How Safe Are Your Backlinks? #FridayFinds

by Sherryl Perry on April 26, 2014

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For years, link building has been a cornerstone of SEO. Webmasters have used links in blogrolls, anchor text, forum signatures, user profiles and comments (just to name a few). Linking strategies have ranged from building links naturally to buying links. While links to readers’ websites are tagged no-follow by default in WordPress, bloggers who use the CommentLuv plugin have the option of easily enabling the do-follow attribute on links left with comments. With all the attention that Google has been giving to unnatural” links recently, what should we do? Should we contact webmasters and ask them to remove links to our site? Should we make all of the CommentLuv links on our site no-follow? Let’s take a look at this topic in this week’s #FridayFinds.

Will Linking Ever Be the Same?

This week, I came upon the excellent article The War On Links written by Jenny Halasz for SearchEngineLand.com. Jenny starts out her article by reminiscing on the days when blogrolls and webrings were popular. (Blogrolls are relatively uncommon today but were widely used years ago. The most common use was to display a list of blogs that you endorsed in a sidebar on your blog. Often, those links were reciprocated by bloggers. A webring was a way of interlinking related websites. The first web ring script was developed in May 1995 by Sage Weil.)

One of the main problems with links today is that they’re being scrutinized by Google and potentially the U.S. Copyright office who recently proposed an addition to the copyright law that would include protecting copyright holders from “unauthorized versions of their work from hyperlinks”.

Jenny uses one of her own tweets as an example of how easy it is for attribution to be given to someone who has shared content rather than the person who is responsible for creating the content. From there, Jenny proceeds to discuss how businesses no longer benefit from links on sites like Yelp since they are now no-follow. Jenny also raises the issue that the search engines also:

“. . . scrape the data that Yelp provides about that particular business so that when you do a search, you don’t even have to click through the link to get the company phone number, prices and ratings… which, by the way, Yelp offers up for free through schema because it helps their Google positioning.”

Trust me, Jenny offers more insight than I could possibly do justice to by summarizing it here. I really recommend reading her article yourself.

Can Allowing Do-Follow Enabled CommentLuv Backlinks Hurt You?

Those of you who comment here know that I’m a big proponent of the CommentLuv premium plugin for WordPress. (Yes, that’s my affiliate link just in case you’re interested in buying a license to the premium version.) I’ve maintained all along that CommentLuv attracts spam. It’s not an insurmountable problem though.

Committed bloggers who are using this plugin as part of their strategy to build relationships with other bloggers can tweak the plugin settings (especially in the premium version) and diligently monitor their comment links. It takes time and it’s not a one-time issue either. The older your blog is, the greater the chances are that some of the links that were once good are now broken or link to spammy sites.

The biggest benefit to me to using CommentLuv is that it helps to foster a sense of community here. My commenting strategy now (more on this in a moment) is to focus on building relationships and adding value here on my blog. In the early days of my blog, I reciprocated every comment that was left for me. (Meaning, if you left a comment for me, I’d visit your blog and leave one for you.) I no longer have the time to do this. What I still do is reply to every comment that is left for me.

To me, it is worth it to closely monitor the links left in the comments and I do enable the do-follow tag for anyone who has left ten approved comments.  It’s work. Will I ever change it? I won’t say never but at this point, if I were to be whacked by Google with a manual web spam action due to unnatural links, I may very well throw in the towel and either make them all no-follow or remove the plugin.

One important thing to keep in mind is that the no-follow tag does not guarantee that the Google bots won’t crawl your site. Google looks at it as a suggestion. So, once you’re on their radar screen, will simply tagging the questionable links be enough? I honestly don’t know. (If anyone can shed more light on this, please feel free to share your thoughts below in the comments.)

Can Leaving a Link to Your Site on a CommentLuv Do-Follow Site Hurt You?

Could leaving a link to your website on a CommentLuv do-follow enabled blog potentially hurt you? Yes. If Google decides it’s an unnatural connection, it could. Do we really want our fear of being penalized by Google to dictate what blogs we read and what sites we leave links on?

Personally, I don’t believe we should. I do use caution though. I’m not about to leave a backlink to my site on an AdSense riddled article. Then again, those sites don’t interest me. Will I leave a backlink to my site on a site that’s completely unrelated to my niche? Absolutely. I don’t do it for any potential SEO value. Actually, there’s more of a risk of it working against me than any chances of it having any benefit. Whenever I leave a backlink to my site, it’s with the intention that the article will be valuable to either the blogger and/or their readers.

To read more about my commenting strategy and to read what others have to say about it, (over 166 comments as of this moment), please check out my guest post What Is Your Blog Commenting Strategy? on AdrienneSmith.com.

Should Bloggers Close Down Their Comments?

On another note, (as I’m sure most of you know), CopyBlogger closed down comments on their blog in March.  Sonia Simone, their Chief Content Officer, blogged about it. There was speculation in the blogging community that there may have been a hidden agenda behind the decision. (Perhaps it was related to the recent actions by the Google webspam team?)

In her original post, Sonia stated these facts:

  • In a little over 8 years, Copyblogger published more than 130,000 comments.
  • That 130,000 comments represented only about 4% of the actual number of comments left on the site.
  • Therefore, approximately 96% of the comments left on Copyblogger were spam.

In this Lede podcast, Sonia shares her view of the decision to end comments on CopyBlogger.  In summary:

  • The compelling reason for closing comments was the vast amount of time that was spent moderating comments.
  • The conversation in the comments got skewed due to people using CopyBlogger for self-promotion.
  • CopyBlogger made the decision to move the conversation to social media sites. (For example, Sonia advocates joining the conversation on Google+.)

Over To You:

What are your thoughts? Have you had to deal with a manual web spam action or know someone who has? Do you use CommentLuv or leave backlinks on do-follow enabled blogs? We’d love to hear from you.

For more great information, connect with this week’s #FridayFinds featured authors: Jenny Halasz and Sonia Simone on Google+. You can also find CopyBlogger, Adrienne Smith and me there too.

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Shreyas Vinns
Twitter:
July 17, 2016 at 2:59 am

Having a tough time building high quality back links. Searching if websites have broken links in them and approaching them and asking them to replace those with yours is a good strategy but it takes decades developing those. While do follow commenting saves a lot of time. I don’t think Google should be penalising all that. Anyways good discussion. Cheers.

Glenys
Twitter:
September 24, 2014 at 1:19 am

Thanks for the interesting discussion Sherryl.

There has been a lot published lately about Private Blog Networks (PBNs) and or course the extent to which they constitute a risky backlinking practice. It always sounded like a costly strategy both in terms of financial outlay and in terms of the risk that bloggers were taking. I say “were taking” because apparently a lot of sites relying on PBNs have just been hit. I guess the fast ranking power of a PBN was quite seductive for many. However, there is a very interesting article about the recent Google slap on Spencer Haws’s blog, nichepursuits.com. He writes very transparently about the whole thing.
I thought your readers might find it interesting too as it fits in with the topic of your post very well.
Glenys recently posted..Top 10 Google Ranking With Internal Linking – A Case StudyMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Thanks for the tip Glenys! That does sound like an interesting article. I’m not familiar with Spencer Haws but I’ll definitely check it out.

You (and other readers) may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging (or commenting) much lately. The truth is that my 86-year old mother-in-law has been dealing with health issues and I’ve been spending much of my free time visiting her in the hospital. She seems to be on the mend (again). So, hopefully, I’ll be posting to my #FridayFinds series again soon. This could be the perfect tip for a post. (We’ll see.)

Meanwhile, expect to see a guest post this week by Jeannette Paladino. She’s written an article about the importance of semantics ins SEO.

As always, thanks for your insight. I’ll try to get by your blog soon.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can You Influence Consumers by Using Neuromarketing Techniques? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Glenys
Twitter:
September 25, 2014 at 12:06 am

Sorry to hear about your mother-in-law Sherryl but it is good that she is now improving.
I’ll look forward to Jeannette’s guest post.
Glenys
Glenys recently posted..Top 10 Google Ranking With Internal Linking – A Case StudyMy Profile

Shaun Hoobler June 21, 2014 at 6:58 am

I guess I need to increase my dofollow comments too. Although I don’t know how.
Shaun Hoobler recently posted..app dev empire reviewMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 23, 2014 at 9:56 am

Hi Shaun,
Do-follow comments can both hurt or help you. You have to do it strategically. If I were you, I’d go to FindTheLuv.com (or sites like it) and identify a few CommentLuv websites that are in your niche. What you’re looking for are blogs where your target customers/clients are.

Start leaving comments that add value. Leave a CommentLuv link to one of your posts that’s related to the topic. Don’t forget to share those posts and connect with the blogger by following them on the social networking sites that you’re active on. Before you know it, their readers will recognize you and some will start following the links to your blog. Ideally, the bloggers who you’re sharing for (and connecting with) will reach out to you and visit your blog, leave comments for you and share your psosts.

I’m linking to one of my favorite articles that I wrote when I was new to blogging. I called it “Stalking the Popular Kids”. It’s a strategy that worked for me. Good luck and thanks for joining the conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..2 Steps to Stalking the Popular Kids and Getting More TrafficMy Profile

samad June 5, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Enabling dofollow comments will increase the user interaction.Though I failed to deal with spammers when I installed commentluv on my blog and atlast I removed the plugin !!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 6, 2014 at 4:13 pm

That’s definitely true Samad. Not everyone can justify investing in the premium version of CommentLuv but it certainly does help bloggers deal with spam. One of the things that you can do with it is to configure it so that the do-follow attribute is only enabled after someone has left ten approved comments. That cuts down drastically on the amount of spam that you’ll get because someone looking simply for a backlink will get discouraged way before that.

Thanks for dropping by and joining the conversation. I hope you have a great weekend.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..What Blogging Tips Are You Missing?My Profile

Nazmul Ahasan
Twitter:
May 28, 2014 at 12:04 pm

I heard Matt was saying in an interview it will be much effective if website owners socialize their contents! What do you think about it Sherryl? I have found you concentrating on building readers by socializing! Is socializing is more effective than link building?

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 6, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Hi Nazmul,
In my opinion, they’re both valuable. One difference between referral traffic and organic search traffic is that social is less risky than SEO. At any time, Google can penalize us and/or completely de-index our sites.

I know quite a few bloggers who were de-indexed completely and even though they’ve gone through the steps to get back in Google’s good “graces”, no one knows if they’ll ever completely recover. It’s been well over a year since I was whacked by Google’s algorithm changes. My organic search traffic dropped from over 10k visits a month to just over 2k. I still haven’t recovered from that.

One interesting observation that other readers have made (and I have confirmed as true for my site as well) is that the bounce rate from organic search traffic is significantly higher than it is from referral traffic.

Another difference between the two sources is that social helps to build authority while building mutually beneficial relationships. I have met the vast majority of my clients through social networking and personal referrals. Even those clients who I know initially found me through search, engaged with me here on a personal level before hiring me.

So, while I like search traffic, (it’s free and the way I do it, it isn’t that time consuming), I personally value referral traffic more.

Thanks for raising the question. Sorry I didn’t reply sooner but I’ve been squeezing some “vacation” time in. 🙂 Have a great weekend!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Do You Know Which Bad Links Caused Your Google Penalty?My Profile

Rudd
Twitter:
May 20, 2014 at 10:30 am

Other than Copyblogger, I also noticed that they also have closed comment section on StudioPress site as well. I think it really depends on how big your community is. Big community like Copyblogger won’t care about how many comments they got on their site like most of us bloggers.
Rudd recently posted..How to Add Nofollow Attribute to Genesis Footer LinksMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 23, 2014 at 11:16 am

Hi Rudd,
I agree that the size of your community is a factor in whether or not it makes sense to continue allowing comments. In the case of Copyblogger, the amount of spam became unmanageable. Now, with the added scrutiny that is being focused on us by Google, I believe they were putting themselves at risk of being penalized for unnatural links.

Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to join the conversation. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Can You Get Started With SEO? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Sudipto
Twitter:
May 19, 2014 at 3:26 am

Hey Sherryl,
Nice post and Yes, Google really making very difficult to do blogging these days. With continuously changing algorithm, I think GOD also have no idea what Google is trying to do. Linking is very important factor in blogging and from last few update, it seems linking is dead as many blog closed their comments. We can make linking with others but by only following some safety rules. Thanks for sharing this interesting post with us.
Sudipto recently posted..Best Android Phone Of 2014My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 19, 2014 at 11:56 am

Hi Sudipto,

We really do have to be aware of what sites we’re linking to and what sites are linking to us. Last year, (when I was whacked by Google’s algorithm changes and lost a significant amount of my organic search traffic), I went to my Google Webmaster Tools and I noticed that I had over 1,200 links pointing to me from a spammy site! (One of the components of the site was a dating module.) Their webmaster denied the links existed and I ended up disavowing them. Incoming links is definitely something that we need to keep an eye on.

Now, we need to brace ourselves for Penguin 3.0! I’ve heard rumors that may be coming to us by the end of the month.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Do You Know Which Bad Links Caused Your Google Penalty?My Profile

Noor Basheer
Twitter:
May 12, 2014 at 12:12 am

I don’t think Google should penalize site which have do follow comment luv enabled comment system. It would be so weird if Google start penalizing such awesome plugins.
Noor Basheer recently posted..HostGator Vs BluehostMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 14, 2014 at 5:17 pm

Hi Noor,
I don’t believe that Google is penalizing sites that have the do-follow attribute on their CommentLuv comments. I do believe that having those comments requires diligently moderating them. It’s especially important that those of us who use this plugin regularly check for: 1) broken links, 2) links to spammy sites, 3) too many do-follow links to sites that are totally unrelated to our niche.

One of the reasons that the premium version of CommentLuv is so popular is that there are additional settings that you can configure. For example, a lot of us only enable the do-follow tag after someone has left ten approved comments. We have found that most spammers never qualify for this.

Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation and for the +1.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google Website Signals SERPs and Title Tags #FridayFindsMy Profile

lukman nulhakiem
Twitter:
May 3, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Backlink ‘lifetime’ is my big problem. In the past I had built many backlinks for my website. But, they did live longer. They had gone and only several of those backlinks exist. Ranking of my websites decreased and I lost many traffic because of that.

I know it is not easy to find last longer backlink since it solely depends on the web owner to keep or remove my backlinks.

Could anyone know how to get permanent backlinks? And how maintain backlinks?
lukman nulhakiem recently posted..3 New Biofuel Plant From Waste USA and CanadaMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 4, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Hi Lukman,

I wouldn’t worried about permanent backlinks. Instead, I would focus on commenting on blogs where your potential customers are.

If your backlinks are to quality content (and in a niche that Google would not feel is unnatural), chances are your backlinks will stay. Of course many bloggers abandon their blogs at some point but if you’re consistently building strong relationships with active bloggers, that shouldn’t be a concern.

For starters, do you know what blogs your potential customers already read and comment on? Do these bloggers have an active following on major social media sites like Twitter? I would identify 3 or 4 bloggers (to start) and begin commenting on their blogs.

If you’re looking to leave a link to your site, you can find CommentLuv enabled blogs and concentrate on those. (Don’t worry if they’re dofollow or nofollow because the SEO value isn’t worth much.) Make sure that your comments add value. If they have the premium version of CommentLuv, try to pick one of your posts that is related to the article that you’re commenting on.

I’ve linked to one of my posts that explains how this strategy works. Basically, it’s develop relationships first and the traffic will follow.

Good luck! Please let me know if you have any other questions.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..2 Steps to Stalking the Popular Kids and Getting More TrafficMy Profile

Daniel Cuttridge
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 5:30 am

You know the thing is with link building that you can get a penalty for just about anything. If someone links to you and they have a poor link profile it CAN hurt you.

It’s pretty mad, but I don’t tend to worry about blog posts.

If you need to remove it, most webmasters are happy to oblige!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 11:14 am

Daniel,
I don’t know why this just occurred to me but one thing that I have not been concerned with (yet) are the do-follow CommentLuv links that I’ve left on sites that have changed hands. When I do my link cleanups here, I often find domain names that are parked with registrars like GoDaddy. Those domains usually point to parked pages that are riddled with ads. In those cases, the sites have been taken down completely. So, any links I left there will be gone. What about the links I’ve left in the past on other sites? It’s something to think about.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tracking Changes to Your Website Blog and Social Media StrategyMy Profile

Mitch Mitchell
Twitter:
April 30, 2014 at 12:53 am

First, I seem to be following Peter around this evening; that guy’s back on a roll. lol

Second, I fully agree with him, though I word things differently. We both moderate our blogs so we’re not worried about the backlinks at all, nor leaving them dofollow.

Third, I do want to take exception with what you said about spam, and I’m going to use a guy Peter wrote about on his own blog. I don’t believe CommentLuv attracts spam at all. I think posts about pretty much anything can attract spam, especially on older blogs, which I have. The thing is I not only use GASP and Akismet, but I also have all comments turned off after 180 days. Most spam goes after older articles, so I really get little spam, less than 10 a day, sometimes less than 5. At over 1,500 posts, I think that’s pretty good management.

Sure, some of the older links may have gotten through because when I started out I didn’t know as much about looking at bad links. But most of those links are gone now, and I’m not worried about any that survived.

When we worry too much about how someone else is treating us and our properties we start making mistakes of some kind and that never works. I’ve had my page rank taken away in the past and now I don’t even chart it anymore, though I know it came back a couple of years ago. If we stay true to ourselves, build an audience of loyal readers, monitor our blogs and do the best we can do across the board… I think that’s enough. At least it will be for me and all my blogs. 😉
Mitch Mitchell recently posted..15 Lessons From 1,500 Blog PostsMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Hi Mitch,
It’s great to see you here . I moderate comments too. What I find the most time consuming is having to go back through years of comments to make sure that domain names haven’t fallen into the hands of spammers.

As for CommenLuv attracting spam, I’ll modify my statement to say that the do-follow tag in CommentLuv attracts spam. One of the clients I work with reached the point where she disabled the CommentLuv function of the plugin and left the G.A.S.P., TwitterLink and ReplyMe functions enabled. Even with both G.A.S.P. and Akismet installed, she was still getting upwards of 50 to 100 spam comments daily.

Granted, this was months ago (about the time that Andy Bailey was dealing with the same issue and before he had published his Anti-Backlink plugin). We did not try turning off comments on posts after 180 days. I’ll keep that idea in mind for the future but I’d be reluctant to do that on my blog because I still get a lot of traction out of older posts.

I congratulate you on getting so little spam. I have mine under control now too but I had to turn G.A.S.P. off on my blog. I encountered some sort of weird issue and people suddenly could not leave comments at all. I finally tracked the error message down to G.A.S.P. Ileane Smith had mentioned that she was using the Anti-Spam plugin on her blog. I tried it here and (so far) I’m happy with it.

Staying true to yourself, building an audience of loyal readers, monitoring our blogs and doing the best we can sounds good to me Mitch! Thanks so much for sharing your insight with us and becoming part of the conversation. I’ll be by to visit your blog again as soon as I can. As I mentioned in my reply to Peter, I’m still not caught up replying to all of the comments that were left for me on my guest post over at Adrienne’s. She really has an engaged community over there!

Mitch Mitchell
Twitter:
April 30, 2014 at 10:03 pm

Sherryl, I just wanted to make clear that when I say I moderate comments, I don’t mean that comments won’t show until they’re moderated, although there’s some glitch on my site where, if people are using Chrome and commenting their comments are going into the spam filter first. I mean I look at all comments, those that end up in spam, those that pass through without going into the spam filter, look at the links to see if they look “quality”, and if the comments are good but the links aren’t I’ll remove the links. If the comments aren’t great I remove the comments and don’t look back because almost never have any of those folks come back again.

I’ll admit I haven’t always done it, but it’s a lesson you hope to quickly learn.
Mitch Mitchell recently posted..Titles; The Importance, The Sublime, And The So What…My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 10:50 am

Mitch, I’m doing the same thing as you. After one comment is approved, they are automatically published but I still check out the links (except for bloggers like you who I trust).

I have a similar glitch on my site. The comments from at least two trusted bloggers consistently end up in spam. (I’m not sure if they’re using Chrome or not.) At one time, this issue was affecting 6 or 7 people but it was resolved with all but two.

I ran into a bit of a dilemma this week. Someone who has never commented here before left a comment that looks like spam. I thought I recognized their name. So, I checked my guest post on Adrienne’s blog and sure enough that person had commented on my post and had engaged quite nicely with us in the comments there but what they left for me is: “That’s a perfect article, well explained. Thanks for sharing this post.”

They also left a link to a blog post that normally, I would allow. (This is a blogger who really should know better.) As much as I’d like to approve that comment. I haven’t. (It looks spammy.) I keep shaking my head at it (which isn’t helping 🙂 ). Would you post it?

Mitch Mitchell
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 6:33 pm

No, I wouldn’t post it. If it was someone who’d been commenting on my blog for a long time I would, but as a first comment… nope.
Mitch Mitchell recently posted..5 Commenting CourtesiesMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Thanks Mitch. That was my first instinct. I wonder why he chose to leave a throw away comment here. Oh well. Thanks for dropping by. I’m off now to see what the 5 commenting courtesies are. 🙂

Peter April 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm

OK, firstly, if I am going to have any conversation about a post I have written it will be on my blog not on some social media site.

Secondly, I’m going to keep my blog do follow and CommentLuv enabled regardless of what the current trend is or of what people are imagining are Googles intentions.

I honestly believe that Google is all about good content. That includes comments. Google wants conversation. So if you leave good quality comments on a post I don’t believe Google will penalise you.

I get a lot of requests from people who are getting penalised from Google. They all seems to have something in common. Looks like I may have to write a post about this at a future date.

As to Copyblogger excessive spam. Honestly, why would you let so much spam slip through. I deal with mine on a daily basis. I plan to keep my blogs as spam free as possible.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Peter,
Your first sentence, struck a chord with me. If the conversation is on our blogs, we own the content. I understand that and agree with you. I certainly don’t advocate closing comments on blogs unless there are reasons to do so. (For example, in CopyBloggers case where they were receiving so much spam that it was requiring a large amount of resources to manage it.)

As for keeping your blog do-follow and CommentLuv enabled, good for you! That’s my intention too. However, while it’s my intention, I still have concerns. While I would like to believe that Google is about good content, I also believe that their main motivation is the bottom-line. The fact that respected bloggers are being de-indexed and left to their own devices to figure out why their links have been deemed “unnatural” is disconcerting.

A lot of people are no-following links and directing their resources to taking preventive measures when there’s so much confusion as to what we should and should not be doing. The general consensus among many of the bloggers who I’m connected to is to concentrate on building relationships and work on being in a position where you’re not reliant on organic search traffic.

As for CopyBlogger, my understanding is that they identified (and blocked) 96% of their comments as spam. The 130,000 comments that they published (over a period of 8 years) were the ones that they determined to not be spam. I honestly don’t blame them for closing their comments. Spam is an incredible time waster.

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your insight with us. If you do write that post, would you please come back, tell us about it and leave a (do-follow enabled) CommentLuv link?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..How Safe Are Your Backlinks? #FridayFindsMy Profile

Peter April 29, 2014 at 10:44 pm

Sherryl, I also get a lot of spam. Some is dealt with by GASP, the majority by Akismet. Some that get through are left by humans who just don’t seem to want to learn what good commenting is all about. That or they’re newbies who are still on a learning curve. One of the reasons why I write a post on good commenting every now and again.

Sure, memory not withstanding, I’ll be sure to let you know 😉
Peter recently posted..Is CommentLuv Bad For SEOMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hi Peter,
I’m so glad to see that you left a link to your blog. (I had already tracked down your site and started sharing for you.) I’ll be by to visit your blog and comment (hopefully) in the near future. Between my regular work and all the comments I got on my guest post at Adrienne’s blog, I am really behind on my replies.

I know I caused a little bit of confusion in that post (when I said that I don’t reciprocate all comments) but I do reply to all comments. (Not as quickly as Adrienne does but I get it done. 🙂 )

I’ve written my share of posts about commenting too and they’re usually well received. It’s a topic that a lot of people have an opinion about and anyone who hasn’t thought of commenting strategically will realize that they should.

Thanks so much for being part of this conversation.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

Peter May 1, 2014 at 2:33 am

Yeah, in my opinion Sheryl, there can never be too many posts on improving the quality of comments. I remember one post I did where I actually graded out of 10 every comment left in a particular post. Naturally I told the readers I was going to grade their comments and you’d be surprised how many people left crappy comments.

Just goes to show how many people don’t actually read the post. Morons.
Peter recently posted..Dreamstime And Making MoneyMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 10:57 am

Peter, That’s funny. That was a good idea to grade the comments. Yes. Some people don’t read before they comment. It’s crazy. Everything we post online is a reflection back on us. It’s best to not say anything than post something that will reflect poorly on us. Oh well! 🙂

Enstine Muki
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm

Hi Sherryl,
I did a post last week titled “Backlinks can ruin your seo! Here is how!” and I think we are in the same school of thought. I encouraged bloggers to apply caution while linking out or in. That’s still tough to control though

However, I think there should be a mighty shift from commenting for SEO links towards commenting for networking. The more bloggers you are hooked with, the more editorial links you get and that’s what Google validates.

I think the heat is still on.
Enstine Muki recently posted..Author hReview $70 blog commenting contest – Drop a comment for $70My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 11:07 am

Hi Enstine,
You’re right about using caution for both incoming and outgoing links. That’s one of the reasons that (sometimes) if I’m commenting on a blog that is totally unrelated to my niche, I won’t leave a CommentLuv link. I don’t want to give Google any reason for deeming my links unnatural.

Last year, after I got whacked with the Google algorithm changes, I checked my Google Webmaster Tools and discovered over incoming 1,200 links from one spammy site. So, that’s something that bloggers need to remember to check.

Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by and weigh in on this.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

Paul April 28, 2014 at 11:08 am

Even though my blog has been quite inactive due to a heavy workload, I still get spam comments. Interestingly, I’ve had 3 link removal requests in the last couple months as well. Since it didn’t take much time, I went ahead and complied. Although I have been short on blogging and promotion in the last year or so, I still keep up a bit with the latest SEO developments. Right now I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve seen Google in a bigger state of confusion. Their changes have been all over the board, and most folks I’ve talked to have little more than a vague idea of what works anymore. How to construct links, what kind of anchoring if any is correct, dings from bad back links, its all just a complete mess. IMO, Google is moving towards a contraction with making their indexing such a minefield. There’ll come a point where folks no longer tailor to Google, and instead just begin a wider program of building to appeal to all.

BTW, nofollow doesn’t affect whether bots visit or index, it simply is supposed to strip authority from the link.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 1:36 pm

Hi Paul,
It’s good to see you again. I knew you were keeping a somewhat low profile lately. I’m glad to hear it’s because you have a lot of work! (That keeps you out of trouble right? 🙂 )

I average about 4 link removal requests a month. I always comply and usually I thank them for letting me know. I usually think the links are doing more harm to me than they are to the site that’s requesting the removal, so, I’m more than happy to oblige.

Recently, I read in someone’s comments from a blogger who charges to remove the link and another blogger thought it was a good suggestion. That doesn’t seem right to me though. I think it was because the link was left on the blogger’s site therefore, he wanted to be reimbursed for his time/effort to remove it. Could there be another revenue stream here? (I’m just kidding but who knows?)

I agree with you about Google being in a state of confusion. Personally, I think they’re acting like bullies. It sure is providing a lot of fodder for blog articles and discussion but it’s causing a lot of anxiety too.

Thanks for the clarification about the nofollow Paul and thanks for taking the time from your busy schedule to weigh in on this.

Susan Cooper
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 3:59 pm

All this stuff worries me. Google is about 40% of my traffic. I am pretty small but I do worry about a negative Google action. I try hard to avoid things that could be an issue but who knows what is right or wrong these days with all the changes Google keeps making. All this does make you wonder if they even want us online.

In the end, I need to do what I think is best and then HOPE for the best… Sigh!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 9:38 pm

I’m in the same boat Susan. Last month, Google accounted for 43% of my overall traffic. I honestly spend much more time replying to comments and building relationships than I spend on SEO. What I do for SEO is more of habits that I’ve developed over the years. Looks like I’ll be re-thinking my social media strategy soon!

“Hope for the best” . . . I hear you! 🙂

Adrienne
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I was so happy to have you as a guest over at my place last week and I think the conversation is one that has really been stirring everyone up.

I just watched Lisa Irby’s latest video on what SEO is for this year and she definitely shared with us what Matt Cutts doesn’t say. So there are so many things that Google is always changing to help them really make money because we know that’s what it’s all about really.

I’ve been going back and forth about this too but here’s my bottom line.

Everyone would love to get traffic from the search engines but the thing is that Google is more behind the big brands then the little guy. So what traffic I do get, it’s small. I would want them to take that away but that is always a possibility. I blog for the relationships it can provide for me because those are the loyal readers and subscribers who want what I have to offer. I give do-follow links in their comment “if” they are in my niche and their blogs are riddled with ads. I know that if I give too many of those to people outside my niche then I could end up on Google’s radar.

I have a love/hate relationship with Google and although I’d still like to stay on their good side I’m going to continue doing what I feel is best for me and my readers.

These are some great shares and I’ll have to read Jenny’s post too. Thanks for sharing these Sherryl and have a great week.

~Adrienne
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Hi Adrienne,
I was equally happy to be a guest blogger. You’ve built a wonderful community on your blog and I already recognize some new faces here. Thanks again for the opportunity. I’m sure glad neither you nor I were discouraged by Matt Cutts (not so long ago) post about guest blogging. 🙂

I still need to catch up on comments on your site. (I promise to reply to every one that was left for me.) Meanwhile, I shared a link to my post on a discussion about reciprocating comments and the importance of a commenting strategy on the Bloggers Helping Bloggers group. (That discussion thread was started in March of 2012 and it’s still going strong!) I guess it’s always been a hot topic and Google’s recent actions are exacerbating the need to learn as much as we can about it.

You mentioned that the percentage of traffic that you get from organic search is small. Would you mind sharing what percentage it is and how it ranks compared to your top source of overall traffic? I’m not happy about it, but on my site, organic traffic from Google is my overall top source accounting for nearly 43% of my overall traffic. (It also had a bounce rate last month of 90%.) My second source of traffic is direct at 31%.

It’s nice to have the organic traffic but the more I hear about well-respected sites being de-indexed, the more I realize that I need to beef up my referral traffic. (Maybe more guest posts are on the horizon for me.)

I haven’t watched Lisa Irby’s latest video yet but I’ll make sure to catch it. Thanks for sharing your insights with us and you have a wonderful week too!

Adrienne
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 10:02 pm

Hey Sherryl,

I think since I have done things differently in the very beginning by inviting people to guest post I wasn’t worried that I was doing anything underhanded. I did it this way because I wanted my readers to benefit and get to know other people who visit my blog. It’s worked beautifully and I think really that’s the way it should have been done all along.

Hope your group enjoyed this post too. It’s still getting more comments so you’re going to be worn out. My readers will do that to you but I love them.

Well here are my numbers as of today for my traffic. Direct 29%, Referral 36.7%, Social 26.7%, Organic 7.6% and my bounce rate is 13.64%. Time spent on my site is almost four minutes so it’s still holding pretty strong.

I prefer referral traffic because to me those are people who stand behind you and refer you to others. It doesn’t get much better then that. If Google were to hit you tomorrow you’d still have old faithfuls and to me they’ll count even more in the end.

Hope that helps and you enjoy your week.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..DoFollow or NoFollow: Heated DebateMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 10:55 am

Adrienne,
I like your idea of inviting guest bloggers. I’ll have to try that.

Thanks for sharing your numbers with us. They’re definitely different from mine. Mine are: Direct 31.1%, Referral 10.1%, Social 10.8%, Organic 48%.. Your bounce rate is fantastic. Mine averages to 81.33%. (There’s that 90.6% bounce from search but the lowest bounce rate I have is 42%. My average time spent is only one and a half minutes. You have a lot more comments than I do. That must contribute to the time spent.

This has been really helpful to me. I’ve been focusing more on referral and social traffic this year. I swear that I don’t actively work at getting organic traffic. I know I mentioned on your blog that I have incorporated SEO tactics into my writing. Maybe I should ease up on that a bit but optimizing my posts probably explains why my page rank hasn’t dropped. Not that a page rank of three is great but it’s been consistent.

Knowing your numbers has been helpful to me and hopefully someone else reading this will find it informative too. Have a great week Adrienne!

Adrienne
Twitter:
April 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

You can’t go wrong when you’re the one asking.

I know your numbers can definitely improve. You might not get the amount of comments but you get quite a few.

I know that so many people have told me that when they start adding more SEO their traffic goes up and that’s great but they have the same results you do. They’re not sticking around so you have to decide for yourself what you want to achieve from that. I know what I prefer. 😉

Glad to share, thanks Sherryl.

~Adrienne
Adrienne recently posted..DoFollow or NoFollow: Heated DebateMy Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 1, 2014 at 11:23 am

Thanks Adrienne. I know I can improve those numbers if I try. I’m going to continue what I’ve been doing as far as incorporating SEO tips into my articles. Even though organic traffic isn’t the best traffic, the additional numbers don’t hurt and the optimization I do has to help with page rank.

I’ve never been one to do a lot of keyword research. So, there’s nothing to cut there.

What I need to do is step up the referral traffic and social. Maybe I’ll start by thinking more strategically about what I do on Triberr.

David FB
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:48 pm

One point that hasn’t been brought up – I use a lot of internal links. In this post, you have 2 but I’ll often have 6 or 8+. And I want the pingbacks because it cross-references the articles.

Rather than redefining terms, I just link to an article about that. And in the article about that, theres a pingback to an article that discusses it. Makes for a useful bigger picture reference.

I have found that periodically, WP updates break the consistency by which they notice internal links and make the pingbacks. The current build often required repeated Updates before it finds the links. But even that doesn’t always work. Really annoying.

I assume if I set external links to ‘no follow’, the internal links would be too. Given this is the WWW, its lame Google is slamming follow links. That’s kind of the point of an information web.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 4:41 pm

David,
You raise a valid point about the importance of internal links. I limit the amount of internal linking that I do on my posts in my #FridayFinds series. My strategy is to feature other bloggers in hopes of forging stronger relationships with some key players. (For example, this isn’t the first time I’ve featured Jenny.) In addition to the do-follow link to their article and the link to their Google+ page, I also give each of them, a shout-out when I publicly share my post on Google+.

I would love to add more links to my posts but in addition to those two internal links, I’ve also included a link to my guest post on Adrienne’s site (which includes a couple of links back here. Plus, I included an affiliate link (which is something that I rarely do.

Thanks for the info about the recent WP update. I hadn’t heard that yet.

Catarina
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 10:46 am

As far as I’m concerned Google has gone too far.

They should definitely punish people who buy links or in any other way try to manipulate Google to get higher up on SERPS and a higher page rank.

Obviously AdSense and AdWords are important to Google because they make money from it. But that’s the root of the problem. And instead of finding a solution to that dilemma, Google has passed the buck to the owners of websites.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Catarina,
I so agree with you about this! You’re right. They’ve created the problem and a lot of innocent bloggers are getting caught up in the aftermath.

Paul April 28, 2014 at 11:10 am

Agree completely Catarina. They are hoisting themselves by their own petard.

Tim Bonner
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 9:02 am

I really like CommentLuv too Sherryl and for a long time had dofollow comments enabled. I actually turned those off a few weeks ago because of the problem with broken links.

I clean the broken links up on a regular basis but I figured that a nofollow broken link is better than one that the Googlebot’s going to follow and give link juice to!

I certainly won’t be closing down comments for a long time to come though because they’re the lifeblood of a blog like mine. If I were getting as much spam as Copyblogger get then I’d more than likely be changing my mind though. That’s a lot of moderating.

I know a few people who have received manual actions from Google now and I wonder when I’m going to be next. I decided to nofollow all links in guest posts too and going forward if I accept any more that will also be my stance.

I hate that we’re being dictated to by Google so much but I can’t do anything about it unfortunately. I have to play by their rules.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Tim,
I didn’t realize that you had turned off the do-follow tag. (That’s how unimportant do-follow on CommentLuv links have become to me.) You know, the more I reply to comments where we’re discussing do-follow tags and CommentLuv, the more I’m beginning to lean towards making my site no-follow too. Would people stop commenting here, if I turned it off? I honestly don’t think so. If they did, were they commenting here for the right reasons or simply to take advantage of a possible link for SEO? I’ll admit it. I’m still thinking about this one.

I agree with you about the risk of having a do-follow broken link versus a no-follow broken link. (I’m getting closer and closer to making a decision.) Also, I worry a little about receiving a manual web spam action too. I just know too many bloggers who have been unjustly penalized. It’s a valid concern.

Having a policy of no-follow in all guest posts should really weed out guest bloggers who don’t have the right intentions. I get so many unsolicited guest blogging requests from bloggers who I don’t know. That stipulation would probably deter a lot of those requests!

As always, thanks for dropping by and sharing your insight with us. I promise to visit your blog again soon. I’m extremely happy that my guest post on Adrienne’s blog is receiving so many comments but (as much as I’ve tried) I’ve fallen woefully behind on replying to them. (I will reply to every one though. It’s important!)

Leora
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 7:48 am

A few years ago, when my biz blog was young, I turned on do follow links in comments for a short time (a few months). It did great job of attracting spam. So ever since my comments have been no-follow. I am only interested in quality comments per post. If I got as many as Copyblogger, I would turn off comments as well. I encourage small businesses to write articles/blog posts, but they need tons more time if they choose to turn on commenting. None of my clients allow commenting.

I’ve noticed that what is hot one year on the web a few years later sometimes becomes a problem. There are no easy paths in life!
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Leora,
Thanks for letting us know that you started out with do-follow links and then switched to no-follow. Honestly, off the top of my head, I can think of more bloggers who have made their CommentLuv blogs no-follow than those who have kept it do-follow.

Having said that, there is a core group of bloggers (who I’m connected to) that still has do-follow enabled. While I don’t actively seek out do-follow enabled blogs, some of those blogs have such active communities that I find myself commenting there often.

I believe it’s all about the relationships we’re building. It’s never crossed my mind that your blog wasn’t do-follow. It doesn’t matter to me at all. I also don’t actively seek out CommentLuv sites either. (It’s always a nice little bonus when a blog I like does have it installed though.)

I just read the article that you linked to and checked out your example of a client site that doesn’t allow comments (NJPlaygrounds.com). That site is a great example. Thanks for sharing it and (as always) for taking the time to add your insight.

Leora
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Actually, I need to rephrase that – none of the sites *I’ve built* for clients allow commenting. NJPlaygrounds (which the owner built herself) does allow commenting on some posts. She has a great community. And I’ve done work for bloggers who of course allow commenting. But when I’ve built a site from scratch, primarily as a website rather than for a blog, no one says, oh, yeah, I want five billion comments. They all have enough on their plates.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Thanks for the clarification Leora. Your clients are lucky to have you working with them to explain how much work there can be if you allow comments. I have built sites where the client has wanted me to leave comments on pages such as their bio or contact form. It’s a personal preference but I tend to just turn comments off on most pages.

I spent a little time poking around on NJPlaygounds and I did see one page that had comments on it. I think it was a place where you could add a playground that you liked. I thought that was creative because they were encouraging their visitors to engage with them. That would be good for community building.

Have a great week!

Ravi Chahar
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 2:31 am

Hi Sherryl,

CommentLuv is a plugin to attract may visitors to a blog which has enabled it. There is a greater possibility that users will come to your blog regularly if you have CommenLuv or it’s premium version. May be it attracts many spammers too but with anti-backlink plugin it is safe from such type of spammers. We can go for CoomentLuv.
We can check our broken links daily with checkers.
May be it creates some sort of problem but by applying some safety steps we can have a safe blog.
Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend.

~Ravi
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Hi Ravi,
I agree with you on the points you make. While CommentLuv attracts more spam, there are steps that we can take to manage it. For me, so far it’s been worth the additional work.

Thanks for adding to the conversation both here and on my guest post on Adrienne’s blog. My weekend has been a mix of business and fun. I hope you’re having a great weekend too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Google Manual Web Spam Actions and Penalties #FridayFindsMy Profile

Jeannette Paladino
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 1:07 am

Sherryl — I commented on your post on Adrienne Smith’s blog and checked that I wanted to read all comments because it’s such an important topic — sort of sorry I did because I’ve been inundated with comments! It shows how concerned people are about the topic.

I took your advice and require 10 approved comments before CommentLuv allows a do-follow link in a comment on my blog. Honestly, when I leave a comment I’m not looking so much for SEO juice with the back link but to introduce a reader to my blog who may not know me. I’ve given up sweating over getting more organic traffic, which, as I’ve written, isn’t nearly important as referral traffic and direct traffic. I think it’s a nice way to say “thank you” to someone who’s left you a comment to give them a link, even if it’s no-follow.

I seem to be keeping up with broken links with the broken link checker plugin. I get tons of spam but it’s filtered out so I don’t see it and don’t check it. I used to in fear that a legitimate comment might be flagged as spam but that’s so rare that I don’t take my time going through spam anymore. Every few days a spam comment will slip through but I spam it right away.

I hate the thought that I can’t leave a comment on a site that’s unrelated to my niche. But I have become more cautious like you. Sometimes it seems like Google is running our lives.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Hi Jeannette,
You’re right about being inundated with comments from my post on Adrienne’s blog. Your comment is one of the ones that I’ve had time to reply to. (I owe a lot of people replies to that post.) It’s great that there’s such a lively discussion there.

You and I really do think a lot alike when it comes to our blogging strategies. SEO is not a good reason for using CommentLuv.

I know you have always held the position that you don’t sweat over getting organic traffic. As I mention in my reply to Igor (that I left earlier today), I do my best to keep SEO in the back of my mind. Even though (as you often mention) organic search usually results in high bounce rates and usually a short time on our blogs, I can’t imagine life without it. If you get enough organic traffic, there are bound to be people who will find you that way and potentially become loyal readers and/or become clients or customers. I know that while some of my clients have found me on social networking sites and others have been referred by each other, there are still quite a few clients who found me through search.

I finally am getting very few comments in my spam. However, for some reason that I have yet to figure out, your comments still go into my spam folder. That drives me nuts! I’m not even using G.A.S.P. or the Anti-Backlinker plugin any more. (I’m using the Anti-spam plugin that Ileane Smith recommended.) There has to be something in my database that needs to be cleared but I don’t know what it is. (Any ideas anyone?)

Google – the “800 pound gorilla”. (Oops – I hope I don’t get in trouble with them!) 🙂

As always, thanks so much for sharing your insight with us. I hope to get over to your blog soon.

David FB
Twitter:
April 26, 2014 at 6:39 pm

Hi Sherryl
I’ve found you can set CommentLuv to nofollow (they don’t quite call it that) in the free version now too. I’d certainly recommend that in light of recent developments. It might not help their SEO as much but the link is there if a reader finds their comment insightful.

Myself I don’t use CommentLuv here because my main site articles are unrelated content. I do use it when it is, sometimes selecting an older post that syncs with the topic more.

I also use a link checker plugin that notifies me of bad links, including in comments.

I can also note a Blogroll is no longer a standard feature of Wordpress but must be added as an extra. I use a Links page instead now. An even older approach. 😉

I’ve not had any trouble with Google spam action but did recently migrate my site. My old site is set to forward to the new one but I was surprised how much search traffic dropped off.

As for Google itself, it’s a moving target with regular policy changes. As I’ve noted here prior, the current action has a lot to do with fighting the consequences of prior approaches they’ve had that came to pollute search results. Rather than fixing AdWords, they’re going after sites. To me, search should be about content. Ranking may be affected by links but they need a better approach.

I’d agree how indiscriminate people can be about content – images for example. Or linking to pages where content is embedded rather than to the original content. Sometimes an article about is more useful to link to but I try to include the original as well.

As for comments, I know a few sites that have shut them down. Some sites where there is low moderation can develop a community that develops its own agenda that may conflict with the site itself. That can be very difficult to control once its established. In one case, they moved it to a forum then clamped down on rules. In other case, they did that first, then shut the whole thing down.

There is that sense of entitlement out there where people feel they can say whatever they want, wherever they want, like its a right or something. Some of the larger sites like YouTube are cracking down slowly on this.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:19 pm

Hi David,
I’m still holding out on keeping CommentLuv set to allow do-follow but since I configured it to only kick in after someone has left ten approved comments, it really hasn’t been an issue. Plus, if someone is linking to a site that I will never want to be associated with no mind how many comments they’ve left, I’ll remove the link from the very beginning. As we both know, strategies need to be tweaked as we go forward and I could potentially change my blog to no-follow in the future.

I used to use a link checker plugin but I have found that using BrokenCheckLink.com does a much better job for my needs. Besides, I run into enough plugin conflicts that I don’t need to add any more.

You have a links page? I work with one client who insists upon having a (very lengthy) blogroll on her site. I have tried to convince her to remove it but I can’t. In addition to the chore of needing to verify that those links aren’t broken and that the domain names aren’t associated with sites that have changed hands (and could potentially be spammy), her site looks cluttered to me. From a design aspect, she’s using the majority of a second sidebar for this. I believe it takes the focus off of her content. Each to their own though. She is convinced that it adds value.

Wouldn’t it be great if Google fixed AdWords?

I would hate to have to close down comments here. I actually toyed with the idea of opening a forum for members but I like having the community conversing here. Now, I’m glad that I made that decision because spam in forums is a big problem and if it’s not moderated appropriately, innocent bloggers can potentially be penalized for links there. It’s an endless cycle, isn’t it?

As always, thanks so much for adding your insight here.

igor Griffiths
Twitter:
April 26, 2014 at 4:24 pm

Well hello Sherryl, Google’s attitude to my online activities has little interest or influence on my decisions, rather I focus on building the community and connections that interest me and stretch my boundaries.

We cannot connect with everyone in a meaningful way so people who come to my site and leave a thoughtful comment will most likely have their thoughts published but unless they are part of my existing community or comment frequently enough to become part of my community its unlikely I will visit their sites. Comment spamming is limited on my sites as comments are only enabled for 2 weeks after the content is published.

I do not think that switching entirely the control of our community dialogue over to networking sites is a good idea, rather it should be viewed as a continuation of the dialogue after the comments become closed.

igor
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 11:57 am

Hello Igor,

I agree with your strategy of building a community. That’s what I try to do too.

While I focus on social media and engaging on blogs through commenting, at the same time, I keep Google in the back of my mind. It’s unfortunate that they wield the sort of power that they do but a significant amount of my traffic comes from organic search. (I love Bing as an alternative but the amount of traffic I get from there pales in comparison to the big “G”.)

Even though most organic search traffic results in a high bounce rate, visitors who find us that way have the potential of becoming one of our loyalist readers and biggest advocates. So, I try to make SEO a habit rather than something on my to-do list.

I have to say that I’m surprised to hear that you close comments after two weeks. I understand that spam is an issue but I would think you’d be missing out on the opportunity to engage with a lot of visitors (especially busy ones who could potentially contribute to the conversation and share your content).

Are you using the premium version of CommentLuv? (I just visited your blog and it looks like you do.) If so, have you tried the Anti Backlinker plugin that’s available in the members area. (The caveat is that you can only install this plugin on sites that have individual licenses. So, those of us who manage sites for clients, can’t install it on their sites unless they own their own license.) If you configure that plugin aggressively (for example not allowing comments from visitors who don’t have Gravatars), you can potentially eliminate all (if not most) comment spam.

I never close comments myself. One of the reasons is that I use the Tweet Old Post plugin and I have found that quite a few of my older posts still get comments (especially my how-to articles).

Thanks so much for dropping by and taking the time to share your thoughts with us. It’s nice to see you here!
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Comment for Backlinks on DoFollow Enabled CommentLuv Blogs?My Profile

David FB
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:36 pm

I’ve installed Tweet Old Posts but have not gotten it to connect to Twitter yet. I’ve sent them my log and am awaiting feedback.

I still get comments on old articles anyway. Depends on the subject but many age well.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 2:06 pm

Hi David,
I just got a notice to upgrade Tweet Old Posts to 5.5. It required reconnecting my Twitter account and reauthorizing it. Also, the minimum interval between tweets had defaulted to 3 hours. I think that’s a bit much. I had it set at 8 hours but when I configured it now, I’m going to try 6 hours and see if that will help any.

Is it version 5.5 that you’re trying to connect to your account?

David FB
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 2:45 pm

Yep – I just updated too. A big update. Had to change several of the default settings. It now connects to my Twitter account fine but the Tweets are not arriving. I also found that when I changed the timing, the next tweet time didn’t change.

I set it to use WP shortcodes so the URL uses my domain.

David FB
Twitter:
April 28, 2014 at 10:19 pm

They just updated again. Guess a few bugs in the major change. Still not sending, but I may have to just wait for the countdown… (which doesn’t match the setting)

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 9:54 am

They added bit.ly back! I’m happy about that. Good luck getting it to work David.

igor Griffiths
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 9:02 am

Sheryl, the main reason for closing the comments was to prevent the amount of stupid spam comments I was getting, I have tried before to install the anti-backlinker plugin but could never find the download link in the membership area, I will take another look in a moment.

As you point out keeping old posts open is the better idea because some of those old posts maybe, putting modesty aside for a moment quite brilliant and evergreen.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 29, 2014 at 10:23 am

Hi Igor,
What happens to me is that I’ll start getting a handful of comments on an older post and I know it’s because that plugin had RT’d it recently. It’s a great plugin. I’m still using the free version but I’m going to check out the pro version.

Good luck with the Anti-Backlinker plugin. I loved it but I ran into a plugin conflict that was preventing people from commenting. I ended up deactivating both that plugin and the G.A.S.P. plugin. I’m using Anti-spam now. It does a fairly good job. A few spam comments have been landing in pending lately. I’ll get eight or more at once all from the same IP address. I’ve just been blocking those in my discussion settings. Compared to the spam I once got, this is nothing. 🙂

Roberta Budvietas
Twitter:
April 26, 2014 at 3:54 pm

I spend way too much time dealing with spam comments. I hate the fact that they seem to come from people who are illiterate, ignorant and just plain rude. While I too love CommentLuv, I wonder if it is all worthwhile. I don’t even begin to read a fraction of what I should let alone comment on it.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 11:18 am

Roberta,
You own your own license of CommentLuv Premium right? Have you tried installing Andy Bailey’s Anti Backlinker Plugin? I was using it for quite a while and I loved it. The only reason that I stopped using it was because of a commenting issue that I couldn’t resolve.

(For the record, I had to disable the G.A.S.P. component too. Andy was terrific trying to help me troubleshoot the issue. He even replicated my database on his test server and he couldn’t duplicate the issue. It’s very possible that the problem lies with the server that my site is hosted with.)

Anyways, if you haven’t tried the Anti Backlinker plugin to combat spam, I would give it a shot. It’s available for download in the member area. The one tweak that made the most significant difference on my blog was to configure it to not accept comments from anyone doesn’t have a Gravatar. I know, that’s a bold decision but you’ll be surprised how much spam it eliminates.

David FB
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:39 pm

On not accepting comments without a Gravatar, I’d say it depends on your audience. You serve active bloggers who have usually figured that one out. My audience is all over the map. Many don’t have a Gravatar so I could not use that standard.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 12:46 pm

David,
I struggled with that decision for a long time. Actually, I’ve talked about the importance of setting up a Gravatar and how easy it is to do in quite a few of my posts in the past. It does depend on your audience and also how much time you’re spending on spam. When I mad that decision, I was getting hundreds of spam comments daily and the vast majority did not have Gravatars and were often all originating from the same IP address. I was diligently blocking those addresses but I as getting overwhelmed.

Diana
Twitter:
April 26, 2014 at 3:11 pm

Great write-up, Sherryl! I start feeling uncomfortable always being the first to the party here but if i don;t leave a comment now, i will not remember to come back and do it later when someone else has opened the discussion 😀

I enjoyed your guest post over at Adrienne’s blog – i have no yet gone through all the hundred+ comments there but i wanted to say i appreciated that post. It validates all that i have as understanding about blog commenting in general.

I have never been a fan of CommentLuv (free or premium) as the idea of leaving a comment for a backlink and reciprocating comments for the reciprocation itself puts me off – actually, the 5 pros you mention in that blog post are really 5 pros for leaving a comment, not for reciprocating a comment.

I don’t know – it’s a fine line and a matter of perception, i guess 🙂
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 27, 2014 at 10:52 am

Diana,
Please don’t ever feel uncomfortable being the first to start the discussion. I really appreciate all of the comments here and it makes me smile when I start seeing them come in.

Thanks for letting me know that you enjoyed my post on Adrienne’s blog. That was a post that I had started writing for here and as it grew, I decided to share it with her readers and then link to it.

I agree that the 5 pros that I mentioned (in my guest post) apply to commenting in general not necessarily reciprocating comments.

As for CommentLuv, I agree with you that using it for backlinks is not a good idea if you’re looking at it from an SEO point of view. (As I mentioned, it can end up hurting you.) To me, the value of CommentLuv is that it can be a very useful tool if you’re interested in building a community. It’s an incentive to loyal readers and it’s a great to discover new content.

I often find myself visiting blogs (like Adrienne’s) and doing a day’s worth of commenting simply by clicking on the links left in the comments. For one thing, I trust that the blogger has already vetted the content and I won’t be wasting my time going to spammy sites. It’s a great way to be reminded of blogs that I haven’t been to in a while as well as discovering new ones.

Honestly, I don’t use a RSS reader any more and I only subscribe to a handful of blogs. Instead, I rely on CommentLuv links left on blogs that I highly respect (and Triberr . . . I discover new content there as well).

Thanks for kicking off the discussion! I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.

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