How Important Are Blog Comments For SEO?

In my experience, having comments on your blog is very important for SEO and to “prove it”, I will give you 2 specific cases, one on this niche site and another on a local marketing site.

Case 1:

First off, I never really paid too much attention to getting comments (messages) on my site (this specific domain) a few years back because at the time, I was more out of touch with the way things changed on the internet. Back then, to me, making a niche website was all about the money and as long as there were sales, I didn’t care if I had enough leave their feedback and further more, I had worries that any negative feedback would have screwed up my sales so there was times that I even deactivated the option for anyone to leave their thoughts!

That completely changed in early 2014 (and this is where we get to the importance of blog comments and SEO) when I received one on this exact site from someone who asked me to review an MLM. The MLM’s name was “Mynt”:

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Now prior to this person leaving that message and even for a few months afterwards, I never wrote a review on that program and before I actually did, I received 2 MORE messages from people also asking me about the same MLM. 

Now those other 2 messages were posted on other articles I wrote on this site (because remember, at that point, I still didn’t write anything about the MLM) and it surprised me.

How was it that 2 people who did not know each other post about the same topic? Well I got my answer when I finally decided to look into the MLM they were asking me about.

I typed in “Mynt MLM” into Google and what I discovered changed my mind about comments and SEO forever…

I discovered that the first message from that person I put up an image of above was actually RANKED on the first page of Google and as it turns out, the other people who posted messages on my site about it probably saw it through Google.

Now this “kind of” changes things for people who are used to getting ranked using the traditional idea which is…pick out a low competition keyword, put it in the title and a few times in the post and that’s how you get ranked because remember, it was just a comment that was on the 1st page and on an article whose title and even content had nothing to do with the person’s question. 

How was it that this happened? Well in my opinion…

  • My site’s authority at that point was pretty high with Google.
  • That MLM that came out probably had very little competition because it was probably new, thus there were probably very few sites talking about it, except mine, where the only mention was in a message and thus that’s why it ranked.

Now I wish I could show you a screenshot of that message showing up on Google, but as soon as I realized what happened, I immediately wrote up a review on the actual program and overtime, that review would up substituting the one which showed the message so now if you do a search for “mynt mlm”, you will see this result:

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Note: What this also proves is that the traditional way of ranking I talked about above still had more weight and that’s because a large post full of content will outrank the previous one just about every time because it is more relevant.

But what this scenario (again) also showed me was just how important comments were and in this example, it had a DIRECT positive result on SEO. And by the way, when I did write the review, I went back to the person’s question about it and provided a link to the review. It gave me an interlinking opportunity and I believe it may have also played some kind of role in helping my review rank quickly. Even if it didn’t, interlinking doesn’t hurt SEO.

Case 2: 

There has been a local niche site I’ve been “working on” for the past few years where I’ve made very little progress in rankings despite the fact that I now have over 50 posts on that website. Most of them were following all the rules of SEO but I was still not making progress as even my “best” posts were ranked on page 2 or 3 and I would get an occasional organic visit.

Now I do have to say that I really was lazy on this site because I just had other ones which I felt were more important but it was frustrating to work on it and see very few results. 

Despite there being low competition for most of the keywords I was targeting, I was still not seeing good results and that was probably due to:

Most of the sites which were ranked on page 1 had so much more authority that despite the OVERALL keyword competition being little, it was still VERY difficult to get to page 1. 

At this point, I feel like I’m going to need at leas 20 or 30 more articles before I start to get the better rankings, but because my posting frequency was so far apart, I doubt I’ll get there. 

Because I had not seen good results from this site and I was running out of ideas, I began opening it up for questions and after getting a few of them, I had noticed that there was a spike in clicks on this website as indicated by webmaster tools:

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Now it can also be a coincidence because I had 10 extra posts added to the site about a month prior and it was possible that they began ranking around the time that those blue spikes happened (they indicate clicks), but this has not been the first time I have noticed that getting comments had positively affected my SEO.

My final thoughts: Comments are crucial so have them on your site!

The first case definitely was enough to show me how important it is to have comments on my site. What I always tell people to do is to just ask for people’s opinions on what you’re writing. 

I also have one other case where I was at a private meeting with my bosses from Wealthy Affiliate and I asked them a question pertaining to a website I saw which had much more content than I did, fewer comments from what I saw but didn’t seem to have rankings.

The question I posed was if writing so much will yield good rankings and they told me because the person doesn’t encourage for people to leave their thoughts, that they don’t get enough of them and thus that impacts ranking too. 

Now that same person also had a private meeting with these people and I am certain he took their advice on this because shortly after these meetings took place, I did notice that person had many more people leaving messages on one or more of their articles and I was also cross checking this with how their site was doing on Google and sure enough, their rankings went up much more! 

Content is always going to trump comments, but when you have both of these things on your site and people are actively leaving their feedback, it can and does improve your SEO. 

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Update 8/30/16: How to get people to comment on your blog!

Naturally if comments lead to better rankings, the question is how can you get more of them? The answer is to inspire people to do it. There are several ways you can trigger people to WANT to do these things.

I am going to share “3” ways (1 article with tips and 2 specific strategies) I personally make this happen on almost all my blog posts:

First there is an article I wrote which dealt with 5 tips on content creation, but those tips actually lead to people wanting to leave their feedback, especially tip #3 which you need to check out. You need to understand that better content leads to more time people spend on your site. The longer they stay, the better the chances they say something. But in order to further make them do it, I add 2 more elements in almost every single one of my posts…

There are images (this is the second way) I sometimes add to the RIGHT of my content which I typically link to another page, but for comment purposes, there are times when those images have pictures and words to inspire people to say something. I often put these in images because it’s easier for their eyes to spot and more likely that they’ll take action on it. In a way, this is basically a call to action, but rather than clicking on something, it’s getting them to do something (leave a comment).

And finally (This is the third way), did you notice the big red heading above prior to the update heading? You need to start using that type of strategy as well. All it takes is a big H3 heading or big image with encouraging words and you will that people start leaving more and more feedback on your site. It’s such a clear yet practical strategy that works!

honest review

19 Comments

  1. Laurie

    That was a very insightful article, and just when I am pondering on the whole comments aspect of my website. I also used to ignore them, in years gone by I found that I was attracting all sorts of spam type comments, but that is because my content was not that interesting, so I like the 3 steps you have provided, I am certainly going to be incorporating these into my content and hope that I see some favourable rankings from it.

    • Vitaliy

      I think you were getting spam comments because you didn’t have an anti spam plugin set up Laurie. I recommend WP-Spamshield, check for it on your plugins page, it should be free and will erase all the spam comments which come to your site.

  2. Shawn

    Hey bud, could not agree more with you on the power of comments. I remember a few years back I too did not pay any attention to getting and answering comments.

    Since I have given this attention my rankings have also improved 2 fold. It does seem people want to talk if the content is interesting and the call to exists.

    Keep the good articles coming!

    Shawn

    • Vitaliy

      Great to hear from you Shawn! Regarding your experience, I will say years ago, comments didn’t play as much of an important role as they do today.

  3. Anthony

    Thank you for sharing your personal experience. I’ve been on the fence about when and where I allow comments versus when not to. I like your idea about editing out links and will implement that strategy for my own site. That’s been concern number one for me. My other concern is erroneous information that commenters may leave. I’d hate to block people’s entire comment/information because it just plain wrong.

    • Vitaliy

      What do you mean by erroneous information Anthony? Do you mean if they say negative things about your review or a position? If so, then it’s a great way to create a debate. Unless the person is being absolutely rude and uses foul language, you should be ready to debate and welcome opposing opinions.

  4. Garen

    Hey Vitaliy,

    I can attest to how things were and how they are now. Used to not care much about comments on my sites either. But, times have changed, and I can say its imperative. Its good to see that you ran some case studies to show people just how important comments are.

    I do not allow any outbound backlinks in comments. Specifically, for their username. I do believe they can hurt your site’s rankings. I guess, you could nofollow them, too. What do you think?

    • Vitaliy

      I generally do not let people leave their site names on my page unless I know for certain they are from a legitimate source like internet marketing friends I trust, but otherwise, if they leave a link, I’ll edit it out.

  5. Robert

    This article is exactly what I have been thinking about recently. Like your case 2 example, I have been getting stuck around page 2 and 3 on Google and was starting to wonder if I will ever break through to page 1. I also have no comments on my site and was only interested in adding content and more content. However, I have reading more and more positive information on the value of comments and this article is the latest one. From now on I need to get more of them on my site.

    Thanks for the great information 🙂

  6. tyrell

    That is a very insightful case study on the value of comments, on your resultant ranking and by deduction, traffic. So far my understanding has been that comments just increase the trust of your site due to the response to your content. Thank you very much, i will be pushing to get more on my sites as well.

  7. Michael (Tao Machine)

    Your article changed my mind regarding comments and it’s usefulness. I always saw it from negative point of view due in that people can be very unpleasant for no reason in the internet and keeping a check on this can be time consuming. Second reason were bots which as you know yourself are a pain.

    • Vitaliy

      Well most sites that do not have a spam filter plugin like SpamShield will have bots constantly attacking them but otherwise, the usually the other problem of negativity is always going to be present, but if you write good content, generally a majority of your feedback will be positive as well Michael.

  8. brandi

    I’m just getting started with SEO and I disabled my comments. I’m so happy you wrote this AND that I came across it early. Im going to immediately turn my comments back on and add questions that will get responses!

    Thank you so much! I’m trying out local SEO. Basically learning as I go. Do you have any advice specifically for local SEO as far as getting comments?

    • Vitaliy

      I would recommend you add pages to your site that talk about the company’s services and then add articles about problems that the local company can handle. For example, if you can promoting a plumbing business, write articles on different types of plumbing problems and then link to the plumbing service part on your site.

      The comments part would come when in each page you would ask if there are specific problems people are having (ask them for example if they have a specific plumbing issue). But on the services page itself, add contact information so they can get in touch with your or the client you’re doing the SEO work for.

  9. Michael

    After reading this page, I believe everything you say is correct. I suppose I am surprised by the rating received by MYNT but, again your explanation makes sense. Great information in the page.

    One question, you mentioned your earlier fear of negative or damaging comments – how real was that fear and do you now believe there is no such thing as negative or damaging comments?

    • Vitaliy

      Negative comments can be a good thing if they are productive and lead to a debate Michael. If it’s nothing but cursing or something that you really can’t reply to, then there’s no reason to approve it.

  10. Ray

    A comment getting ranked by Google isn’t something I have given much thought to, but thanks for bringing this to our attention, it’s good to know that this can happen.

    I’m aware of the importance of having keywords within a blog’s comments so as to enable Google to read it as an engaging comment, which boosts ranking.

    I think it is also important to have as many quality comments as possible because they add to the total word count of the article or post. I understand that there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that Google is more in favor of ranking much longer articles than it has done previously.

    I think you have also shown here how you can really make great use of your comments, especially if they happen to have within them a low competition keyword. Linking the keyword within the comment to the post you later wrote was a great idea.

  11. Matt's Mom

    Wow, I would have never thought that comments could be so important! I can’t believe it actually got you ranked so high. I try to get at least 10 to 12 comments on each of my posts (including mine). I actually write a new post every few days, so trying to get more can get kind of tough. Do you think that is enough? I though about going back to earlier posts and getting more, but it’s hard to keep up just getting them for the new content I add.

    • Vitaliy

      You should not be aiming for a minimal amount, but instead be trying to write the kind of content that will make people want to comment. But even if people don’t do that, you should still move onto writing new articles and continue asking your visitors to leave their thoughts.

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