Comment Exchange: Is it good or bad for your blog?

When I first discovered blog comment exchanges in 2013, I was thrilled! I was a newbie in the blogging industry and having a couple of comments come through seemed to make my blog look good.

As a new content marketer back then, I tried to do the same for our company’s website to help improve our website’s searchability, but was then called out by my boss for doing so.

Apparently, instead of helping us gain traction, despite receiving comments from people all over Asia and the U.S., it was causing our website far more harm than good, S.E.O.-wise, and I eventually understood why.

comment-exchange

Throughout my four years in the web industry, I have learned that comment exchanges can either benefit your blog or harm it. For this very reason, I have pulled out of many comment exchange communities and stayed only in those that I feel my blog has better chances of doing well. Let me explain:

Quality over quantity comments

I used to love having to scroll down a list of comments but later on realized that many of the people that join these comment exchanges do not read the blogs posted in the threads.

As a result, their comments are either nonsense, have nothing to do with what I wrote, and worse, have their information wrong.

These types of comments don’t make your blogs look good to the brands you hope to work with for a long time. In fact, it gives them the impression that your blog has no real followers and have no real value to them marketing-wise.

You have to know that brands shell out money to get their products out to potential buyers. I may have encountered a few new brands who have no idea what SEO means, but believe me, there’s no fooling the big brands and seasoned PR firms.

Besides, the less knowledgeable brands will soon catch up and call your bluff.

Bounce rates and click-throughs

Your website’s bounce rate reflects how much time your site visitors have stayed in your website; while click-throughs reflect the pages of your website or blog that your site visitors have clicked when they visited it.

These are the numbers used by search engines, most particularly Google, to determine whether your website passes its standards for “quality.”

Obviously, an interested site visitor will have stayed on to read, watch your videos, and basically chew on your content and flip through your site.

There are other factors only Google knows, of course, but every activity on your site courses through to the search engines, which, via the algorithm (or the standard programmed into the system), translates and affects your site’s ranking in search results.

Now if the people who join these comment exchanges just come in to drop a comment without even bothering to read any of what you wrote, this will reflect on your SEO.

Online marketing firms and seasoned PR’s understand these statistics very well, and they use online apps and tools to evaluate a blog site. This is how, among other things (like audience, location, quality of posts, etcetera), many of them choose which bloggers to collaborate with for their marketing campaigns.

So if you’re wondering why other bloggers are getting emails directly from the big brands and marketing firms, it’s because, most often than not, their blogs are ranking well. And they’re ranking well not because they have a lot of comments on their posts, but because their site visitors actually stayed long enough in their sites and read their blogs.

The numbers are the least of your concerns

The reason why I’m blogging about this isn’t because I want us all to obsess in our statistics. On the contrary, my recommendations have little to do with checking our stats often.

Here’s what I know. We should always aim to publish good, quality content that provide value to our target readers. I believe that we will attract the right readers if we publish blogs that will resonate with them.

Promote actively and in the right places.  For example, do not expect those in the Facebook groups for entrepreneurs to be interested in your blog about your child teething.

And if you choose to join comment exchanges, choose the communities where those in the threads may most likely be interested in your topics.

Interested enough to read them.

Personally, I try to stick to family people – fellow moms, dads, homeschoolers, housewives and those who work from home, as much as possible, because I know that my topics have better chances of being read by them because they can identify with my blog.

Avoid quick solutions!

Take time to go through your blogs, use subheadings to subdivide your text, find appropriate images, use long-tail keywords thoughtfully, and put the right tags in. If you’re on WordPress, Yoast is a great free tool to help you out.

Avoid quick solutions because they can bite your rear in the end. Exhibit A – how many people have liked your Facebook page yet have never interacted with any of your posts? Did you know that your page’s reach depends on how much of those who have “liked” your page are actually clicking your posts? That’s a different topic, of course, but I’m sure you get my point.

Blogging is great, it’s fun and I’ve gotten a good social life out of it (yes, I’ve made friends through these comment exchanges and Facebook communities) believe it or not. There are a lot of opportunities to grow your blog, just don’t be quick to jump into them without weighing the pros and cons.

And if you must join comment exchanges, for pete’s sake, take time to actually read the blogs before leaving comments on them; and yes, expect the same thing in return. I know I do.

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53 Comments

  1. Now that I am in the middle of migrating my blog to my own domain (finally!), I am having a crash-course about all these kinds of technicality. And I find myself agreeing to these points with some being an aha! moment for me. I have to agree about joining comments exchanges. I tried joining one group and I had to go through about 50+ blogs and tried my best to leave relevant comments only to get crappy comments on my post. Didn’t join the next one on that group again. 😀

  2. I do not join comment exchange. But, I do leave a comment if the article is one of the things I want to know and learn. There is just one that keeps bothering me. The spam score. I realized, please correct me. If you leave a comment to a penalized website, you’d get a spam score? Before, it is zero, now, I have 4. I read it from Moz. Thank you.

    1. Hi Elisa,

      The reason your Spam Score is 4 because of your overall backlinks. Spam scores can be fixed, you just have to get better backlinks from good websites that are within your niche. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way with my dog blog http://www.wecarefordogs.com

  3. I agree to all these. I’m more on those who really like reading posts and interacting. I usually follow people through WordPress app because I’m a WP user and it’s usually there in the Reader, thatI find people interested in blogging (the old meaning of blogging where people write as a journal.Haha)

  4. Thanks for the insights, Mae! I was enlightened. It’s true when they say QUALITY IS KING. And we really need to choose our audiece because not only that we want our stories to be read but we want others to gain something relevant from our posts. Something they can apply in their daily living 🙂

    1. Yes! Even though our stories are personal to us, we must always remember that people read to get something out of it- whether they want information, inspiration or entertainment. Otherwise, why would they waste their time, right?

  5. I used to join a comment exchange group before. They have so many participants but many would not comment despite the stict guidelines. Sadly also that often, I got comments like thanks for sharing or they will.just base their comments sa picture. I stopped joining na coz I would always end up cramming. It’s nice to look lang there are many comments. I also didnt know it may affect my blog ranking. Thanks for this share. Something new to learn again.

  6. Yes, yes, and yes! I only join the MBP exchange since I know I will reach like-minded people and those people will leave quality comments in return. I only tried another comex group before, but it wasn’t worth the time. The participants obviously don’t read the post.

  7. This is confirmation that we need those that have genuine interest to gravitate towards our blog. Specific groups where we have the same niches are the ones I need to be active in. I guess that’s a reminder for me. 🙂

  8. Likewise, i stopped joining other commex where participants just drop comments without even reading it. I’ve received comments from people which is just way out of the topic and so i need to delete those kinds of comments. Totally a waste of time and effort reciprocating from those people. This is very informative and thank you for sharing this to co-bloggers… 🙂

  9. Actually, this is my first time to join CommEx! Grabe, I’ve been blogging for nearly a decade but ang dami ko pa need to learn. As in!
    There were scammers who like to comment on my blog with only their links. Kainis diba? I had to delete them one by one pa.
    Sana I can show you how gulo my blog is and hopefully, eventually, you can teach me a thing or two about SEO stuff, hehe!
    Great post! God bless 🙂

  10. This is a great post! I do commex once in a while and i’m doing it with MBP, I recently joined Moms Do Commex. I haven’t joined other commex groups and upon reading this post, I think I’m good with these two groups. I’m still new to blogging and seo and haven’t really tried putting emphasis on keywords and tagging. I guess I need to learn more.

  11. It’s my first time to join a blogging community and I’m so thankful na madame ako natutunan. I’ve started writing since 2012 pero I still need to learn all the technicalities. Ang main purpose ko talaga of doing this is just to share stories pero recently ko lang din nalaman na I could actually earn from blogging, which I don’t think is bad. This January lang din ako sumali sa comment exchange and so far I find it helpful and informative. Thanks for all the info 🙂

  12. I agree – We should always aim to publish good, quality content that provide value to our target readers. _ Ganyan tayong mga mommies eh 🙂 We write to share, help, and inspire as well.

  13. Thanks for this enlightenment particularly on the SEO part. I’ve been joining commex group for a while now and I did my best to give meaningful comments to each post. Didn’t know that crappy comments would harm your blog. What are the disadvantages of having too many backlinks? I checked my blog and it has a lot pala lols.

  14. I agree. Traffic has nothing to do with the number of comments. I have a number of posts with a monumental number of hits but zero comments, whereas there are posts with not as many hits yet have several (organic) comments.

  15. Coming from you, these are really helpful and syempre tried and tested since you based it from your experience. I think quality content and if it promotes conversation or engagement, then comments will come naturally.

  16. I’m also a newbie with commex. You are right, Mommy May. I’m so happy when I see all the long thread of comments but I didn’t know that has a negative effect also on my blog. Since I’m new to blogging, I still have a lot of things to learn and to know.
    I love reading blogpost but sometimes I don’t leave any comments..
    Thank you for posting this Mommy May, I’ll keep everything in mind.

  17. I agree. It’s not all about the comments and the stats. It amazes me sometimes why certain brands approach me when I know for a fact that my stats aren’t as impressive as other bloggers out there. But I guess what they like is how I present my content and my credibility as a writer. Sadly, a lot of bloggers don’t really care much about writing great content.

  18. Super agree! Around 3 years ago, I wrote a sponsored post for a client and received a really irrelevant comment from a co-blogger in a comment exchange. What’s worse is that it made the client look bad so I immediately deleted it. Sad to say I still had to leave her blog a comment lol!

  19. On point! I joined a comment exchange group recently and one of the bloggers commented something nasty about the brand that I represent. Funny thing is, she gave an opinion over something that she hasn’t tried at all. It was obvious that she didn’t read the article. I confronted her and she doesn’t think that what she did was wrong. Activities like this are meant to build each other up. If you don’t like the product/brand – you’re not obliged to say something good about it. You’re free to ask questions so, why leave nasty comments diba? LOL

  20. I used to leave comments too (for work), then I realized that it’s not working well for us. I rarely join commex, but stick to MBP’s instead. I like learning something new from fellow moms 🙂

  21. Good content is what keeps people from coming back. If they need something from our sites, they really go to our sites for more. I join comex groups that I know would be beneficial for me and I know I’m interested in. 😉

  22. Good quality comments are very important for any content marketing plans. Mostly when I do research, Google crawls information from comments. I’ve joined other groups before but aside from giving me troubles in keeping up with the commitments, I seldom get meaningful comments from groups which are not actually in the niche that I am writing about.

  23. This is a great content, everything you say is true. I have been blogging for many years now and sometimes I don’t even get comments at all. But even with that, I have gotten a lot of offers from different company. I had gotten few comments that i knew they didn’t read what I have posted/written because it was out of topic. Those the comments I just deleted and forget about it. Some I got to their blog and just return what they comments. On blogging i think it’s more of your content than collecting a lot of comments.

  24. Like you, I also choose the groups I join for comment exchanges. Sadly, I still happen to receive questions for which the answers are already included in the blog post/s. Obviously, the commenter/s didn’t read the entire article. Sigh!

  25. Irrelevant comments are irritating and they can be better off deleted or marked as spam. Great content that’s engaging and has a good conversational tone will encourage more people to leave comments and spark thoughts.

  26. Your points are so true! I’ve long since dropped down to just one (MBP) commex, due to time constraint basically. haha! Joining so many can really be overwhelming that you don’t get to give and receive proper comments.

    1. And right positioning. 🙂 You may have great content but you still need to reach the right people to be read.

  27. I join comment exchange because I enjoy bloghopping. I still have to grasp how it will affect rankings and all. I quit thinking about it years ago. Will have to study again how these things work.

    1. It’s really more about finding your tribe. I also enjoy blog hopping- so I read the blogs I exchange comments with. I expect the same.

  28. I totally understand and i was thinking along the same lines until you have words to the thoughts. But being a new blogger, one needs a bit of motivation and appreciation to get a boost. I am not a full time blogger – infact i’d like to call myself a seasonal blogger, so I kind of find it ok to have some comments here and there.. b/c not all comments are irrelevant. But yeah, once I start blogging full time – I will have to better strategize my marketing

    1. I didn’t say having comments here and there is bad for your blog. Only the irrelevant ones. Which is why my advise is to put your links in communities where your blog will most likely be read “and appreciated.” Someone leaving you a comment without even reading your blog is hardly a show of appreciation.

  29. You still join our Commex threads though. I hope you mean our group is good in making comments. Do you mean that if I see an out-of-topic comment, i should delete it?

    1. As a matter of fact, yes, Fred, I get more sensible comments from our community than bad. But then, I don’t always join our commexes, I only do when I feel that my topic may be relevant to most, if not all, in our thread, and have a “good chance” of being read.

      It is still to your discretion if you want to delete an out-of-topic comment, Fred. I do. But the point I was driving at is that the number of comments does not always coincide with the traffic you’re getting. Some blogs get a lot of traffic but they have no comments. It really depends on your audience.

  30. That’s a very useful post. I too pulled myself out of these comment exchanges long back and recently joined a few of them which were really doing a good job. Higher bounce rate really irritates me!!

  31. I agree that this aspect of blogging we have to carefully think about. Some of the comment exchanges are too random and doesn’t do any value addition to the blog post.

  32. This actually makes sense because even me, some of the comments I get don’t even coincide with what you were writing. I think if you participate in such activity, you might as well want to start with ourselves. Read the whole thing and give a relevant comment. Though it is still your call to join comment exchanges.

    1. Yes, Jill. It is always a bloggers’ prerogative to join Commexes. In fact, I’m not discouraging it, I’m just advising that you give careful thought to the communities that you are joining. You have better chances of getting more quality traffic and interaction from people who are actually interested in what you have to say.

  33. I work (virtually) in a digital marketing agency and yes, our D-PRs are very knowledgeable of the stats. The Domain Authority and Trust Flow, for example, are being analysed first before they send a pitch to that particular blogger’s website. So it’s not about just the comment exchanges per se. There are a lot of factors to consider if you want to really earn from your blog. This blog article is so informative, Mommy May! Thank you for sharing what you know! 🙂

    1. Oh yes! I totally agree. I just really wanted to talk about Commexes here since it’s become a practice for many bloggers.

  34. I join comex because it is my way of discovering new blogs and reading new articles. If I received spam comments, I just delete it, lalo na yung halata na di nagbasa ng article. 🙂

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