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Commenting On Similarly Themed And Niched Blogs

Posted by on Aug 2, 2012
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A recommendation I see all the time by people who proclaim to teach you how to increase traffic to your blog and to get juice for your blog is through commenting; that part is actually correct. The second half of that recommendation is to only comment on blogs that talk about the same thing your blog talks about, with the expectation that people will see that who are already interested in your topic and they’ll pop over.

That sounds great in theory but I’m here to tell you that it’s kind of a fallacy in more ways than one. Yes, I’ve done an experiment and I’m here to give you some shocking results. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a research project, but at least I got paid for this one.

Let me explain. I was paid by someone to go out and visit blogs in a certain niche and then write comments under his name. This is a client for whom I’ve done work for 3 years and he’s a good guy, and of course I got paid well for it. Y’all know I’m not one of those types that will only write one line either. Since I knew his topic really well I knew that I could write comments that made sense and were on point with the niche, which is real estate.

The experiment was to write 50 comments on real estate related blogs. I could deviate as long as the topic was real estate in some fashion, which included legal and finance blogs. It took me 3 days to get this done, mainly because many sites weren’t really blogs, and some blogs didn’t accept comments. Some were only highlights of property as well; nothing to say there. I used the “blog” search feature of Google to find these blogs.

What happened? Out of 50 comments, my comment showed up 29 times; that’s it. Out of those 21 times the comment didn’t show up, 16 times no comments showed up at all, which either means no one else commented or the writer didn’t approve anyone’s comments.

Out of the 29 times that the comment I left showed up, it got a response only twice; yup, that’s it. On only 4 blogs total was there use of CommentLuv. And on one of the blogs that my comment got a comment, the guy asked a question, which I responded to and that guy responded to that comment as well.

So, what do we assume? Are these people typical bloggers, in that they don’t know what some of us consider as the rules of blogging in responding to comments? Do these people only write and not really monitor the blogs, and thus never approve any of the comments? Do these people not want someone from the same industry in their space, taking away from what they’re trying to do? Are they, in essence, blog sculpting, or just making sure their advertising is the only one, blog or not?

In the past I’ve been the lone voice that’s said commenting only on blogs whose niche or topic is the same as yours doesn’t always work. I tried in the past commenting only on leadership blogs using my business blog link and found that many of those blogs never approved my comments either, and some didn’t approve any comments. Isn’t that a strange thing to discover when it’s a business blog, and you’d think that those people would have been taught that engagement is what they’re shooting for if their blog says it’s accepting comments, unlike what Seth Godin does, which is to not accept comments at all? At least when I comment on SEO blogs and use that business blog’s account those people always respond; that’s an industry that knows better, right?

Of course, me being me, I have a secondary reason for writing this particular post. I know there are a lot of people who monitor their comments for more than just content. There are some folks who delete links from sites whose niche doesn’t correspond with their own. They do that to stay in keeping with what they believe the search engines like and don’t like. I’m not sure how true all that is, and it’s hard to discount that as working or not.

I have to say that it’s rare for me to delete links from legitimate comments, though I have done it. If there’s a link going back to something I totally disagree with I will remove the link and the “love” if you will. But most of those links come from spammers and thus it’s an easy call; that’s why it’s rare that someone who really cares writes a comment and represents something that might be sleazy or salacious or something that just irks me to no end, like “payday loans”. I don’t care where you’re coming from otherwise; if you have something to share and it’s not stupid, use your link, get your love, and hopefully you’ll come back. Who knows, we might work together in some fashion one day; that would be nice as well.

If you’ve been waiting to comment only on specific types of blogs, stop. If you feel like commenting, whether it’s highly ranked or in your niche, do it. Reciprocity works in many different ways, and you never know when you’ll meet a friend.
 

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47 Comments »

I love your sleuthing, Mitch. :-) I find so many businesses that basically have a business blog because they read or heard they should.

If they don’t understand the commitment it takes, they might as well shut it down. In fact, I think it does more harm than good for exactly the reason you write about here. If you do not respond to comments, you may not be only chasing away potential customers, but you could be starting a word of mouth campaign against your business.
Cathy Miller recently posted…Positive Persuasive Word List for Your Best Business WritingMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Cathy. I’ve had to learn some interesting lessons over the years, and I love being able to share those lessons with others. Sometimes I find that I’m the counter voice to the “experts”, of which I like to think of myself from time to time except that I can be contrary. But facts are facts, and they’re easy to understand when one puts them out in simple form so they’re easily understood. I’ve learned a lot, and hopefully some will see what I write, realize it’s not always just opinion, and learn from it as well. No reason to make the same mistakes, right? :-)

August 2nd, 2012 | 9:26 AM

The times when I comment for traffic are very rare. I comment more for link building and stuff like this.

August 2nd, 2012 | 12:39 PM

Mitch you are not the only one that has wondered this. I look for good content and I feel like as a blogger I need to know more than my topics. Like SEO, blog tips, marketing, etc. I find so many tips that help me be the better publisher I want to be. I comment on all types of blogs, because I have found that people who are not in my my niche tend to be my best visitors. I get people all over the World and different niches. It is valuable to comment everywhere. P.S. My blog has evolved because I see what everyone is doing. thanks for the good stuff.
Michael Belk recently posted…How to benefit from FMLA: Protect your job and loved ones?My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Michael. I think some of these people tend to see blog commenting as only a strategy and nothing else. Actually, I know that’s true. I see it as an opportunity to meet more people, learn more things, confirm my own thoughts and beliefs about things, have a bit of fun, and the side benefit is that some of those folks eventually come by to say hello. Frankly, I think my life would have been really dull and boring without commenting on a wide variety of blogs.

August 2nd, 2012 | 8:11 PM

In ideal world and for traffic purpose, comments should be on relevant blog, however in my practice for more than a decade I have seen that none of the search engines clearly can clearly determine the level of relevancy with blog comments. Blogging serves many different purposes, may be 90% of blogs does not accept comment or never approve comments. Probably 5% of bloggers never really check for comments. And quite often spam filters mark regular comment as spam, just because at the same very time 2-3 other spammers have commented. I always tell other SEOs and blogger, don’t put limits, link is link no matter relevant or irrelevant and at the end of the day, it is not always because of links.
Carl recently posted…Should you outsource your marketing?My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, you know how I feel in general about doing much outside of creating websites when it comes to search engines. Having said that, the idea that influence in a certain field will only be relevant if one comments only on blogs that match their field is flawed and doesn’t work all that well.

Carl Reply:

I am certain that search engines do not like over-optimization in terms for both on-page and off-page. You commented recently on one of my social network. Diversifying strategy is the key to achieve success online. The only way to prevent rank drops on next update, so comments on any niche or general interest blogs are fine and count in link juice and driving extra traffic, plus promotion.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Carl, I’d challenge you on part of your premise. What they don’t like is anything that resembles keyword stuffing or black hat stuff. What they do like is if you can internally link to your own site in ways that help them see exactly what it is you do, especially if you’re adding more content on a regular basis. I think that’s an area where a majority of us fail because we don’t do it often enough.

August 2nd, 2012 | 11:23 PM

I generally comment on blogs in all niches . Then there are those people who go only after blogs that are dofollow. I always believe that any website should have a combination of nofollow and dofollow to make the link building process look natural. Before I comment on any new blogs that I have subled upon, I always do a check to see if the blog owner is approving comments.
Arun recently posted…Google PageRank Update – August 2012My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Arun, I don’t care all that much about dofollow, CommentLuv, or the niche when I want to comment on someone else’s blog. I do care that they’ve made the experience easy to do and, of course, that the topic is interesting and the writing compelling enough for me to want to comment.

August 3rd, 2012 | 2:16 AM

Hi Mitch,

Certainly your research seems quite correct to me. As same issue happened with me as well.

Most of the time, I see my comment in moderation and it seems blog owners don’t have time to check and respond the comments.

However when you comment on any SEO blog, you always get good response if you’re not spamming. ;)
Aasma recently posted…Online Mobile Recharge Software with API IntegrationMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Aasma, what’s considered a SEO blog, if I can ask?

Alex Reply:

I thinks she refers to sites that have tips for SEO and SEM :)

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Ah; nope, I wasn’t thinking along that route.

August 3rd, 2012 | 3:58 AM

Hello Mitch,
I wish to tell you that commenting only on your blog’s niche can be a little bit tricky. From what i know it will look “spammy” and not natural. As well as if you comment only on dofollow blogs.
Radu recently posted…I will Increasing Site Position using Total SEO Services for $55My Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

That’s an interesting thought Radu. I’m not so sure any search engine would be able to figure that out based on just blog commenting; who would they penalize, since they have never penalized the sites that buy links, just sites that have them.

August 3rd, 2012 | 6:25 PM

I’ve reached the same conclusion, Mitch. I’m utterly promiscuous when it comes to theme and niche, and commenting improved my traffic, PR rank, and Alexa rank. All kinds of commenters leave links on my site, and as long as they aren’t spam or linked to dead or super weird sites, I give them DoFollow Luv.
Astro Gremlin recently posted…Disneyland Secrets: The Ruins of DisneylandMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

We’re on the same page Astro; good deal.

August 4th, 2012 | 2:24 AM

Hi Mitch,
Goody explained by you.
commenting on niche site or blogs is very good for own sites because it gives more link juice and get more traffic.Thank for this and I found some of what you shared really interesting.
Bhushan recently posted…Mobile Recharge SoftwareMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Actually Bhushan, that’s the opposite of what I said to a degree. Blog commenting is always good; looking for certain niche blogs might be a waste of time.

Bhushan Reply:

Ya sir!
Now it clear what you said and what i think.

I also ask with my senior then you are very good on this and also right.
Thanks for clear this with me.
Bhushan recently posted…Mobile Recharge SoftwareMy Profile

August 4th, 2012 | 8:14 AM

Sort of makes you wonder how many of those comments went into moderation. I know a lot of people still do that and for the life of me I can’t understand why. Sure there is the spam factor but there are solutions for that.

I did try commenting on some niche blogs but not as many of them around so I comment on any that I happen to land on with some pretty good results too.
Sire recently posted…How To Buy A Lottery Ticket Using PayPalMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Actually Sire, a majority of them went into moderation, and I have to admit that’s starting to irk me a lot. I know that Val moderates comments but not only does she tell you she’s doing it, but she looks at them and actually approves them. I’m not sure any of these other people are doing it at all and that’s irksome to say the least.

I actually tried the experiment before on the topic of leadership for my business blog and got the same kind of results, although at that time I only did a sample of 10. So it seems to be consistent.

August 5th, 2012 | 6:07 AM

Hi Mitch,

Interesting insights here into the world of engagement and effects of blog comments. I think this is one of those subjects that will continue to elude so many because there are so many variables at play.

I defer to the standard of quality over all else. That decision has always helped me along the way in life, blog commenting included. Call me old school (I am in some ways!), but I like things to be conversational and fun for all involved. If that is missing, for me it’s kind of pointless. Yeah, I blog as a part of my business and I do earn money from what I do online, but if I wasn’t having fun with it I just couldn’t bring myself to do it!

We all have interests outside of our niches (hopefully)! We live in a world of plenty. To me it makes sense that we’re could benefit ourselves by being a bit less restrictive on some things.

Cat
Cat Alexandra recently posted…Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award | Catherine-Alexandra.com NominatedMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for your comment Cat. I’m with you, I want to read quality stuff, no matter the niche, and if it compels me then I comment on it… that is, if I like the commenting system. lol Sometimes though we have to test convention to see if it passes muster, and in this case it didn’t. Just something someone else put out there that, in the long run, isn’t true.

August 6th, 2012 | 1:53 PM

Hi Mitch great article and that sounds an absolute nightmare! I work in a great tribe and there we comment and share each other’s articles.

The interesting thing is that we are in different businesses but it works because we have built up relationships with each other and are helping each other.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Welcome Angus, and glad you liked the article. It wasn’t a nightmare because I got paid to do it but it was still a nice test case for me. I’m of the opinion that it’s not niche as much as posting a good comment based on a pretty good post.

August 7th, 2012 | 6:39 AM

Similar things are happening with me !!! Many of comments are still pending… I don’t why !!! In most cases, I never go negative against anyone.. But still..
Also, I know that commenting on same niche can improve your blog’s stats but there are not more popular blogs other than I see in blogging niche… People love to write about their ways about blogging… I find less blogs on health, fitness niche..
Thanks for telling something beneficial :)
Dhruv Bhagat recently posted…Lower Chances Of Getting Seasonal Infection – Best 13 WaysMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for your comment Dhruv. Yeah, it can be tough looking for only one niche if you’re hoping to comment a lot. Doesn’t mean you don’t try a few here and there, but spreading yourself around works much better.

Emiko Fierros Reply:

Hi Dhruv Bhagat, I also work with health and fitness sites for 2 years now and I also find it difficult when it comes to this niche so I consulted a friend of mine and give me some ideas that when commenting on stand alone blogs are hard but when you are in a community blog like semphi.com it’s a lot better and lots of interaction from other users are in.

Mitch Mitchell, I also hate reading comments with stupid/not names like “Cool Cars” they sometimes piss me off and with the author I also question myself, “why does the author allowed this comment?” unless they the comment have though.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Yeah Emiko, I go back and forth on allowing stupid names or changing them to initials; most of the time I change them. Still, I’m always thankful that someone has left a good comment; shows they care about how they’re perceived as much as honoring the post itself.

Emiko Fierros Reply:

I agree with that. A comment post should be a contribution for the readers and not only to the comment itself.

Since you said that changing the stupid names to initials, will it not loose the credibility of your blog?

BTW, sorry for my grammar in my previous comment. I wasn’t able to correct it before the time expires.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

No, credibility isn’t lost because I do that. I do it rarely, and the comment has to be one that I hope keeps the conversation going on the blog. I probably do it only 2 or 3 times a month, if that.

Emiko Fierros Reply:

I think you are right. Maybe it’s sometimes worth editing some comments to reduce spams and worthless or unrelated comments. Maybe I should also do that with my blog.

August 7th, 2012 | 3:29 PM

That is true what you are saying. Many SEO bloggers know what is going on and they are likely to approve comments in order to get more traffic to their blogs… However, I have seen many people’s blogs out there, they never like people to comment on their blogs – they run a blog quite regularly, but there no comments at all. That’s very strange so see :)
Martin recently posted…Web Design – Understanding your AudienceMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

It is strange to see Martin, because in my mind that’s not really a blog, just an article. But those blogs that supposedly accept comments that don’t show them… bunch of weasels! lol

August 7th, 2012 | 6:44 PM

I have been blogging for over a year now and I was initially thrilled at the thought that somewhere in the abyss people were commenting on what I blogged about. I have since stopped posting the responses because I do not understand the written english of the majority that respond…could this also be a reason for why people are not posting their responses?
I googled ‘strange blog responses’ to see if I could get a better understanding of the dilemma and this is where I find myself.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Yevevolve, what you might be getting a lot of is spam and you’re unable to identify it. That stuff kill, but you need to let the legitimate stuff go through. Check out this link on my other blog, as it gives tips on how to identify spam: http://www.seoxcellence.com/blog/5-ways-to-tell-spam-on-your-blog/

August 8th, 2012 | 4:09 PM

I like to comment on posts that fits my understanding, my knowledge and my background. Otherwise I would be fake and would be a bigger chance to be deleted from comments. So why struggle to fit the niche if I cannot make a single valid and on topic sentence? And contrary even if the article has nothing in common with the website I am linking for I still have this great opportunity to have a link from a trusted website. I put trust above marketing policy and until now I was not wrong.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Good stuff Saru. It always works best when you know what you’re talking about, whether you’re writing posts or comments. Feels pretty good as well, as you’ve seen.

August 9th, 2012 | 5:30 PM

What an interesting test case Mitch – Like you, I like to comment on blogs outside my niche, and have a regular group of bloggers I visit once a week, and comment on at least 10, of the participants that day – reading different subjects is refreshing, and inspirational – and it is a good way to meet people outside your niche and build up fresh relationships by commenting.
I think it is courteous to reply and people who don’t bother probably don’t have the same values as me, so I let them go – I moderate comments, mainly so I can answer them promptly, but check my spam once a week or so, as genuine ones do sneak through – I just found 2 in there just before writing this to you,
anyhow Mitch, this was a great discussion provoking post, and very interesting to read others thoughts on blogging,
thanks :)
Jacs
Jacs Henderson recently posted…Do You Need Some Direction? How To Set GoalsMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Glad to see your comment Jacs. I don’t moderate comments and I don’t ever miss them. To me, it’s possible that others will talk to each other on the blog and it’s something they can’t do if I’m moderating things up front. With that said, as you’ve seen by my test you’re more apt to get people outside your niche to talk to you if you comment and that’s really what social networking is all about. It might be an indictment against some people who blog professionally but don’t take blogging seriously enough to understand all the nuances; I’m not so sure though.

Jacs Henderson Reply:

well you’ve got a very social blog here Mitch – love it :)
Jacs
Jacs Henderson recently posted…Do You Need Some Direction? How To Set GoalsMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks Jacs; I certainly try to get conversations going most of the time.

August 12th, 2012 | 7:07 PM

Thanks for sharing this. I was beginning to wonder about the lack of comments on some of the blogs I’ve visited. I’m surprised to see the number of people who blog more often than me and yet don’t seem to either check or approve their comments.

I don’t approve comments the minute they’re put up but I do try to check regularly. Once my visitors have got something to say, their comments are fine with me. It shows others that my posts are being read.

That’s one of the “rules” I learned early in blogging-reply to comments and people will see that you’re interested and return. I’ve found it to work for me.

Mitch Mitchell Reply:

Thanks for stopping by Halle. I don’t moderate comments, so if a comment doesn’t immediately show, it means somehow it violated the posting policy and went into the spam filter. And, as you can see by my example, some folks will never approve those comments, but you, the person commenting, would never know one way or another if they never respond to comments. It’s a recommendation made by a lot of people that really doesn’t work.

October 7th, 2012 | 8:40 PM