I enjoyed reading what you had to say, I couldnt assist but lose track of time following a while.

  14. Excellent post with perfect timing. I am teaching my University of Nevada Reno class on social business the value of commenting on blogs tonight, and this appeared in my RSS reader. Love it. Leaving comments is a powerful way to signal and connect to others in our value stream. Keep up the great work.

  15. Hi Slavko,

    Make impacts with each comment. Add value to posts. Become memorable. Follow these tips and you drive traffic to your website with commenting. Awesome points here.

    Leave your opinion. Drive traffic. Simple. No drive-by’s; make an impact with each comment. Be mindful. Take your time. A value-packed comment on an authority blog might drive 30 new visitors to your website while 30 mindless, 3 word comments on low authority blogs drive 5 people to your site.

    Save yourself time. Effective acts count most. Leverage. Prosper.

    Thanks Slavko!


    • Thanks Ryan.
      If you don’t mind, I will just mention you in the context of a perfect example of the things I wrote about on how to leave an impression and be recognized via comment marketing. You have your avatar picture and name anywhere you go to comment, as well as a recognizable polite way of agreeing or disagreeing. There is no reader on Problogger that comes often and doesn’t recognize you. That is a perfect example that these things really work. And what is more important the connection you make is genuine and sincere.
      Thanks for commenting.

  16. I suppose a post like this deserves a comment. So there!

  17. I like to actually contribute in the comments and not give this common, generic reply: “Great Post!”

    Someimtes it’s hard, especially when someone has covered everything and actually blew me away with a post.

    • I agree Braden. Sometimes I can sit there for 5 minutes or so trying to think of something constructive to say other than “great post” or words to that effect.

      This is a prime example of one! Splendid post Slavko!

      • Thanks my friends. The think is that it’s quite ok to leave such a comment. Sometimes it’s natural to be blown away by a post and just want to say “thanks for the time writing it”. When this repeats a lot, then it doesn’t seem too natural, and even real. Oh, and I’m glad you liked it.

      • Thanks my friends. The thing is that it’s quite ok to leave such a comment. Sometimes it’s natural to be blown away by a post and just want to say “thanks for the time writing it”. When this repeats a lot, then it doesn’t seem too natural, and even real. Oh, and I’m glad you liked it.

  18. This article is very informative, and it helps me to get an idea.


  19. Comment marketing is one of my favorite way to make connection with other bloggers and on same I also get some backlinks, but most time I comment on those blogs which has CommentLuv plugin enabled.

    • Nice to see you here Ehsan.
      Comment Luv doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s about the link. It can mean that commenting is well received, and even encouraged to an extent.

  20. Thanks a lot for imparting this interesting post. I totally agree that traffic in your website or blog is very important to create more income to the marketer. Great execution of ideas. Good job!

  21. Thanks for these. I know them in principle, but sometimes am in so much of a hurry when it comes to commenting (I’m usually commenting on my favourite blogs in a particular niche on the same day), I try to get in read the post, then comment – using my time as efficiently as possible. I have to re-think this, so thanks for the reminder.

    It can be difficult when you have blogs in different niches and are working to comment on similar sites around the Internet.It’s very easy to just dive in and ‘get the job done’ so to speak.

    I have a question – what advice do you have for leaving comments on a blog such as this one where comments are rarely (if ever) answered. How do you propose getting your comments noticed after following all of the above tips? I’m really not trying to be factitious. I’m asking a genuine question. :-)

    • Reading a lot of blogs only makes the task harder. But try and leave the comments only on sites that you enjoy reading and where a certain number of your niche audience might hang out.

      Regarding the question you asked, try this: Leave comments as a reply to other fellow bloggers that write in the comment section. The thing I said about peer bloggers and how they may becoming the A-list players one day. In that fashion, try and connect with them, by replying to some.

  22. One of my blogger friends likes to say, “The art of blogging IS the art of commenting.”

    Certainly, when you are running a small, hobbyist blog, you will naturally tend to make connections with the same, even though your topics may differ greatly. Certainly, a nice, thoughtful comment here and there has helped others find me, and it is a way I find others.

    But sure, I’m always hoping to come to the attention of a big, A-List blogger. The biggest stat spikes I’ve ever seen have come from links from high traffic site—not because of the link in the comment, but because I got mentioned or promoted by someone with influence. And how do they find you? By your comments.

    Even so, let’s not forget: Commenting (and getting comments) is FUN!

    That last reason is good enough for me.

  23. So good to see people steering away from the “link” aspect, and looking more heavily at the “engagement” side of things.

    As an avid reader of articles/posts/pages – I’m so tired of seeing one-liners or “great post” comments,
    sometimes with a URL slapped in for good measure.

    People don’t seem to realise it makes them look spammy – it reduces trust, degrades image/perception, and generally makes you look like an amature.

    Where as comment that actually covers the points, presents new thoughts, challenges the perception;
    these are things that will often get interest, build perceptions and obtain traffic.

    As for the follow/nofollow – there are various comment systems out there that will permit followable links if the commenter is trusted.
    You can earn a weighted link by making solid contributions, where as spamming will likely get it removed and the chance lost.

    • Since Google is improving in the way of user friendliness, there is no point in chasing those links. They will sure get reduced in value over time, so it is pointless anyway. Building your brand and name is a different story though.

  24. These Trips are really great for a beginner who are writing comments on the blogs. The person commenting on a blog should not only stick to his or name but should remember that the comments should be valuable enough related to the content being mentioned in the blog. Back links are gained only if the comments made by people are good enough and are related to the subject.

  25. Commenting can be very tedious, but I find it a great way to add your information to relative blogs. Thanks for the information!

  26. There’s no doubt making comments which add real value to the posts content and help readers even more than the post itself bring in regular traffic to your site.

    It also adds more useful content to the post you leave the comment on which increase’s the value of that posts ranking in the search engines as well so its a win win.

    Checking your stats you’ll see the referral source proves this.

    If you have already written a post on the same subject and fully understand exactly what the writer is on about then its a great opportunity to share your experience.

    Constructive debate is also valuable yet it seems most comments are full of praise and many bloggers still refrain from adding anything that’s remotely negative.

    Its also a shame some bloggers choose to turn off comments after 14 days rather than find a better way to manage them.

    There’s no such thing as the perfect post.

    Are you really speaking your mind and putting all your cards on the table when you comment?

    Like Brian Clarke once stated, “we’ve all got a built in B**L S**T detector” so its best to keep it real.

    • When you put it that way Brad, things make a lot of sense. Since there is no such thing as the perfect post, there is much thought to be put into commenting on other related sites. Even better if they allow a way for you to exploit your idea, which you never put into your post at the first place.

  27. All excellent points. When people leave meaningless comments on every site out there, they are not building an audience for their site as they intended. Also, good point about deciding which links to highlight on your site. I see so many beginners who only link to the 5 biggest sites in their niche – those sites are never even going to acknowledge their existence! Better to link to some others who are just starting out or who aren’t as popular but offer great content.

    • That’s right Scott, exactly what I’ve been talking about when I said connect with your blogging peers, since they will one day grow to become the A-list players.

  28. We have been using comment marketing for our own efforts and those of our tax accounting clients. The results have been phenomenal. Professional service firms can get the fastest benefits. This is especially true for local firms. Your section on disagreeing is something that really gets the conversation going.

    Here are some tips we use for our CPA and tax professional clients.

  29. If you are going to do something, do it right! Comments are your chance to get yourself branded. You want to be a friendly, familiar face. People need to know who you are. Comments are often a step in the know, like, and trust steps of monetizing your blog.

    As a commenter, you generally want to brand yourself as an intelligent, nice, and well-spoken person. People will want to get to know you if you can display those qualities. Mentioning an area of disagreement tactfully is certainly a step in opening a dialogue; I have had success with that method. But tact, as opposed to a brazen—you’re wrong! approach is necessary.

    And now Slavko, I am going to do what you told me not to do. You are absolutely right. The “great post” and “I agree” flyby comments will brand you…..as a simpleton.

    • Yes David, comments are the best way to make yourself an authority within a given niche. People start to take you as the expert you present yourself to be.

  30. Great post, I completely agree!

  31. I think that commenting is a great way to help develop your writing skills. My incentive for having a blog is to express my thoughts on subjects that interest me, and hopefully others will find them interesting.

    I’ve noticed that some blogs will delete any hyperlinks to your own site in their comments, what is the accepted way to add your website link?

    My blog has multiple subjects, Beatles Memorabilia, Travel, I-Phone Apps reviews, and more. Should I have separate blogs for each of these topics?

    • Micro niches are the best thing if you ask me. But you must be an expert though. The more you develop your knowledge within a niche, no matter how broad it is, the bigger the chances that you will successfully handle a smaller niche. As with regard t the writing skills, you cannot be more on the spot. Writing those articles is one thing, and having your arguments challenged, is completely another.

  32. Agree to the things being mentioned above. Blog are the best ways to come in notice of the market audience and doing blogging to gain a back link is so worth doing it.

  33. Good idea with the avatar, I’m going to start doing that straight after this comment. I think people underestimate the power of blog commenting to be honest.

  34. Thanks for the info! I’m just starting out as an affiliate marketer and this post was very useful 8)

  35. I’m glad I came about this post. I agree that Gravatar is a wonderful way to increase personal branding, along with always using the same name or alias – it’s just like a woman wearing the same perfume every day (there’s personal branding for you!)

    The past few days, I’ve seen that the majority of blogs and social bookmarking websites have turned their links to nofollow ones. Opinions vary on what, if any, link juice or value nofollow links give, but you’ll get a shot at personal branding and traffic, provided your comments are interesting, like you mention!

    Plus, what with Penguin and all, spamming comments left and right on just any blog will most likely screw up your PageRank, right?

    • Exactly Goomena. Comments are way more than just link juice or any other obvious direct benefit. They are more of a long term strategy if you ask me. And by the way great analogy between the perfume and Gravatar :)

      As for ruining your PR in the future- of course. The things that we now consider to be black hat or even grey hat, as some like to call them ( practices not entirely labeled as white hat), will for sure come back and bite us from behind, since Google and all the other search engines are becoming more user friendly and sophisticated by the day.

  36. Excellently put together how-to article about blog commenting best practices Slavko. Bookmarking this as the best place to send everyone who asks me questions about this topic!

  37. Guest blogging is the interactive version of article marketing. You create some content to be published at another site and get some links, audience, attention, etc and build relationships and network with others and probably attract potential clients. Very little of this could have been done before web 2.0. I think no matter which level we are at our niches, all of us should take this initiative more seriously.

    Rahman Mehraby
    TraveList Marketing Blog

  38. of course like your web-site however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth on the other hand I’ll definitely come again again.

  39. You understand therefore significantly with regards to this matter, produced me individually consider it from a lot of various angles. Its like women and men aren’t involved unless it’s something to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. Always maintain it up!

  40. I wouldn’t rule out nofollow comment sites in your niche ok your now gona get the link juice for the keyword but allot of traffic can still come from no follow comment sites

  41. Great write-up, I am normal visitor of one’s web site, maintain up the nice operate, and It is going to be a regular visitor for a long time.

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