SEO 101: Editorial Links vs Blog Comment Links

Not All Links From The Same Site Are Created Equal!

That link you just got from that PR3 site may not be the same as the one you received last week from another PR3 site…

Let me explain…

Even with the same anchor text, same follow status, and same site PR (page rank) not all links are created equal.

If you’ve been looking at link building manually you’ve likely seen a lot of talk about guest blogging and blog commenting as link building strategies.

Both rock – and work well – but are mathematically different. Don’t worry though you’re not going to need any calculus, just some concepts!

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True backlinks, as originally intended, are a link that one site makes, in the content of their own site, to content on a site they feel would benefit their reader.

AKA: I’m writing a post, Jane’s post looks like a good supportive post, so I link to it in my writing and Jane gets a backlink and vote of confidence to Google from me.

When I write a post it happens in the post body or post “content” area. Not only can we visually see this with our eyes but we can also easily tell this in the code. Anything that can be seen in the code is “known” by GoogleBot. This is known as editorial content.

As a site or post author I am one of very few that control what links are contained in the content body. A random visitor can not inject a link into the content body under normal means.

Then, I make my post, and structurally you can tell the difference between the content and the comments.

Random visitors come along and make comments and as long as I deem them to be of quality I approve them. So, while I have “some” control over the links in the comments… random people can now get links in this area of the post.

What GoogleBot Knows

GoogleBot is smart enough to understand that links in the content body of the post have a MUCH higher vote of confidence and intention on behalf of the blogger than links in the comments do (even if both links are dofollow). This is not a coding thing as much as an understanding.

If my post has a link to Jane in the content body I’m probably very certain that it is related to my topic and intentional. If it has a link to John in the comments, the link may only be there because his comment rocked and I may not even have looked at where his link went.

So GoogleBot’s understanding of link intention allows it to “credit” links that are in the content body… known as editorial links… for a lot more than it does comment links.

Value of Comment Links

Links in the comments – whether the URL field, commentluv field or comment body – are simply worth less than editorial links.

How much less? That’s a HUGE topic of disagreement among SEOs.

Some say it’s about a factor of ten (so 1/10th) and others argue that comment links are totally and completely worthless.

I personally owe a lot of my link-building SEO, particularly in the early days, to blog commenting and I sincerely believe that I found it beneficial… particularly when choosing blogs with dofollow, keywordluv and commentluv installed. (Commentluv premium contains these three when configured to allow them.)

I know many bloggers that share my experience. Now, I’m no hotshot pro SEO so of course I could be wrong, but my experience makes me believe the links are worth “something”. And something is worth more than nothing. ;)

That said however, guest blogging, which produces an editorial backlink, is certainly a highly effective manner of link building. Beyond the mathematical SEO it also serves to put your skills in front of a new and related audience and generate natural click-through.

Because majority of all commenting systems (excluding a few) are now indexed by Google, it can also benefit you to spend a moment SEOing your comment itself.

Value of Guest Blogging Links

Again, we don’t know how much more a guest blogging link is worth but certainly that it’s worth more than a comment field link. GoogleBot is well aware that the blog owner had to have intended that link. However, guest blogging takes more time and more energy than commenting on other blogs and has its own downsides in that regard.

Summing It Up

A combination of blog commenting and guest blogging is favored by many bloggers because it gives them healthy link diversification as well as being a good use of their time.

Hopefully this helps clear up any confusion you may have when hearing people talk about why guest blogging is “better” than blog commenting.

Are you using guest blogging or blog commenting as a link building strategy? What results have you seen from either or both of these? Share your stories below!

PS: Most blogs also know that the first link in the content body gets majority of the link juice. Because of this, many blogs accepting guest posts, require a link to one of their own posts be the first link in the post. When many other links are before your link in the author box, your link sees less link juice flow. (This makes it tempting to hunt for blogs that allow the author box at the top of the post!)

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