Copyblogger removes blog comments, and the marketing community take up arms.
It’s a divisive move, and one that’s triggered a heated discussion of truly ironic proportions (‘I want to comment on this… but WHERE?!’).
Personally, I don’t see the issue. It’s been a long-time since blog commenting offered anything of value to the marketing community – and Copyblogger are simply getting ahead of the curve.
[googlefont font=”Oswald” size=”25px”]3. Blog commenting is spammy, and it’s only going to get worse[/googlefont]
We all know that intelligent content marketing will take care of our SEO efforts. After all, content is king, right? We just need to write killer content, and the backlinks will take care of themselves.
Well, not quite. For the whole ‘content is king’ ethos to work, we need to have a decent audience from the outset. It’s something of a Catch-22 – to create a visible brand, we need a large audience… and to get a large audience, we need to be a visible brand. For most businesses, this initial SEO-hurdle was overcome by guest blogging; but Matt Cutt’s recent hissy-fit has reduced the number of viable link-building practices to 1. You guessed it…
Link-hunting marketers have been leaving backlinks in comments for years, but in the light of Cutts’ crackdown on virtually every other linkbuilding practice, it’s becoming increasingly prevalent. Copyblogger themselves have suffered as a result:
[box style+”1″]’In a little over eight years, Copyblogger has published more than 130,000 approved comments. Which is pretty amazing, right?
But over that period, that’s only about 4% of the comments that were left on the site. The remaining 96% were pointless, time-wasting spam.‘[/box]
By ditching the blog comments, Copyblogger are ditching the spam, and moving the real debate to social media channels. Which, actually, could prove to be a viable SEO tactic in its own right…
[googlefont font=”Oswald” size=”25px”]2. Social Media metrics are better for SEO anyway[/googlefont]
Blog commenting is a pretty lousy way to build backlinks. For hours of tedious effort, you’re rewarded with a handful of nofollow links that use the same anchor text – your name.
In other words, Google doesn’t really care.
By contrast, social media metrics are becoming increasingly important, with Shares, Likes and Tweets influencing Google’s understanding of your content’s popularity, relevance and quality. Similarly, Google Plus is, as you might expect, something of an SEO-powerhouse.
By removing blog comments, Copyblogger are making a declaration of intent – shifting the search engine’s focus away from their comment section, and onto the social media impact of their publications. Copyblogger’s social media influence is already huge, and this move is likely to take it to stratospheric levels – along with their search engine optimization efforts.
[googlefont font=”Oswald” size=”25px”]1. Social Media makes for better engagement[/googlefont]
For advocates of blog commenting, Copyblogger’s decision means an end to impassioned debates, and free-flowing marketing ideas. In reality though, the debate is only going to be improved by the shift to social media.
Blog comments suffer from a serious identity crisis, with users forced to engage with each other through a host of separate and confusing systems. There are anonymous comment platforms, that serve as serious deterrents to meaningful engagement; there are ‘SEO-friendly’ platforms, like CommentLuv, that basically green-light the spammers; there’s membership-only platforms, that dissuade the casual blog commenter; and there are community-based platforms, like Disqus, that aim to recreate the atmosphere of social media, and create their own blogging communities.
In other words, the best blog commenting platforms, at least in terms of engagement, are those that most closely emulate social media. If we want to get involved with the discussion, we could set-up a range of confusing comment-platforms, and attempt to track our discussions across a range of disparate systems… but personally, I’d rather just head over to G+ to join the debate.
[hr style=”3″ margin=”20px 0px 20px 0px”] What are your thoughts on Copyblogger’s decision to remove blog comments?