So, you’ve heard that your business needs to start a blog. I think that’s a good idea. There are several advantages to having a blog on your company’s website- especially from an SEO perspective.
But this is nothing new to you. You’ve read articles like this before.
Now that you have a business blog, should you allow people to make comments on your posts? It all depends on what you want to accomplish, what platform you’re using and how much time you have to maintain them.
There are a few ways that comments can help your business’ blog.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to tap into what your target market or potential customers are thinking? Perhaps you’d like to get input from people to better know how to market your products or services? Maybe you just want to create a community around your industry into which you can tap for information or generate excitement? All these can come from allowing people to comment on your blog.
Of course, this can be a little scary: what if someone criticizes your company or it’s products? Yes- that might happen. If (when) it does, wouldn’t you rather be able to know about it earlier than later? Wouldn’t you want that conversation to occur on a platform you control (such as your blog) rather than on another network (like Facebook) where it could spread outside of your control? I would. That’s one of the advantages of allowing comments on your blog.
Like I mentioned above, Google likes fresh content. I’ve heard of some SEOs who regularly return to old web pages and change a little bit just to take advantage of this phenomenon. With blog comments, you can let your website visitors do this for you. Every time they make a comment on a post, there’s something new about that web page and another reason for Google to visit it.
Unfortunately, not every comment system provides this advantage. Some comment systems do not render static content on a webpage. That means you won’t get the freshness SEO advantage from comments.
But even if we can’t get this advantage from our comments, people like fresh content. They want to know they’re getting the latest information available. Blog comments allow you to keep a blog post up-to-date by crowdsourcing the article’s content.
Some blogging systems can encourage people to share your content over their social accounts. These systems require someone own a social media account and comment using that platform. These systems also make it easy for someone to share their comment, along with your article, to their network.
Some say there are SEO advantages for your website when it’s shared over social media accounts. I’m not quite convinced. I do believe, however, that Google will personalize your search results based upon what your connections will share on their Google Plus account. Let’s say I’m looking for a new car. Let’s pretend I have a friend. Let’s say this friend likes his car dealership so much that he reviewed them on Google Plus. If this friend is connected with me via Google Plus (or even gmail) Google will be more likely to serve that car dealership to me. The same is true for the Google Plus commenting system. If someone made a comment on your blog through Google Plus, Google shares their comment on their Google Plus page. That means their contacts are more likely to see your content served-up in their search engine results. More likely- not a guarantee.
Some platforms, such as Disqus (and, more indirectly, Jetpack) can be part of a link building campaign. When a Disqus user gives a content, it creates a link from their Disqus profile to your blog. If you’re using Jetpack, on your WordPress blog you can encourage other bloggers to interact wtih your content. Although Jetpack doesn’t directly link to your content, it can help you identify other bloggers interested in your topic. This can produce opportunities to build links from other experts in your common area of interest.
Let’s not overlook the importance of internal links here. These are one of the most under-rated SEO tactics. Many blogging platforms allow you to list your most recent comments on your blog (in your footer or sidebar, for instance). When done statically, whenever someone comments on a blog post they’ve just created an internal link. Added bonus: the posts with the most comments typically get more internal links built to them, giving them added SEO bonuses.
These might all sound like wonderful advantages for your business’ blog. But your our blogging platform limits what solutions you can choose.
Most platforms have a built-in commenting system. With a built-in comment system you’ll be able to encourage interaction and freshen content. Some commenting systems will allow you to build internal links to your blog posts by providing widgets that display recent posts or most-commented posts. Some blogging platforms might have plugins to take advantage of social sharing or other benefits as well. For instance, I use a plugin on this blog to invite commenters to sign-up for my One Thing newsletter.
If that’s not what you want to gain out of blog comments you might want to turn to a third-party system to manage your blog comments.
If you’re using Blogspot/blogger.com you could use their Google Plus commenting system. This means that every time someone comments on your blog, it will appear in their Google Plus stream with a link to your post. Some say there’s an SEO advantage to sharing content on Google Plus- at least personalized search results. If you use this solution, your comments will not appear with your blog post and you’ll lose the SEO advantage from fresh content. The other disadvantage is that you’re limited to people who have Google Plus accounts.
If you’re using WordPress (whether the .com site or self-hosted) you can use Jetpack comments. This allows you to interact with other bloggers (using WordPress, at least) in your topic. This also bypasses the freshness advantage for blog comments, from an SEO perspective. Like the Google Plus comments, with Jetpack you’re limited to WordPress users, here.
You can install the Disqus commenting system on both Blogspot and WordPress sites (as well as several other platforms such as Tumblr and TypePad). For someone to use Disqus they can login using almost any social network. Of course, they’ll have to sign-up in the first place- which can be a hurdle in itself. Like the other third-party platforms, this has no SEO advantage for fresh content on your blog post.
The fact is, most of your blog comments will be spam. In fact, by mentioning blog comments and SEO in this post, I’m prepared for the bots attempting to leave comment spam on this post. Sigh. It’s frustrating. It’s a real time-waster.
Why do they do this? They’re trying to get links to their website. Most native comment systems have nofollow attributes attached to URLs in blog comments- rendering the SEO advantage from the links worthless. However, there are enough blogs without this that some thing it’s worth the effort to build links to their site.
If you’re going to allow for comments in your company’s blog, you’ll have to deal with this. Why? Two reasons. First, if your blog is full of spammy links then you’ll lose the human advantages to having blog comments in the first place. Second, Google is holding websites accountable for the places to which they link. If your blog is linking out to spammy websites, Google will consider you as such (and might even ban you).
You’re going to have to deal with blog comment spam. How much time you have to dedicate to this will affect your choice to allow comments or what comment system you’ll use.
Most people don’t. Since some of the third-party commenting platforms are better at catching spam than native platforms you should consider one of these systems. Of course, like I’ve mentioned, these have other disadvantages so you’ll have to consider what you need more.
Some native platforms have comment spam protection options. For instance, WordPress has Akismet. This does a good job preventing blog comment spam, but nothing’s perfect.
If certain advantages from blog comments outweigh the time it might take to maintain your blog comments, it might be worth it. The fact is, even if spam isn’t an issue, you’re going to need to spend time monitoring your blog comments. People might ask questions- you’ll need to answer those. Someone might complain- you’ll need to address that. The only thing worse than blog comment spam are legitimate blog comments with no interaction.
Reliable Acorn will help you create a custom digital marketing strategy that does just that.Ready to Talk?