Do Follow

Have you ever thought about using blog commenting as a way of generating links to your Web site?

You might think that it's relatively easy to go to any number of blogs and simply write a quick comment with a link to your Web site. This actually used to be the case. Consequently, blogs were often inundated with tons of blog comment spam.

To counteract this, most bloggers have made all comments "no follow." This means that, even though you can put a link in your comment on a blog, the link is given no weight by the search engines.

As an example, WordPress blogs default to all comments being "no follow." So if you install a WordPress blog and don't make any modifications, any links people post in your comments section won't get any value from a search engine perspective.

This often doesn't matter. A blog that is well read and commented on often will generate a nice amount of traffic for you. This is only the case if you add relevant, on-topic comments to the blog post.

Any links you put in these comments must be valuable and useful to the readers. Simply spamming the comments of blogs will generate nothing for you and will probably get you banned from commenting on that blog again.

But there are also blogs that aren't "no follow." The comment links pass all weight given to them on that page. These blogs generate traffic to your site by the readers of the blog, and can also give you some extra value in the eyes of the search engines.

Some directories actually have been created that promote these kind of "do follow" blogs. This has all actually become a bit of a movement.

Google invented "no follow" to help bloggers counteract spam in 2005. This was significantly helpful in cutting down on blog comment spam. However, it also negatively impacted legitimate comment links from getting any credit as far as the search engines are concerned.

So, if you're looking to generate links that help you in the search engines by participating in blog comments, look at some of these "do follow" blog directories. There is also a handy way of seeing which blogs are "do follow" or "no follow" using a Firefox Web browser add-on.

Matt Cutts, the Google engineer, posted about this capability, which also dates back to 2005. However, it still works well and can be extremely eye-opening as to what links are "do follow" or "no follow."

For example, comments in "The New York Times" appear to be "do follow." People utilize this regularly.

Look at regular "The New York Times" commenter D. Gundun. While the links to his blog don't work on this page, they all work in the comments of the actual article he participates in. Further, we can see that Google is referencing these comments (and comments he does at other periodicals) by looking at what links Google gives him credit for.

Google won't show us all the links they have on record for his blog, but Google clearly indexes and follows the links he has put in the comments.

It's important to mention that his blog relates to the topic on hand. Don't spam "The New York Times" under any circumstances. However, you can offer links that are on-topic and useful.

I found this by using the Firefox add-on that shows which links are "do follow" or "no follow." Spending some time examining the capabilities of various blogs you might come across some that relate to your topic and also allow you to pass links value within your comments.

If you support this kind of thing, and you have a WordPress blog, you can add this "do follow" capability using one of these plug-ins.

If someone makes the effort of participating in your blog and offers useful information they should be rewarded for it.

What do you think?

About the author

Sage Lewis started his online marketing company, SageRock.com, in 1999 during a time when most Internet companies were failing. SageRock, however, has thrived under Lewis’ direction -- growing an average of 30% every year, while also being recognized as one of the top ten search engine optimization firms in the U.S. by a third-party resource in the industry, Marketing Sherpa.

Regarded as a web marketing expert, Lewis speaks regularly to business organizations like NEOSA and COSE, serves as a resource for press about industry trends, and teaches a recurring class on search engine optimization at Cleveland State University.

Lewis has created a unique company culture that values the individual employee and client, and he has built SageRock around one principle, “The concern, respect and empathy for the individual people we come in contact with at SageRock is our single core value.”

Lewis lives in Akron with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.

Read more of Sage Lewis's columns at ClickZ.