Widgets, Blog Comments and Top Commentator Links

This is the first post I have had chance to write this week as I have been working on another project which has meant a great deal of research and content creation.

For those of you who didn’t know, as well as an SEO consultant I am also pretty heavily involved in ‘niche blogging’. This basically means I rank blogs on Google to generate income through ads and affiliate links, hey once you have learnt SEO why not make some money out of it and leverage your sites?

Anyway I may talk about niche blogging in later posts and my current project is not finished therefore posting at SEOwizz is going to be down to once a week I’m afraid.

What I wanted to do today is highlight a couple of things that may be obvious to a lot of my readers but thought I would highlight it for the minority.

We all have widgets we use in the sidebars of our blogs, whether its recent comments, recent posts, popular articles, friends lists, blogrolls, rss feeds or simply ads, we all have them. All these features help our readers interact with our content and our community, however recent comments and popular posts widgets also benefit us from an SEO point of view, let me explain.

Recent Posts

Yes most of us have the recent posts widget in our sidebars acting as a site wide link to our most recent pearls of wisdom, however having them there does so much more than simply helping readers find your newest material.

A common problem many bloggers face is getting their most recent content indexed quickly, now this can be down to a lack of back links or it could be that Google does not think the new page is important enough yet.

A recent posts widget puts a link to that page on every page of your blog, what could be more important than a page with a link from every page of your blog? The page will be crawled more and therefore indexed quicker.

There is another benefit to having your recent posts displayed on every page and that is, exposure. If you don’t have a recent posts widget then your post is only displayed on your blog homepage, but what about visitors that hit deep pages? They may only read the deep page and bounce, however if your most recent posts are displayed in the sidebar there is a chance one of the titles may attract their attention and WHAM!! They click through and a bounce is saved.

I still don’t think bounce rate is a ranking factor yet but it may be one day and having a low bounce rate is good for any informational site.

Popular Posts

Again having a popular posts widget is a great way to increase interaction with your readers but it is also a great way of increasing the value of your most popular posts.

Again if your most popular posts are linked to from every page on your site, Google will index them quicker and the pages will rank higher.

So you will be getting more traffic to your cracking content via search engines and obviously more traffic to the pages by having links to them on every page of your site.

What does this mean?? Well,, your content is popular for a reason, that’s because its great!! So naturally the more people that read it the more links you will acquire, the higher rankings you will get and more visitors will keep streaming through.

So in broad terms Recent Posts + Popular Posts = More Visits, More Links, Higher Rankings, More Traffic, Lower Bounce Rates.

Dofollow Blogs

Over the past month I have been experimenting by leaving comments on dofollow blogs and getting the site wide ‘top commentators’ links that give you a link from every page. All I wanted to know was, how much value does it have as a link building method?

OK…. The first bit of news is yes the links were recognised by Google and Yes my link popularity went up around 5% from 4500 to about 4800 ish.

Did this effect rankings

NO – but let me discuss this at the end.

Did it do anything in terms of SEO

YES! I noticed a significant increase in search engine traffic, in fact one day I had 500 visits from search, 2 weeks after ‘top commentator’ links were recognised on 2 sites. Unfortunately the increase could have been caused by other factors, like link age or long tail ranking increases, however the fact it came directly after the commentator links makes me believe this had something to do with it.

Now I want to talk rankings and I want to talk about it very carefully, this due to the fact I don’t want people to rush out and spam do follow blogs.

OK…. My rankings did not increase, not even one place and I believe there are better ways to build links for rank.

Anyway, I believe do follow blogs links can be beneficial for ranks if….. You use a target anchor text.

Now I am actually going to discourage blog commenting for SEO purposes for the following reasons;

A – Only the site wide ‘top commentators’ links are really worth it

B – Commenting simply for a link decreases the value of the discussion

C – The longevity of these type of links are questionable, to say the least (The blogger could remove the link or ‘top commentators’ widget.)

D – If your link drops out of the top comments widget you have to start all over again.

Let me explain point D a little better;

If you place a load of comments on a do follow blog and get a link in the ‘top commentators’ widget then congrats you have a site wide link, however…..

Google has this little aspect of their algorithm that gives weight to the age of links, what happens if you forget to comment for a while, get knocked out of the top spots and Google crawl’s the page and your link is not there?? (Most blogs are crawled daily – well the ones worth getting these links from are)

This will mean you have to go plant a load more comments and you are right back to the beginning with Google seeing it as a fresh link, I hope you follow that.

I am not saying don’t comment at all, but only do so to add value and when you really have an interest in the conversation or topic. I wouldn’t want anyone commenting here that was doing it for a link only.

Also if you are trying to build a solid link profile, these types of links are far too risky, you could see half your link profile vanish in days given the right circumstances.

Anyway these are my observations; please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.