If you run a blog, you’ll know how great it can feel when you get a comment from one of your readers thanking you for your advice or continuing the discussion. But when was the last time you left a comment on somebody else’s blog post?

Marketing your small business and building high-quality links is a multi-faceted approach, and blog commenting can be a great way to boost traffic, gain links and position yourself as an authority figure in your industry. Below, we’ve rounded up the reasons why.

It helps you build relationships

If you want to market your small business online, relationship-building and networking are important. That’s where blog commenting can come in.

We’re going to be best friends.

Create a list of bloggers that you look up to or want to build relationships with, and visit their websites on a regular basis to see what new content they’ve added.

If you want to share your thoughts, add your knowledge to the discussion or simply let them know that you think they did a great job, leave a comment and see what happens.

A single comment isn’t going to change the world, but if you go back to the same website month after month and leave useful, valuable comments and get involved in discussions, the blogger or website owner is going to be more likely to remember your name.

From that, they may connect with you on LinkedIn, recommend your services to their contacts, mention you in one of their blog posts or ask you to submit a guest blog.

Doing the hard work often pays off in ways you might not expect.

Blog commenting offers some traffic

You’re not going to bring in thousands of new visitors to your website overnight by commenting on other people’s blogs, but you can get some referral traffic by doing so if you produce high-quality responses and engage with the topic of the blog post.

When you write a comment that’s particularly useful, interesting or controversial, people will naturally want to go to your website and see what sort of content you produce.

In short, valuable contributions can lead to referral traffic, but this is an “added benefit” of commenting – there are far more effective methods of driving traffic to your website online.

Blog comments allow you to gain links

Link building is one of the biggest parts of any search engine optimisation campaign, and blog commenting is a tried and tested formula that has been used over the years for exactly that reason.

Add a link back to your site, and Google will see that you are making valuable contributions to other sites. It’s as simple as that, right?

Unfortunately not.

One thing to bear in mind before you start commenting on websites: a link from a comment section is not as powerful as an editorial link, so you can’t use commenting as your sole link building strategy.

Google places weightings on links based on the position on the page and the tags associated, with comments carrying a relatively low rank as opposed to an editorial link or an author biography link.

And, to add insult to injury, several years ago, WordPress decided to nofollow blog comments by default on all WordPress.com and self-hosted WordPress websites. This is because spam comments were damaging user experience and search engine rankings.

Luckily, comment spam detection has come a long way, and comment ‘nofollow’ can be turned off by playing around with your blog’s code.

However, most webmasters won’t know how to do this and so your blog comment will only be rewarded with a ‘nofollow’ backlink.

There are some ways around this, though. Not all websites have “nofollow” enabled by default, and some even reward commenters by mentioning them in blog posts (allowing you to score a high-quality editorial backlink), so it’s worth commenting nonetheless.

And, a WordPress plugin can make it simpler for you to score backlinks if that’s your main aim. CommentLuv gives you a link back to your latest blog post whenever you leave a comment on somebody’s website, a feature designed to encourage and thank commenters, so commenting on blog posts from websites with CommentLuv enabled can be effective.

Blog commenting encourages you to read

Blog commenting offers much more than promotion.

It encourages you to visit new websites, consume more content and learn more about your industry and about content marketing.

Reading ten competitor blog posts about topics relevant to your business, for example, will give you ideas on how and what to write, encouraging you to up your game.

And don’t forget the skyscraper link building technique – if you read a blog post that has potential but doesn’t go into depth, consider using it as inspiration and create your own article from it.

From there, you’ll be able to outreach and find websites who’ll link back to your content and replace the outdated or underdeveloped content that provides less value.

Treat blog commenting as “research”, and it won’t feel like so much of a bore. Avoid blog posts on topics that aren’t relevant or interesting, and you’ll stay motivated when hopping from site to site reading blog posts and leaving comments.

Don’t let it become a chore.

Wrapping up

There’s no denying that spamming has changed the way marketers think about blog commenting, but it’s still an effective SEO practice to keep in mind if you want to grow your small business online.

Bookmark your favourite blogs, stay up-to-date on industry news, offer your knowledge and ideas in the comments section, and you’ll enjoy more backlinks, increased referral traffic and a chance to network with influential bloggers in your niche.