Strategic commenting, part 2

A couple of weeks ago I outlined my strategy for strategic commenting – go ahead and read it if you haven’t already – the key for me is building relationships with other bloggers. Taking over the world one blog at a time, if you want.

But with any strategy, even a good one, there’s normally room for improvement, so while last time I spoke about my philosophy of commenting, today I’d like to mention a couple of tactical tips you can apply to maximise the benefits of your comments to your blog’s authority and traffic. They’re actually closely related – I’ll give you a little hint: neither involves nofollow links…

Nofollow defined

You probably know what nofollow‘s all about already, but just in case you don’t:

…nofollow is an HTML attribute value used to instruct some search engines that a hyperlink should not influence the link target’s ranking in the search engine’s index…
- Wikipedia

Most blogs use it by default in their comments section, and what this means for you, the commenter, is that although some readers of that blog may click through to your site, the link won’t benefit you as far as search engines are concerned. This is obviously not very good if you’re trying to get your content listed higher up in the search engine results (and if you’re not, you should be!).

The good news for us commenters is that there’s a bit of a revolution going on – many bloggers believe that nofollow is evil, against the spirit of co-operation that defines the internet, and will ultimately do more harm than good.

There are two nifty WordPress plugins that work around this in different ways: Dofollow and Top Commenter (actually there are several implementations of Dofollow, but they all do more or less the same thing).

Dofollow plugin

This simply strips out the nofollow tag from your comment link on a blog that has it installed, so that you benefit in terms of search engine juice, as well as any traffic that may result from people following your link.

Top Commentator plugin

This doesn’t reward every comment with a dofollow link; rather it does so only for the most prolific commenters on a site. The advantage this gives you, the commenter, is that often these top commenter lists are displayed in the sidebar or footer, meaning they are present on every page of the site! The downside though is that you don’t stay at the top of the list forever – eventually you will be overtaken by other commenters unless you comment frequently.

Now if you can find blogs that use both plugins and/or have decent PageRank…

Why be a sucker?

Why do some blogs allow themselves to be “taken advantage of” like this? Well, if you think about it, they benefit from increased traffic, as other bloggers come in search of links. And because dofollow bloggers tend to moderate their comments more than most (for obvious reasons), would-be commenters won’t get far without at least skimming the content. So basically they’re getting more eyeballs on their posts, more pageviews, and thus have more options for monetizing their sites (revenue is proportional to traffic).

How to find Dofollow and Top Commentator blogs

Ah-ha, the million dollar question! Well, some sites maintain lists, like Yan over at thou shall blog (which by the way uses both these plugins).

You can also find them at dedicated dofollow search pages like CommentHunt (thanks to Barry Wise for the tip).

Update: This site now hosts its own Dofollow Search Tool to help you find Dofollow and Top Commentator blogs – enjoy!

And I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know that this blog uses both plugins too! So what are you waiting for…get commenting!

Related posts:

  1. Strategic commenting
  2. Dofollow Search Tool is online
  3. All backlinks are created equal…not!

59 Responses to “Strategic commenting, part 2”

  1. Gravatar of Barry Wise NJ SEO 1 Barry Wise NJ SEO

    Hey thanks for mentioning my blog! I like your dofollow spirit – and you’re absolutely right, commenting on dofollow blogs is very helpful.

  2. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 2 Rodney Smith

    Right back at you Barry – you’re also a dofollow advocate, aren’t you?

  3. Gravatar of Blogging for Bloggers 3 Blogging for Bloggers

    I love the word strategic commenting. It seems like commenting has shifted away from the traditional part of social networking and it has became the other part of link building campaign.

  4. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 4 Rodney Smith

    Yup, there are definitely elements of both involved.

  5. Gravatar of kahthan 5 kahthan

    Nice article, yeah thinking about it, i think i will probably add top commentators as well.. :)

  6. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 6 Rodney Smith

    Glad to hear it Kahthan. If I was only going to use one of them, that’s the one I’d go for too – it’s probably easier to keep on top of the comment spam that way. Although (and I should have mentioned this before) you really shouldn’t use either of these if you aren’t using Akismet or some other spam filter!

  7. Gravatar of kahthan 7 kahthan

    Akismet was the first plugin i installed, before starting off i would never have imagined how much spam we would get, i had an almost empty blog lying around for a couple of months that was getting spam on its single post.. these spammers are crazy!

  8. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 8 Rodney Smith

    You’re not wrong!

  9. Gravatar of Gigi – salon equipment store owner 9 Gigi – salon equipment store owner

    I used to get a lot of spam too, even from just published articles and blogs. The best part was, that even my competition was spamming my blogs with comments that made no sense whatsoever.

    I’m using askimet and commentluv and they’re definitely bringing quality traffic.

    You can never know who your next customer might be!

  10. Gravatar of Work At Home Ideas 10 Work At Home Ideas

    Hi Rodney,

    You’re right, these 2 plugins on dofollow and top commentators are a must for anyone who wants to see their links grow exponentially but only if you follow a comment strategy too. Thanks for sharing.

    Peter Lee

  11. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 11 Rodney Smith

    Peter: well, I haven’t seen any exponential growth yet, but I’m sure it’ll increase as word gets out…for instance via your list.
    Thanks for stopping by!

  12. Gravatar of Mitch 12 Mitch

    Good post. I use the “dofollow” plugin myself, and feel that more of the top bloggers should use it, but so be it. I’m thinking about the top commenter plugin, but what’s holding me back is that I don’t want it to ever show any of my top 5 posters only having one post.

  13. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 13 Rodney Smith

    Mitch: the Top Commentator plugin has an option for you to specify whether or not you want to display the number of comments people have made, if that’s what you mean?

  14. Gravatar of Mitch 14 Mitch

    Yes, that’s what I meant, and I didn’t know that. Thanks; now I just might go ahead and add it.

  15. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 15 Rodney Smith

    Mitch: Actually, I get the impression most bloggers prefer the Top Commentator plugin over pure Dofollow because it’s easier to keep a lid on the spam that way. But why not have both – I do!

  16. Gravatar of Bobby Revell 16 Bobby Revell

    Hi Rodney! I have never once left someone a comment to get a link – if I happen to get a do-follow blog it’s purely by accident; however, the best do follow list to be on is Court Tuttle’s D-List which had brought me a lot of traffic this year.

    For a blogger like me, one good intelligent comment is worth a thousand irrelevant ones :smile:

  17. Gravatar of Mitch 17 Mitch

    I’m all for having both myself. My Askimet is catching almost every piece of spam that’s coming through, and let’s face the fact that, at this point, I’m not getting 300 people wanting to comment on either of my blogs, so I can easily handle any spam that comes my way. I think having a dofollow blog is a big deal.

  18. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 18 Rodney Smith

    Bobby: you’re right, it’s pretty easy to spot the difference between a comment that genuinely contributes to the discussion, and one that’s only there to get a link.

    Mitch: I’ve definitely seen a big increase in activity lately – like you say, it gives you a bit of a competitive advantage in building your community. I can understand why the bigger blogs don’t necessarily do it though – they’ve already got all the comments they can handle.

  19. Gravatar of Mitch 19 Mitch

    I’ve seen a nice increase lately also, and got my first Text Link ad this past week because of it.

    By the way, I notice you’re still running BlogRush; I thought it had pretty much caved in.

  20. Gravatar of Work At Home Ideas 20 Work At Home Ideas

    Hey Mitch,
    Congrats on you Text Link Ad. You must be glad you kept it since you were in 2 minds whether to keep it or bury it just last week.


  21. Gravatar of Make Money Blogging 21 Make Money Blogging

    These two plugins are so essential in building up activity in your blog. Rodney, so do you edit your readers’ comments if they spam their url on their comments?

  22. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 22 Rodney Smith

    Yes, I’m still running BlogRush – mostly cos I haven’t gotten around to taking it down yet. I get the odd pageview from it, but it’s never brought the promised rush of traffic.
    I’ve shied away from selling text link ads because I’ve heard Google doesn’t approve of them – I need to tread carefully there as a big slice of my traffic comes from there. What’s your take on the issue?

  23. Gravatar of Mitch 23 Mitch

    First, on BlogRush, I took it down months ago, but within the last month John Chow had a rant against it, as he had tons of credits that were suddenly not redeemable, and it was his friend John Reese who supposed worked on getting it set up.

    Second, Google doesn’t mind someone paying you to advertise on your site, since they do it. What they don’t really like as much is your paying for links and the like. All of the big time bloggers are posting paid advertising, and they’re not getting hurt by it. Heck, most of the major internet sites like Excite, Yahoo, NY Times, etc, are posting paid advertising and links. As long as there’s consistent content instead of your site being a link farm, so to speak, they’re not going to care.

    I wouldn’t figure they’d come after li’l ol’ me for one or two links that might pay me $10 a month total even if they didn’t like it. Go for it.

  24. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 24 Rodney Smith

    Ben: Akismet normally does it for me ;-) But yes, anything that’s obviously spam gets the boot. Some other comments are more ambiguous, and I evaluate those on a case by case basis.

    Thanks for commenting.

  25. Gravatar of Max@Viliat-Blog 25 Max@Viliat-Blog

    I am fighting spam with Akismet and WP Hashcash – this combo delivers great results, rarely see spam on my blog.

    @Mitch – Google does punish a blog if purchased text ads have “dofollow”, if they are “nofollow”, no problem.

  26. Gravatar of Mitch 26 Mitch

    Hi Max. I went to Matt Cutts blog where he talks about this very same issue. He states that if “I” purchase a link on someone else’s site so that I can boost my ranking that Google doesn’t approve of that, and without the nofollow tag or something of that type that I could get penalized.

    However, my having a link on my site that someone else purchases doesn’t hurt me at all because outbound links aren’t counted for or against a site unless the links are traded. This part isn’t in the article, but has been addressed by other writers, and may be elsewhere in his blog.

  27. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 27 Rodney Smith

    Mitch + Max: interesting discussion, and not something I knew a lot about, so I’ve done some research and written up my findings: Does Google penalize paid links?

  28. Gravatar of DStudioBali Busby SEO 28 DStudioBali Busby SEO

    dofollow and top commentators plugins are great to “bait” more people come and make a comment on our blog. But it also make spammer come on their way. I use akismet, but once gone the other comes :( .

  29. Gravatar of Mitch 29 Mitch

    First, I just wrote on your other post regarding your research.

    For DStudio, the only spam I’ve gotten in any significant quantity is a bit of Russian spam, and it’s so low that using “significant” isn’t even fair. Askimet seems to be a great program for stopping it.

  30. Gravatar of Air Jordans 30 Air Jordans

    I have not tried Askimet. Have you tried of Spamarrest? Please check that out. It keeps spam from entering your mailbox, 100%.

  31. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 31 Rodney Smith

    Air jordans: No, I haven’t tried Spamarrest – SpamAssassin takes care of most of my email spam. Akismet is specifically meant for blog comment spam – and it’s free below a certain traffic threshold.

  32. Gravatar of Busby SEO Test gladioolers 32 Busby SEO Test gladioolers

    dofollow can invites many comentators. But i am still afraid google hates it and decreases pagerank

  33. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 33 Rodney Smith

    Busby: I don’t know that Google hates it – you just have to be careful you don’t allow links to spammy sites or “bad neighbourhoods”.

    You’re probably right that pages’ link juice gets diluted a bit as it’s shared out amongst more sites, but the whole point of PR is to get more traffic isn’t it? Enabling dofollow comments does that!

  34. Gravatar of Caleb 34 Caleb

    I have these plugins set up and would like to know how long does it take to be included within your do-Follow Search Tool Directory :?:

    I just submitted two of my blogs.

  35. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 35 Rodney Smith

    Caleb: not long at all – you’ve been included.

  36. Gravatar of liweng 36 liweng

    Great article. This is highly valuable information. I will take it in and integrate this strategic commenting to my daily routine. Thanks for this. Hopefully I will be Top Commentator on a few blogs soon!

  37. Gravatar of Tony Huynh 37 Tony Huynh

    Thanks for the information. It has been very useful for a new blogger like myself.

  38. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 38 Rodney Smith

    Tony: no problem – hope to see you around some more. Thanks for commenting.

  39. Gravatar of Wisdom Talks 39 Wisdom Talks

    Pretty nice Tip. I am just a new blogger and your are post is highly helpful. Thanks

  40. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 40 Rodney Smith

    Wisdom: no problem – good to see you around here.

  41. Gravatar of insideWebmaster 41 insideWebmaster

    I think that top commentators is underrated. I’ve used it (with wonderful results) to get my social bookmarking site a higher pagerank. As long as you have the time and are willing to put in the effort, top commentators is well worth it.

  42. Gravatar of max 42 max

    I use Platinum SEO plugin so my links are dofollow anyway, but i never thought of Top Commentators.I think is worth trying.
    Thanks for the great information, i’ve learned a lot from your blog.

  43. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 43 Rodney Smith

    Max: my pleasure, thanks for stopping by.

  44. Gravatar of joe comp 44 joe comp

    its a good article for me read and try to understans again about dofollow.but i wonder, if we use dofollow then people would visit our blog, and for make balance to our blog, we must visited they too and make huge backlinks in out there.isn’t right?i am sorry if i am wrong,i am just a new which learn about this.

    thank you for this great article and i really enjoy to read this.

  45. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 45 Rodney Smith

    joe comp: it’s up to you if you reciprocate comments or not. I only leave return comments if I have time, and if I can add something to the other site. Leaving meaningless comments just for the sake of it is pointless. Then again, every backlink helps!

  46. Gravatar of Odzyskiwanie Danych 46 Odzyskiwanie Danych

    For all these wanting to put top commentators plugin you’ll have to beware. Google can punish you for bad links. If your commentators will put links to gambling/porn sites you can be punished with PageRank loss. I know that most of these links are blocked by akismet but you really have to check your links!

  47. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 47 Rodney Smith

    Yup, once you start giving out dofollow links you have to be a lot more careful with comment moderation.

  48. Gravatar of Carol Williams 48 Carol Williams

    I use the “dofollow” plugin and its really helpful. I heard of Akismet till now not used. Thanks for sharing this great article, really enjoyed reading this.

  49. Gravatar of Interview Questions 49 Interview Questions

    Great article and some great strategies, I am been looking at blogs with top commentator plugins for a few months now, the problem is some of them resets every day or so, so you need to keep quite active.

  50. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 50 Rodney Smith

    You’re right – sometimes it’s not worth the effort.

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