There’s been a lot of hype & confusion around comments, both when they occur on your own and also when you go and participate on other blogs. When it comes to enhancing your online presence with comments, the fact is there are some valuable and some not so valuable scenarios. Let’s take a look and try to reign in the value of comments some here.
For starters, let’s have a look at the different types of commentors to our own blogs.
- Itty Biz Blog’s post, “The 6 Types Of Blog Commentors – Do You Know Them?” not only defines several commentor types, but also suggests that “Before you can get more commentors, you need to understand why people comment.”
- Obviously there is machine generated comment spam, which none of us ever want, but to Itty Biz’s list we’d certainly add the human ‘commentor with an ulterior motive’ type.
- Clearly, some types add and some do not add value to the content and our overall presence online.
How about a look at the comment activity on our own blogs and whether or not it is crucial to being successful.
- Jakob Nielsen’s study suggests that 90% of onliners read, but do not comment; 9% comment some and 1% are active. Summarized, 1% of your readers will comment and the rest probably will not.
- Successful CT Realtor Realtor & Blogger Linda Davis corroborates Nielsen’s study when, on the Realtors® of Long Island Tech Fair Blogging Panel, she said, “local buyers and sellers typically search, research and then they get in touch direct via phone or email. The fact is, most consumers don’t socially network…” suggesting you don’t necessarily have to have comments in order to be a successful online marketer!
- We’d certainly agree in that, while we welcome it, we don’t get much comment activity; however, we certainly gather lots of ebook signups, meeting requests and qualified leads. Considering, comment activity may relate directly to the makeup of your target audience. Certainly, direct contact is a winning result.
Why some can justify turning their blog comments off entirely.
- Itty Biz actually turned off her comments [partly] because she says, ” Some things aren’t meant to be dialogs. I basically run a class here. Not a discussion group. I tell you the stuff that I know, and you can agree or not agree. You can follow my advice or not. You can subscribe or unsubscribe, forward links to your friends or not, come back or not come back.”
- Others like Seth Godin just don’t have the time. Judging by the trackback stream, his stance “Commenters, feel free. But not here” has been a successful strategy that saves him time and [instead of comments] generates backlinks. As always, the guy is brilliant!
- To counter those who have turned them off, BlogSavy.net in its post titled ‘Arguments for keeping comments’ suggests “there’s nothing that says interest / authority like a ton of  comments.”
- Ultimately, and even for the folks who choose to pass on a comment driven conversation, any valuable content can drive visibility. Possibly even without comments there can be success!
And then, whether or not our own comment activity [elsewhere] supports competitive rank in search engine results pages [SERPs].
- At times, the motivation to comment [ourselves] can stem from an interest in [self generated] backlinks. Unfortunately it’s mostly a waste of time because most comment links aren’t getting crawled. Many software providers including WordPress, Six Apart and Blogger have complied with Google’s no follow standard. Search Engines, including MSN, Yahoo & Ask, are also cooperating. At least they cooperate in terms of how they crawl comment links and rank content.
- SEOHosting.com suggests, “..my guess is that a lot of people are commenting for the page rank exposure. What other explanation can there be for the litany of people posting comments on a blog that has nofollow for comment links? Obviously, these aspiring marketers have no idea that their links count for nothing.”
- To counter, there are also those that encourage *good comments* including the blogs on The Do Follow List. It’s likely these all moderate their blog comments, but if you add value it’s likely they’ll be happy to have you and to honor your comment links.
- And the search engines aren’t everything. In fact, people can easily do more for you than search engines ever will. Those that see and appreciate your comments may recommend you to their friends. They may link to you for their whole audience to see or they may even call you direct to buy!
In the end if you want to improve visibility, regardless of where or how you manage your content including comments, it’s evermore apparent that your strategy must be to add the kind of content [including comments, coming or going] your target marketplace values!