In Part 3 of this series, I introduced you to the 3 major characteristics Google looks at when determining the value of a link. In reality there are quite a few more characteristics than 3, but those were the major ones.
In this part, I'm going to introduce you to perhaps the simplest of link building techniques…
By far, the easiest thing you can do right now to build backlinks is to go leave comments on blogs. Most blogs allow comments on the articles, and most of those blogs also allow a link back to a website of the commenter's choice.
Here's a comment from our blog…notice the commentator's name is red (the color of links on our blog). That name links back to the commentator's website (although it could be any website the commentator specifies when entering her comment – more on that later).
So on this particular link, the anchor text is "Sandro;" probably not the most useful anchor text unless this person is trying to rank for the term "Sandro." We'll get into more detail about that shortly.
How to leave blog comments
It's pretty easy. Find a blog about any topic you want to comment on. Don't know how to find blogs? Try Technorati's blog directory.
Obviously if you comment on an article, you should make it a relevant comment…there's nothing bloggers hate more than people leaving unrelated or gibberish comments just to get a link.
When you go to leave a blog comment, you'll see a form that looks like this:
The thing people don't realize about this is that when you submit your blog comment, the name and website are combined to form the link. So, the name becomes the anchor text and the website is where that link will point to. So, let's say I wanted a link to our company Facebook page, with the anchor text "RLM". I'd put "RLM" in the name field and "http://www.facebook.com/rlmseo" in the website field. Pretty simple.
So, some of you may be wondering why the commentator on our blog pictured above chose to use "Sandro" as the anchor text. Many blogs, including ours, have policies that keywords should not be used for the comment name. The reason for that is any blog owner will tell you the vast majority of comments are left exclusively to get a link and don't add any value to the conversation. So, if you try to comment on one of those blogs using a keyword instead of a name, the comment will likely get thrown out. So, in those cases, it's best to use a name. It's not as good as a keyword, but it's better than nothing.
Many blogs are no-followed
Another thing to keep in mind about blog commenting is that most blogs add the rel=nofollow attribute to their blog comments. This is another step to combat blog comment spam. If links are nofollowed, commentators looking for a quick link are inclined to look elsewhere, whereas commentators interested in genuinely adding the article won't care too much that the link is nofollowed.
But wait, didn't I say Google doesn't pay attention to nofollow links? I did and that was mostly true. What I didn't tell you is that part of building a natural link profile includes building nofollow links. Think about it…if you're commenting on blogs because you're genuinely interested in the topic, you're going to have mostly nofollow links on those comments and maybe a few dofollow links from blogs who don't nofollow their comments. Google knows this and, while you don't have to match that profile exactly, you do want to add plenty of nofollow blog comments into the mix.
The good news is there are plenty of blogs out there that, for one reason or another, do not nofollow their blog comment links; these are known as "dofollow blogs" and you can find plenty of them to comment on by searching Google for dofollow blogs, dofollow blog directory, or some variation of that.
Why blog commenting sucks
First of all, blog commenting is super easy so that's great; anybody can start doing it fairly quickly. The downside is that it's boring, tedious, and not super effective. I mean, let's face it, we all know even most of the good blog comments out there are only dropped to get a link and I'd be lying if I said I cared about every article I've ever commented on.
The best strategy
When it comes to blog commenting, the best approach is to commit to leaving 10 – 15 comments per week at first. Just take 5 – 10 minutes a day and leave a comment or two. Get a good mix of do-follow and no-follow links and stick with it. It's not going to get you to page 1 by itself – although it might if there's very little competition for your keywords – but it will give you a solid base of links and move you up in the rankings a bit. Not to mention the fact that if you leave good comments on high traffic blogs you can get direct traffic from other readers clicking your link.