Have you spent several minutes reading through a blog post you found in a Facebook group or in your Twitter feed, realized you had something valuable to contribute to the conversation the author started — and then realized you couldn't because the blog commenting feature was missing?
Why do so many website authors have comments turned off on their blogs? I asked one person in a Facebook group and she told me that a website guru was teaching new bloggers that commenting hurts SEO.
Now, I haven't been able to confirm that information, though the person named does have comments turned on at her site, so maybe it was someone else.
In any case, I am find a ton of blogs with the comments turned off, so I thought I'd set this information straight.
Blog comments are good for your website and here is why:
Blog comments build community
When your readers comment on your blog posts, converse with you and each other, they are helping you build community. This increases the value of your website and is something you should be working to foster if you're wanting to grow your online business. Just think of it like a Facebook group where the only person who can comment is the owner of the group. How is that valuable? How does that help your community encourage one another and support each other in the usage of your products or services?
If you're worried about spammers, just turn moderation on and make sure you manually approve posters until they've proven themselves valuable contributors.
Blog comments increase SEO
Imagine that you've written a blog post about your favorite WordPress plugins. And then other people read your post and add some additional plugins that work well for them. And because of the additional information that has been added by your commenters, your page ranks for the titles of those plugins as well as your keyword phrase and the titles of some of the plugins you listed.
See how that works?
Or imagine you listed the best short story anthologies to encourage mechanically inclined teenagers to read in class. Your commenters read your list and then add their own short story or anthology recommendations, including ones you'd never even heard off. Again, your post starts to rank for the titles of those stories, including ones teachers were search for in droves (but you didn't even know) during certain times of the year.
That's how comments can help your website. Don't believe me? Read this article from Search Engine Journal which addresses a question in which an author wanted to remove the blog comments from his website entirely. As Google’s John Mueller reported, removing comments could hurt a website's SEO. So it only stands to reason that not having them in the first place can prevent a website from gaining SEO.
Blog comments increase social proof
Have you ever gone to a website, read a post on a topic that interested you and when you scrolled down to the comment section discovered that people had added a ton of value there, as well? Just like in this list of short stories, where teachers added some suggestions of their own. Notice, too, that both teachers and students were very impressed by the list and appreciative of it.
That reactive provides proof that the content was valuable and, if it's on a topic you're needing more information about, it encourages you to look more deeply at the website providing the information. It shows that the author of the site may actually know what they're talking about.
It's also telling when you see the author interacting with the comments — and how the author interacts.
Blog comments can encourage backlinks
Another important element of SEO is backlinks. That's where someone from another website writes an article and links to your article or another page on your website. This happens when you provide a valuable resource — or a great discussion they want to share with their readers.
And that's not even the best part.
When you comment on other people's blog posts and leave your website address when you register to do so, you are actually leaving a backlink on their site to yours. For this to work (and to prevent getting yourself banned), make sure you are commenting on blogs that are relevant to your industry. Make sure you add value to the post that you're commenting on. For example, from our earlier plugin list example, you could write a blog comment agreeing with a particular plugin the author listed and write about how it made your blogging life easier.
This process of commenting on each other's blog posts could even lead to cross-blog conversations like the one my mentor Kelly McCausey is fostering with another mentor, Cindy Bidar.
You know, having a blog with the commenting system enabled is kind of like having a Facebook group — but on a platform you control. And if you allow people to subscribe to the comments when they leave their replies, the system will send them an email that will encourage them to return to your site (not someone else's like the social media platforms do).
Ultimately, if you are running an online business, you want your readers to return to YOUR site, not somewhere else. Comments enable you to build community on your own web property, which you control.
Don't have a website yet?
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