Regular readers of this blog will have noticed i have a You Comment I Follow image in the comments area and most posts have the message : "This Blog is Do-Follow - when you comment here it helps Your Blogs Google rank !"
This has lead to a few questions mainly :
-What does Do-Follow mean ?
-Is My Blog Do-Follow ?
-Should my blog be Do-Follow ?
-How does commenting on a Do-Follow blog improve my blogs Google rank ?
In this post i will explain what "Do Follow" is, how it works, how to make your blog Do Follow and a very interesting exercise of going on a "Do-Follow Road Trip" (Just made that phrase up very clever) to improve your blogs Google rank, Page rank and increase the amount of visitors to your blog.
Sounds Good - Getting Started
I have posted an update on this subject, i recommend you read this post first then the update here - An Updated Look At Do-Follow And No-Follow Comments.
First up, this is a post i wasn't sure if i should write for a number of reasons but mainly because like with every good deed, some people (the minority) will see another way to spam and piss off a lot of hard working Bloggers.But i feel it's unfair on new bloggers to not let them know some of the little tricks others are doing to give their Blog a Boost.
This post goes into detail on every area of the subject, if your new to blogging you should take it all in if your more experienced you can pick the info relevant to your needs.
So lets first look at Links or back links
A back link is a link from a web page to your blog, it may be someone mentioning your blog with a link in a post "Hey i just read a great post by John Click Here to see it" , someone adding you blog as one of their favorites in their sidebar or Footer, or anywhere on the web that there is a link to your blog or any page of your blog would be a back link.
Every link on every website, blog and web page gets crawled by search engines (For this post from here on i will use Google as the example search engine).When Google crawl a web page and pick up a link to your blog they use this link like a badge recommending your blog.
The more links they find to your blog around the web, they take as more people recommending your blog.
This has a few effects :
1. The more links to your blog the higher your blog will rank in search results
2. The more links to your blog the higher your blogs page rank(PR)
"What is Page Rank?"
While i have a good idea of how page rank works, i recon the guys that invented page rank don't know how it works any more !
But the main thing to understand is that page rank goes from 0=low to 10=high with the higher the better.
I could go much deeper into this but why bother we know the main goal here and that's the more sites we can get to link to our blogs the better.You can see how many sites link to your blog by signing up for Google webmaster tools and registering your blog.
What Links Count As Back links
Of course not all the links will be to the homepage of your blog and a great example of this is from the post i published last December showing how to add a snow fall effect to your blog.That post alone has has been linked to 1,221 times, that's over 5 times more links than there are to the homepage ! That is not a problem a link to any page is good.
The image below is from Webmaster Tools updated 24-01-2010 :
You must also consider i only bought the domain SpiceUpYourBlog.Com on 16-12-2009 and did not get the Domain connected until Christmas Eve the 24th - so the total number of links built in 1 month at almost 2,000 is great.
Update - 10 Months On And The Number Of Links To Spice Up Your Blog Has Passed 30,000.
Update - Had a quick check in webmaster tools while updating this post in May 2011 and the way backlinks are counted has changed slightly.However by this stage i would say we are well above the million mark :D.Links found from sites using the blogspot sub domain alone stands at 425,025 and they find 737,430 links to the SUYB home page.Add in the links to the over 300 posts and maybe we are up to 2 million !
Before i got spiceupyourblog.com this blog had started with the address : www.Spiceyourblog.info.
Both spiceyourblog.info and the Blogger default : www.spiceyourblog.blogspot.com (both still direct to this blog) have built back links also, they are not included in the list above.
However every back link is still huge and as reveled in a recent interview with Google employee Matt Cutts back links in the body of a post are counted as more important than links in the footer or sidebar sections of web pages.This basically means if i was to link to your blog in this post that would be of more benefit than if i linked to your blog in my footer (Bottom section).You can of course link to Spice Up Your Blog to thank me for the hard work (Blatant Self Promotion :D)
Once again i could go much deeper into this but i fear some people could get lost if i do.
Links are also for clicking
OK so we have looked at back links and it is indisputable how important they are to a Blogger but we have left out the fact that people also click links !
So not only will a back link to your blog help your blogs rank in search results and your Page Rank but it will also bring new visitors to your blog who may like what they see and link to you and the whole cycle starts again.
Now your thinking this is great Paul but how do i get people to link to my Blog ?
Generating Back links
This is not easy and in a way i cheated because the snow effect gadget had a built in link so most of the people providing those 1,221 links don't actually know they are linking to me at all.This is something you see with a lot of gadgets you use on your blog and i actually include links on very few gadgets i provide here as compared with some similar sites.
Most of the 237 links to the homepage are links that people created because they liked my blog and wanted to share it with their readers.
There are lots of ways to get back links you may have heard of link exchange were two bloggers agree to link to each others blogs thus creating a back link for each of them.You can write guest posts on other blogs, submit to blog directory's, social bookmarking, article submission and many more, maybe you can share some ways you get back links in the comments.
Some people actually pay for back links, and a quiet good option if you were willing to spend a few bucks is permalinks.These links are be placed in a prime position at the top of a post and once purchased are there forever, they are sold for a one off fee.
This is slightly different to the normal link you may get in a sidebar or footer as
1. Its in the post body which is seen as more important by Google
2. It's in a prime position with some text, so it also works as an ad for your blog
3. Most 125x125 banner ads you buy in a sidebar (You can see 4 of those in my sidebar) are No-Follow (You will see why that's bad below)
4. Of course a permalink lasts forever.
(Update : Google Don't Like People Selling Links)
Links And Comments
Now were are into the heart of how Do-Follow came to exist, lets look at this example :
If i go to your blog and leave a comment i am asked to leave my Name, sometimes i have to provide my Email and i have the option to add my URL i add the URL to my blog.
(I know blogger works differently we will go into that in a minute).
I add all this information and write my comment.The comment is now there for all to see and my name or nickname is beside the comment.
What if i click on my name beside the comment ? - It leads to the URL i provided when filling out the comment form and that URL is my blog address so it leads to my blog.
So hold on..My name beside the comment is a link to my blog..that means their is a link to my blog on another site..that means i have got a back link just by commenting..
In most cases No !
All blogging platforms have the default comments as no-follow.This means that when Google crawl that blog they come to the comment section and are told not to index the links in the comments.So although i left a comment and there is a link to my blog on the page it will not count as a badge or a recommendation it will count as nothing.
And it's not only comments that can be No-Follow i could add a small piece of code to make every link on this blog No-Follow ! And one of the biggest websites online has already done this, do you know what one ?
Almost every link on wikipedia in No-Follow - So you could have a million links to your blog from Wikipedia and while it may bring you some traffic it will not help your blogs page rank or search result rank.To be fair Wikipedia was becoming a spammers heaven and they had to take action to put off the spammers.And the fact that making the entire site No-Follow stopped a lot of spammers just shows you how important backlinks are.
Back to the No-Follow comments, when people come to my blog i want them to leave comments we all love comments.So as an incentive i have changed my comment section from No-Follow to Do Follow, now if you leave a comment here when Google crawl my blog they will pick up your link and it will be a recommendation from me for your blog.I get more comments and i get to help the readers of my blog..Great !
I personally believe all comments should be Do-Follow because it builds a better sense of community and Bloggers helping Bloggers.Changing your blog to Do-Follow couldn't be easier so with that in mind we will get to the first tutorial.
An Update Post - 19 months after theis post was published some of my opinions changed leading to a follow up to this post you should check out - An Updated Look At Do-Follow And No-Follow Comments
The steps to make your Blog Do-Follow
Step 1. Click 'Layout 'Edit Html' Tick the 'Expand Widget Templates' Box
Step 2. Find the following piece of code in your blogs html :
(Click 'CTRL and F' for a search bar to help find the code)
Step 3. Directly before the code you found you will see the following code :
<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl' rel='nofollow'>
Step 4. Simply remove the no in nofollow so it looks like this :
<a expr:href='data:comment.authorUrl' rel='follow'>
Once you have made that change save your template and your blog is now a Do-Follow Blog.
I will give you 7 Do-Follow image codes (including the one at the top of the post) to display on your blog at the bottom of the this post so you can let people know your blog is Do-Follow.
Don't Link To Your Profile
So you now understand how No-Follow and Do-Follow work and you know that leaving comments on Do-Follow blogs will go a long way to helping your blog, but apart from changing your blog to Do-Follow what more can you do with this information.
First and this is Huge !
When you comment on a Blog hosted on blogger like this one, you usually comment using your Blogger / Google user name, most of the time you are already logged in and your user name is showing on the drop down menu as mine is below :
If you leave a comment with your Blogger / Google user name then the link when your name beside your comment is clicked will be to your Blogger profile not your blog !
So your profile is getting the back link and that's no good.
But this can be avoided, every time you leave a comment on a Blogger blog use the Name/URL option :
Click the arrow on the Drop down menu and choose Name/URL as shown below :
And fill in your name or nickname along with your Blogs URL as i did below and click continue:
Now write your comment and you have created a backlink for your blog.
When you comment on any blog using a different comment system make sure you add you blog address.
Don't Be Fooled
And now we get to the part were we have to be careful because while all the bloggers including myself changed to Do-Follow to help the regular readers and to reward people that took the time to comment we are also opening up a portal for spam.
Lets face it if you could find a thousand Do-Follow blogs and leave a comment on each one, you have just created a thousand backlinks to your blog.
That is why almost all Do-Follow blogs use comment moderation - your comment wont appear until it has been approved.
So if you went to a thousand blogs and simply commented 'nice post' the chances are 990 of those comments will not be approved and you will have wasted a lot of time.I'm not saying that every person that just writes 'nice post' is a spammer in fact i have had people who have left that exact comment on this blog and commented as 'Anonymous' so they did not even leave their URL to get a back link.
The Do-Follow Road Trip
That's a good introduction to building backlinks from commenting.Most bloggers don't mind if the only reason you went to their blog was to leave a comment and create a backlink as long as you actually read the post you are commenting on, and leave a comment that is on the topic of the post and actually adds something to the conversation.
So were you to comment on this post instead of writing
Try to show you have read the post and of course Big Up the author, how about this :
"I wasn't sure about Do-Follow and how it works thanks for taking the time to explain it in more detail.I have not yet changed my blog to Do-Follow but thanks to this post i will seriously consider it now - Thanks John"
You have shown that you at least looked at the main points of the post and you have done something every blogger loves - You praised them, lets face it we are all vein and love to be told how great we are.If you tell a blogger in detail how much you liked their post your comment wont be waiting for approval for too long.
Finding Do Follow Blogs
Your probably thinking wouldn't it be great if there was a list of Do Follow blogs ?
It's all about supply and demand and to that end their are hundreds if not thousands of lists of do follow blogs.In fact their are people trying to sell systems that will submit comments to Do Follow blogs for you.
(Don't touch them they are not able to submit to blogs with word verification and we all know the automated messages)
Should you use a list and go on a Do Follow Road Trip ?
I will actually say it : Yes - Some time when you have an hour to spare Go find a list of do follow blogs and start leaving comments !
But be Very - Very - Very careful what list you use and Don't use a list were you have to provide your Email in order to get the list, there are lots of lists freely available just Google 'List of Do Follow blogs'
How to make sure your comment is approved or not deleted
Make sure to at least scan through the post
Leave a comment that relates to the topic of the post
Make your comment a minimum of 3 sentence's
In the 'Name' section use your actual name and not your blog name
This was supposed to be a normal post but it has almost turned into an Ebook, i felt i needed to share this information with people new to the weird and wonderful world of being a Blogger.
As always if you keep posting quality content to your blog it will have more of an effect than all the links in the world.Whats the point in working so hard to get people to your blog if there is nothing for them to see when they get there ?
We have covered a lot of points in this post and if i lost you at any stage just let me know, the important thing and the point behind Spice Up Your Blog is that nobody gets left behind.
I would be interested in knowing how much you knew about the topics covered in this post and i would love to know if you made the change to Do Follow ?
You Comment I Follow Images
As promised if you changed your blog to Do-Follow you will want to let people know so i have 6 images you can use below.
Image 1 Code.
Image 2 code.
Image 3 Code.
Image 4 code.
Image 5 code.
Image 6 code.
Image 7 code.
Did you take that all in ? Make sure to Check out more of our SEO Tips and Tricks for your blog.