Chris Garret asked Is it OK to Leave Links in Comments? earlier today. Chris was inspired to write his post by a question raised about the etiquette of posting links in blog comments on the Authority Blogger Forum. And as it happens that the forum thread was started by none other than Khalid who is a frequent commenter here it only seemed right to attempt an answer. Is it ok to leave links in blog comments? I think so, but with certain caveats.
I haven’t left many links in comments myself and I admit the few times I have I felt somewhat guilty about it. In every case there was an uneasy feeling as I clicked the submit button on the comment.
The guilty feeling used to keep me from leaving the links. However after reading a post at SEO Book where Aaron said
One of the biggest differences between top earners and those just getting by is a lack of shame … a willingness to ask for favor after favor.
If you do not have much of a brand you can’t be risk adverse if you are hoping to build a brand or exposure. Shame is for sissies.
Aaron was talking about sending emails in search of links and not specifically blog comments when he made the above comments, but I started thinking there was nothing wrong with being more aggressive in marketing and some of that earlier guilt about leaving links in comments went away. Enough at least to let me leave an occasional link in a blog comment.
I had my first chance to test that slightly new aggressiveness on SEO Book itself when Aaron posted Get Your Blog Out of Google’s Supplemental Result Hell. Aaron’s post seemed highly relevant to my Problems With WordPress Posts Going Supplemental In Google’s Index and I left a link.
That link has been sending consistent traffic to my post ever since.
If you read my comment on Aaron’s blog you’ll notice I didn’t link and run. I left what I think was a helpful comment and actually provided the gist of my post and the essential information on Aaron’s post. I even apologized for leaving the link and mentioned to Aaron if he felt it was inappropriate to remove the link.
I stayed with the discussion attempting to help another commenter. While I did leave a link, I think it’s obvious I was there for more than just the link. It was also not the first comment I left on SEO Book.
Suggestions For Leaving Comment Links
As with most things in life there’s a right way and a wrong way to leave links in blog comments. And if you link the right way bloggers will probably leave your link and it may drive some traffic to your site. If you’re going to add a link in a comment here are some dos and don’ts in no particular order.
- Don’t have it be in your first comment on the blog
- Do add value to the post with your comment
- Do make sure your post is relevant to the one you’re commenting on
- Do acknowledge that the link points back to your site
- Don’t optimize the anchor text
- Don’t make your link the point of the comment
- Do summarize the content you’re linking to and leave the link for people who want more information
- Don’t link too often on any one blog
- Don’t leave a lot of links in a single comment
- Do spend time getting to know the community of commenters to see what is and isn’t accepted prior to leaving your link
- Do know the blogger well enough to know whether leaving a link is ok with them
If the blog has a commenting policy by all means look through that first before even thinking about adding a link in your comment. The basic idea is to show respect for the blog, the blogger, and the community around the blog. If you do that then you should be alright in adding a link to your comments. Remember that blogs are conversations and anything that adds to the conversation is usually good.
To get more traffic from the link you’d want to follow some of the general rules for commenting. You’ll get more traffic from a link on a popular blog and you’ll get more traffic the closer you are to the first person commenting. The more meaningful your comment the more chance someone will click. The more familiar the community is with you in general the more likely someone will follow your link.
Can You Leave A Link Here?
I think you can guess that the answer is yes if you follow the points above and show respect for me, the blog, and those who comment here. If you don’t show respect your comment will be deleted. If you show respect and I think the link points to something germane to the post I’ll leave it as a resource for more information.
My policy is to give the benefit of the doubt, but I can be quick to delete comments if I think you’re only trying to promote yourself. Take a moment or two to add even a little to the discussion and the link will likely stay.
Do you leave links when you comment? If so, how often? If not, why not? Do you think comment links are spammy? Always? Sometimes? Did I miss anything when it comes to the etiquette of leaving comment links? How do you feel about people leaving links in comments on your blog?