It’s not just about being online, or “doing social media” that helps your online visibility. Whilst conversation and commenting may feel a bit old fashioned, they’re actually a fabulous way to increase your website ranking.

Now it’s not just me saying this, I learnt this from Alice Elliott, from The Commenting Club, in our conversation this week.

in conversation with Alice Elliott, the commenting clubAlice has been studying blogs, comments, online conversations, and the correlation with website rankings for the last 6 years. Commenting went out of fashion in about 2014 when spam increased and caused the larger blog sites to stop comments on their posts altogether. Commenting moved to twitter, a micro-blog site, and conversations grew more remotely.

Many people complain about how social media is used for “getting at” others, and in some ways you can see how it’s happened. The art of conversation and commenting has been lost when people only see a snippet of someone’s views.

Tips for commenting (& being commented on)

Alice gave us many tips for commenting on other people’s blogs, on LinkedIn, on You Tube. The summary is below.

  • Your comment needs to be relevant
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree with the writer. They’ve started a conversation and you’re joining in with your view. On your own website, don’t be afraid of sharing comments which disagree with you either. It shows you accept others views
  • Allow conversation to happen naturally in the comments section
  • By allowing conversation, you’re allowing a community of readers to develop who will share your work with others
  • A comment can be a mini-post of your own. Don’t write more than 500 words, and ensure it’s not longer than the original post
  • When you add your url to your comment, use a url to a relevant article on your own website. That keeps the conversation alive and shows other readers that you have experience in the topic being discussed

Alice suggested starting with trying to write 5 comments a week on other people’s work as a starting point.

How does commenting improve your website ranking?

commenting starts conversationEvery comment with a link back to your website adds a back link to your site. Every relevant conversation to your website (and the pages you link to), adds a tick in the search engines box that your site has good information about your topic.

When you reply to the comments on your own website, you’re adding more engagement on your site, and that’s creating more links and visibility to the search engines that your site is an expert in your topic.

Commenting develops your reach. People may see your name in different places, and start to look at what you do as they agree, or disagree, with you, and they want to know who they’re talking to.

Where do you find places to comment on?

Use keyword searches to see who’s talking about the subject you want to talk about. You may already be following some blogs relevant to your area of work. There’s lots of different ways to keep on top of other blogs, such as Feedly, and Digg.

You may just set aside some time to look at interesting things and make comments where you want. Your online commenting doesn’t have to be all business related. In fact, Alice suggested that simply being yourself and adding to conversations where you want, shows you at your best.

You may be in a networking group (online or offline) where you can read each others posts, comment and share them. That’s a great way of reading a wide variety of content, and sometimes practicing your commenting, if you’re not too confident to start with.

Commenting is about creating relationships, so whenever you comment, think about that. It’s not just about getting the backlink to your website. How can you engage with the author to develop your mutual understanding? Could you cultivate customers through commenting?

I found our conversation fascinating – the whole interview is here.

Online Visibilty Workshop Friday 27th April

Book your place to learn how to grow your online visibility by commenting HERE

If you want to learn more about commenting, take a look at The Commenting Club. There’s lots of articles to give you a flavour, and with Alice’s support you may well want to develop your commenting skills.

We also encourage sharing and commenting in the Business Cheerleading Club, where members share their website posts for other members to comment on and share – that networking I talked about earlier.

What’s your experience of commenting? Do you enjoy it? Are you a regular commenter?

What #tipsforbusiness have I missed off this list?

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