Update: 1/22/2013 – This post was written about the time Panda and Penguin were starting to make huge waves. We didn’t really have our hands around their targets. Although this is an old tactic that probably doesn’t have legs anymore, and could get you a date with a Google hand editor if you abuse it, it’s still somewhat valid at least as a general marketing play. If you are a full time content marketer, you’re probably still talking about comment marketing in your circles. Many marketers I know still claim huge value in comment marketing as a source of generating new relationships. So I still use this tactic – more so to find areas where a good conversation may exist (and I can leave a link that can help my SEO). That’s not to say I won’t / don’t comment on nofollow blogs. I go where the conversation is (with an eye to where my editorial comment could add some trust to Google’s algorithm). Google would be asinine to remove comment value all together. For those that play by the rules, that’s about as editorial as you get. Killing comments would be cutting off their nose to spite their face.
I submitted this tip for a chance to win an 8 minute presentation at the Search Church through SEOmoz. I didn’t win. Am I bitter? Hell yeah I’m bitter, but instead I’ll probably be sitting in the audience with a basket of tomatoes ready to peg anyone with a worse tip than this.
As a link builder doing white hat work, you know it’s about PR, the pitch, and the R&D (researching prospects and developing relationships). It’s time consuming, and takes a lot of organization. ”Did I follow up with that prospect? Did I just email him twice? Damn!” Sometimes you just want an easy way to get a few links. There’s always blog link networks… wait, scratch that. Well, there’s also CommentLuv.
What is CommentLuv?
CommentLuv is a WordPress plugin. With 73 million WordPress blogs out there, there’s plenty of people who might be using this relatively popular plugin. To get the benefit of this tip, you need to be visiting a site with CommentLuv installed. You don’t need to have CommentLuv installed on your WordPress installation, but you do need a WordPress installation. Yup – it’s a WordPress thing. Edit: Apparently CommentLuv will pull in posts from other non-WordPress sites. I didn’t know that. More joy!
Check it out on YouTube.
A site that has CommentLuv installed looks something like this, typically after the standard WordPress comment box.
Now watch what happens when I enter a comment, and use my GreenlaneSEO site as the website (that’s right kids, I use WordPress. Now go ahead and hack me. I have nothing left to lose!)
Boom. CommentLuv reached out to my WordPress blog, saw the last post I had created, and created this link. I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the blogger approves this post. And since I’m a white hat SEO (for this post), I actually took the time to read this blog post and comment with something that added to the conversation. I used my real email address so I don’t look spammy to the blogger. I even used my real name because I’m, well, cocky.
Why are some of the CommentLuv links nofollowed, while others aren’t? No clue. It’s blogger preference, and a setting in their plugin. If the blogger opted for the paid / pro version of CommentLuv you’ll get even more option available to the commenter, notably the choice of a few other recent blog posts to link. You’ll see that from time to time. That’s right – some bloggers are actually OK giving you PageRank in your comment links (hint – I’m one!!!).
A side note on submitting comments on WordPress. Some installations will clear the comment once you submit, and some will show your comment in a moderation state. I’ve even seen the CommentLuv link get nofollowed while in the moderation state. Don’t panic. Drink a beer and relax. You have to be patient and wait for the blogger to approve your comment. If you leave a stupid comment, prepare to get canned.
How Do You Find These NoFollowed CommentLuv Blogs?
Google, of course. Just ask the all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing algorithm who seems to get everything right but how to make use of social signals. Enter this query into Google’s search box:
inurl:”2012“+intext:”CommentLuv badge”+”recently posted”+”keyword“
The items in bold are knobs, meaning you can change them. So what are we looking at here? The inurl operator tells Google to return back a page with 2012 in the URL string. Wordpress by default likes to post dates of your posts, and since you’d prefer more recent posts (so you know the blogger is still alive), you can enter 2012. Or, you can enter in a keyword that you think will be in the permalink. For example, if I just wrote a post about stratocaster guitars, I’d probably want my link to appear in a blog post about stratocasters. More relevant link juice could get passed. It’s possible I’d enter “stratocaster” in where “2012″ currently is, that way I could bring up posts like http://www.jag-stang.com/faq/general/will-a-mustang-neck-fit-on-a-stratocaster/.
The next knob is the “keyword” knob. You want to dig up some posts with some similar keywords not just in the URL, but in the body as well. Enter that here. In the case where my inurl is “stratocaster,” my keyword might be “guitar” or “Fender” or “Eric Clapton.”
But we’re not done. By doing this you’ll get lots of potential (and relevant) CommenLuv pages. But are they fresh? Sure Caffeine is supposed to make the results fresher, but not as fresh as humanly possibly. But don’t worry. We have a filter for that as well.
1. Install a nofollow checker into your browser.
2. Use the search query I provided – tweak as necessary to find relevant blogs.
3. Scan the page quickly to see if the CommentLuv links are followable. If not, go back to the SERPs and pick the next link.
4. Once you find a good page, read (scan) the post and leave a thoughtful contribution.
Will this get you the ban hammer? It shouldn’t if you play it right. If there’s one thing I know, it’s how to get banned from Google (hey, everyone needs a hobby). But going into this with the actual intent of adding editorial value is what Google’s vague Webmaster Guidelines want.
If you wanted to go a little gray / black on this, there are scripts that can overwrite your RSS feed (where this info is being pulled) and change your titles so that the anchor text that shows in the links is more of a keyword. But if an exact match anchor text is what you want you want in your link, I suppose you could also just name your post with that keyword. Done deal.
I actually find this to be a pretty fun tactic. Not only do I discover good content, but I get to engage in conversations that are relevant to my site and interests. I get to find content ideas, and I get to archive some new potential link prospects for guest posts. I’ve created a shared Google Doc with a few of my close SEO friends where we share a bunch of the good sites that we found using this technique.
Happy link building.