Every person who runs a WordPress blog shares a common frustration. Your articles should trigger a lively discussion, and an engaging comment thread with meaningful and intelligent discourse that brings in thought leaders with interesting things that add value to the original piece. But more often than not, you get a hundred generic posts from people who have obviously not read the article, which say something trite and meaningless like “Great post! I’m going to take your advice,” with a link back to a site that sells fake Viagra.
It is beyond comprehension that people actually think that works as an SEO tactic.
The strategy is cheap, easy and mechanical. A low-budget webpreneur contracts with an SEO consultant, often offshore, for a hundred or so dollars a month, who then promises to deliver backlinks on high-profile sites. The contractor, rather than searching for meaningful entries to responses that pertain to their client, has a spreadsheet full of generic responses, which are attached to articles to which comments are enabled, regardless of the website or topic. There is no meaning, no creativity and no insight involved, and no attempt at real marketing. And of course, there’s the downside of the very real possibility that people will see your website link attached to one of these nonsense responses, and then your potential customers will wonder if your company is run by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.
A linkbuilding strategy which uses article commenting as a primary tactic – especially if those comments are generic – may easily be seen by Google as a link scheme, and you will be penalized, especially if a large percentage of your backlinks come from comment threads. If you are doing linkbuilding through article commenting, keep the comments relevant and meaningful, use your real name to gain credibility, and keep it down to under 20 percent of your total backlink initiative.
Article commenting – if it is done from a position of adding value to the article – can be a good addition to your SEO strategy. One of the best examples is on RetailWire. Their “Brain Trust” of readers are people who have been approved and are featured on the site, and they offer meaty comments that truly add to the discussion. Look for sites like this where you can actually become a trusted member of the readership, whose opinions are sought out. Of course, if you’re engaging an agency to handle this for you, it will be more expensive, because you’ll have to hire somebody who has a deep understanding of your business and your industry to craft responses on your behalf. The hundred-dollar-a-month SEO scammers would never get approved to post on a site like this.