Contributing without linking can be of far greater benefit to your rankings.
Usually when people think of the term ‘Comment Marketing’ they associate it with bots posting thousands of irreverent links on every blog they can find in the hope that one of them will have some weight.
Take a look at the inbound links of the websites that are dominating the most competitive keywords on the internet. You will notice that they didn’t get to where they are by buying SEO automation software and hitting GO. Their inbound links are probably coming from blogs and websites that chose to link out in a genuine effort to enhance the experience of their readers. This post is going to explain how webmasters may be looked upon more positively by the search engine gods through white hat comment marketing.
What not to do
We all see those comments that go a little something like this, “Great post! Keep up the good work. Here is my totally irrelevant link to a cheap medication website:”. In SEO, this is exactly what you do not want to do. Sure, one link may scrape through the system and have the tiniest bit of weight. But is it worth it to know that when people see your link there it has nothing to do with what they are interested in and makes your website look untrustworthy? No way. This is black hat comment marketing and it is a frowned upon by Google and internet users alike.
What you should do
There is another way to build authority by commenting on blogs and it has a far more positive effect on the way you are seen by search engines and internet users. You most likely have blogs which are related to your industry that you read frequently. Next time you read a post on one of these blogs, develop an opinion which is something other than “Good post!” and drop a comment which stirs the pot a little. Point out the things which you agree with and then point out the things which you totally disagree with (politely of course). When people see you post spam, they automatically realise you are spamming. On the other hand, when you post a comment (without a link) which initiates an interesting conversation and brings value to the users on reading blog, people think to themselves “Who is this guy?”.
On a blog which receives between zero and 10 comments per post, the admin will certainly know who you are in no time at all if you are the one pulling in the engagement on almost every single one of their posts. Depending on how note worthy your comments are, it is likely the admin will create follow up posts based on your points and could potentially link to your website as the source.
Be as helpful as you can
It is not uncommon for bloggers or a blog’s readers to mention that they wish they could find a post somewhere with some really great content in relation to a particular topic. If you know enough about that topic to help out, this is probably going to be one of your best opportunities to engage in an online community in such a way which could result in an inbound link to a post on your website.
Create the content which was requested by the community member and then send a really friendly email saying something along the line of “Hi, remember when your readers were asking for information about this topic? I wrote a post full of everything they are looking for and I was hoping you could share it with them for me.” This is a situation in which the blogger would be linking to you because they actually want to help out there readers, not because they have the auto-approve option accidentally selected in their comment settings.
The results are worth it
Sure, this tactic means that link building will take far longer than the automated solutions. But in the end, you will have a whole bunch of quality inbound links pointing to a variety of pages on your website, a positive image in the eyes of those who matter and lots of click-through traffic rather than only search referrals.
Golden rule: In search engine optimisation, there is no such thing as a shortcut. Relevancy results in great ranking and laziness results in low rankings.