Monday, February 25, 2013

Allowing Commenters to Back Link - Helpful or Hurtful?

I know I haven't posted in forever, but the winter sun doesn't really provide me any decent swatches and I have no idea how to set up any indoor lighting that will even be comparable to the color accuracy that natural (spring/summer/fall) sunlight provides.

Anyway, I've come across a topic that interests me that I think would be a good topic for blogger discussion. A lot of bloggers are pretty hostile towards commenters that provide links to their own blog. While it's really up to the blogger (it's their blog afterall), there are definitely benefits to the commenter who leaves their link but does it help the blog that the link is hosted to?

Bloggers are right to be wary of link spam, we've all seen it on our own blogs and had to block Anonymous commenters and/or require commenters use word verification to prove they are human.
Link spam that link to shady websites with scams or websites that link to people trying to sell you things can lower your google rating and result in a lower reputation for your blog overall. Allowing links in your comment section would require you check each link personally to make sure it isn't spam.

After browsing the web, bloggers seem to be very unclear whether comments help their blog in any way or not. It does, however, greatly benefit the comment poster who provides a back-link to their own blog or website. Most search engines, since about 1997 have been using an algorithm to rank websites by a mixture of key words and back links. This means the more sites that link to your site (individual blog posts and social media websites included), the higher you will show up on the search list for someone who searches for key words used on your post. The keywords come from words that actually appear on your website, tags are very helpful for this. The exception to this algorithm of course, are the sponsored links that require only key word matches and a decent sum of advertising cash.

Although Google may or may not have been the first to use SEO (Search Engine Optimization), they are certainly the company that made it most popular and changed search engines forever. If you care to remember, before google, web search results usually amounted in a whole lot of sponsored websites and adult websites. Google was even originally named "BackRub" for it's use of back-links to rank search results.

There is at least one option to help the blogger allow their commenter to somewhat safely back-link to their own blog, and this is called CommentLuv. From what I have gathered so far, this is somewhat easy to install on WordPress.

To use Comment Luv for blogger, you can follow this tutorial - Social Media Sasas: CommentLuv for Blogger. I'm attempting setting this up right now.

Note: I used the blog link above to install Intense Debate on Blogger and the only thing I had to find out myself was how to enable ComLov as a plugin. After installing Intense Debate on my blog, I went to Sites (tab on the top) and selected my site. Then I clicked Plugins (tab on the side) and found CommentLuv and hit the "activate" link to the left of it. On my next blog post (this one), ComLuv was enabled.

So, what do you think? Do you allow links in comments on your blog? Do you think it's helpful or hurtful to your blog?

I'm not sure if it's helpful to me, personally. But, I know commenters appreciate it and I appreciate ComLuv on other sites, so I have chosen to allow back-links.
Feel free to back-link to your blog in comments. :)