A Short History of Commenting and Backlinks

comment backlinkLink building has always been an important component of SEO. Links get you higher visibility and better rankings, so naturally SEOs have devoted endless hours to developing different link building techniques.

One of the most popular ways of getting backlinks used to be posting comments. SEOs could place links in their comments on blogs or forums so that they could obtain credit for links from a wide variety of sites. However, this practice soon became worrisome, because black hat SEOs realized that you could post irrelevant links on any site you wanted.

Despite the good intentions of many white hat SEOs, building comments through links soon became a strategy that was frowned upon. Especially with the rise in comment software, any comment that contained a link began to seem spammy. Soon, commenting gained a reputation as a despicable link building practice, but many SEOs continued to use the strategy because it was so successful in building links.

The Downfall of Comment Backlinks

The launch of the Penguin and Panda algorithms and their successive updates marked the beginning of Google’s war on spam. In the post-Panda era, comment links were rendered worthless and even harmful, since Panda could identify your site and remove it from the rankings.

As SEOs have adapted to Google’s crackdown on spam, link comments have become even more detested. For white hat SEOs, building backlinks through comments is a sign that you are using underhanded techniques to promote your site. Various tools have been developed to help site owners manage and prevent spammy comments.

Reclaiming Comments

Despite the ruined reputation of comment links, commenting can still be a vital part of a healthy SEO strategy that seeks to maintain a diverse link profile. The key to using comments to build links in the post-Panda world is to focus on fostering relationship and community rather than just posting your links. So how do you build relationships?

  • Search for blogs that relate to your field of expertise. Follow them regularly so that you can engage in discussions as soon as they start. Don’t comment in order to post a link. Instead craft comments that contribute thoughtful and valuable information to the conversation. As you establish your authority on a subject, organic link building will follow.
  • Engage in discussions on forum. Again, forums are an opportunity for you to build authority so that other people in your industry respect your opinion and consequently link to your content.
  • Connect with other industry experts via social media. You will begin to build followers who will eventually share your links organically.

As you probably noticed, all of these commenting strategies require patience. Building links in a Panda-dominated world has to be an organic process. The most important thing you can do towards building organic links is to produce great content that deserves to be shared. Panda and Penguin caused a reversal in the SEO industry. Whereas early comment links were based on the supposition that links were more influential than content, Panda insists that content is king.

Do you need help creating great content as a part of your link building strategy? You might want to try using a content writing service.

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Sarah Beth

Sarah Beth Wiltse earned her BA in English at Boston University. Though she currently lives in Dallas, TX, she spent a year in Paris, France after college, cultivating her love of the French language and a passion for travelling. She has spent much of her life developing her skills in the arts, primarily as a ballerina, violinist, and pianist - and now, a writer! Follow her on Twitter!

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