I almost didn’t write this post because I didn’t want to sound snarky post-holidays. I finally decided to write it because I think that some small business owners may be receiving some bad advice related to leaving comments to build SEO. Worse yet, some may be paying people to do this for them.

I’ve noticed, both on my blog and some of my customers’ blogs, a rise in the number of comments left on posts that appear to be made solely for the purpose of providing a link back to the commenter’s Web site. Of course, I can only assume the intent, but since these comments tend to be very generic, unrelated to the topic of the post, and do nothing to add to the conversation, I think it’s a pretty good guess.

When talking to folks about what makes sense in social media (I include blogging in social media) I always go back to the idea that what we are talking about is conversations. Conversations that take place online. In this context, I think of the type of comments described above as “look at me” comments. It’s as if you are talking to a group of people at your local chamber event and I walked up and interrupted by yelling “hey, look at me.” People may remember me from the event, but I wasn’t networking, was I?

It’s not only that this is bad form, it’s worse. If the only reason you are leaving comments is to get a link back to your site, then you are wasting your time. If you – as a business owner – are spending marketing dollars to do this for your company, go ahead and send me the money, I will see that it is properly shredded.

Here’s why. I don’t know what the market share numbers are, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say a majority of today’s blogs are built using either WordPress, TypePad, or Blogger. WordPress and Blogger automatically flag the URL in your comment as “Nofollow”. Nofollow tells the search engine spider not to follow the link, so it might as well not be there.

TypePad uses javascript to display your comments and thereby hides them from the search engines. If you view the source of a page where you have left a comment on a TypePad blog, you won’t find your comment or your URL in the page html. So again, no Google juice for you.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that people should stop leaving comments on blogs. What I am saying is if you are leaving comments for the sole purpose of creating a link back to your Web site, then you are wasting your time.

Being part of the conversation and contributing in a meaningful way will get you noticed. Think back again to the local chamber event example. Let’s pretend I was a CPA and I walked up on your group while you were discussing a tax issue. If I listened, asked questions, and pointed out issues that you need to be aware of, you would probably think I “knew my stuff” and may seek me out to help you with future needs. The same is true with online conversations. If I see you contributing to the conversation in a meaningful way, I am likely to want to learn more about you.

Bill Brelsford is the owner of Rebar Business Builders. As an Authorized Duct Tape Marketing Coach, Bill works with professional service firms and independent professionals who want to spend less time chasing business and more time serving profitable customers.
phone: 913.962.9261
email: bill@rebarbusinessbuilders.com
web: http://www.RebarBusinessBuilders.com
blog: http://blog.rebarbusinessbuilders.com

AvatarBill Brelsford

Bill Brelsford is a Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant who specializes in creating and implementing marketing strategies for professional service firms. You can follow Bill on Twitter.