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.
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”:
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:
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.
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:
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.
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!