This post reveals one of our favorite techniques for discovering social comment marketing opportunities. When done responsibly, comment marketing on blogs and other social channels isn’t just an opportunity to create value for your brand. It’s also an opportunity to posit yourself as an expert in your niche while earning a contextually relevant link back to your own authoritative content.
Obviously, we don’t advocate spammy SEO tactics. Comment marketing should do more than create value for you. It should also add value to the users of the site you’re engaging with. So before we get into technical details, here are two questions you should ask yourself before you engage: (1) Is my comment adding value? (2) Am I really engaging in a social activity? If the answer is yes, then you’re probably adding value. For more guidance, we highly recommend Rand Fishkin’s guidelines for comment marketing on the SEOmoz blog.
Finding relevant blogs that invite you to join the conversation can actually be time consuming. But you can save a great deal of time by using specific Google search query modifers. The less time you have to spend searching for blogs that allow comments, the more time you will have to write valuable, thought-provoking comments.
Link Building: Think Big, Start Small
Obviously, links from sites such as Harvard.edu or Microsoft.com would add the most value. However, acquiring links with that level of authority can often require significant time and resources such as an outstanding media item, a formal business partnership, or business connections or within those institutions. We recommend that you view high authority links as part of your long-term SEO strategy, but you don’t have to wait for them. In the meantime, the blogosphere is full of sites that cater to your niche. Many smaller blogs have extremely active and engaged audiences. By providing them with enticing comments, you can not only draw traffic to your site, but you also can draw qualified, engaged traffic.
How to Find Blogs that Accept Comments
After you have figured out your target niche or niches, make a list of high volume keywords that are relevant to each. Once you decide on a keyword, our favorite technique is to couple that keyword with terms that are specific to blogs that accept comments and allow a fully qualified URL back to your domain. Beware that this technique won’t guarantee a site doesn’t use “nofollow” code around its links, but this shouldn’t deter you. Studies show that a healthy portoflio contains both nofollow and do-follow links.
Here’s a query that we have used to find blogs that accept links:
“Keyword(s)” +”(URLs automatically linked.)”
Since Google indexes the text on the post footer region that shows “URLs automatically linked,” the results will bring pages that will likely accept your links. At this point, scrolling to the bottom of any of the links that appear in your search engine results page should provide you an open comment area, as well as one that accepts a fully qualified URL. This technique is a real time-saver.
But, as Chef Emeril Legasse would say, “Let’s take it up a notch!” Some of the results require moderation before your comment will posted. While moderated blogs are a great way to filter out spammy comments, it’s safe to assume that your comments will not be indexed as quickly on moderated blogs. If you are in a hurry to prove SEO ROI, it might behoove you to start with blogs that don’t require moderation. But remember, leave comments that enhance the blog’s social experience. To avoid moderated blogs simply add a:
to the previous search query.
Voilà! We’ve noticed this technique worked particularly well with Typepad blogs. Obviously, different blog software show different footer text based on their templates, so you may wish to explore – or make notes of other relevant phrases that you can add to your query repertoire.
Another useful modifier that will narrow the results is:
-”The comments to this entry are closed”
Turn it up to 11 – Diagnosing Site Authority from Google Results
There are a several browser add-ons that will show useful data for every listing on a Google SERP. Couple the above query filters with the ability to see these metrics and you can quickly pick and choose which results are ‘most worthy’ of your time. Two add-ons that we’ve found to work exceptionally well are SEOQuake and SEOBOOK’s SEO for Firefox. Basically, they show a listing’s backlinks, PageRank, Alexa Score, Compete Score inline with the result set:
Placing Anchor Text Links on WordPress
Lastly, here’s a particularly interesting query for those of you who want to place anchor text links on WordPress blogs:
This will help you eliminate posts that are no longer open for conversation.
Query modifiers are an excellent way to save you time finding the blogs that fit best into your link building strategy. These query modifiers are an excellent way to save time finding the best blogs for you to engage with. When done correctly, comment marketing is a great way to not only add value to conversations in your niche, but also build links back to your own valuable content.
Best of luck, and happy link building!