Surf the Web and Market Your Business at the Same Time!

in Getting Visible

Did you know that you can browse blogs and forums your target market reads for about an hour a week and be marketing your business? You can!

First, find blogs and forums that attract your target market. The topic should generally be related to your business in some way, but probably not published by a direct competitor. The objective in selecting these sites is that your actual or prospective customers are reading them on a regular basis.

Next, read through recent entries to find posts where you have something useful to add to the conversation – preferably on a topic that’s directly relevant to your business.

Your goal in your comments is to be as helpful as possible. You want to do more than add a comment just agreeing with someone else or making a generic comment. You want to use your business expertise to assist the readers. The benefit of doing this is that people reading these sites will begin to see you as knowledgeable in your area and may choose to check you out further.

When you add a comment to a blog post, you’ll have a hotlink on your name that points back to your site. Forums often allow you to create a signature containing your site address that’s automatically included at the end of each post you make. Not only do these links help readers find your site, they may also help you build additional links back to your site that search engines see and value.

The more links to your site that exist – especially from ‘popular’ sites – the better your organic (non-paid) search engine rankings will be.

The ‘nofollow” Tag

Note that some blogs will have the ‘nofollow’ tag set on their comments. This tag tells search engine spiders not to give the commenter credit for the link to his site. Blog publishers do this to discourage spam comments that have only the goal of getting links back to a site and not providing anything of value to the websites they were posted to.

While adding quality comments to blogs not using the ‘nofollow’ tag will help you with both readers clicking through to your site as well as search engine rankings, you don’t need to avoid the blogs that do use this tag. As long as you’re adding valuable comments, readers will click through to your site, and that’s who you’re trying to attract, right?

Also, the ‘nofollow’ tag does not stop search engines from following the link, it just prevents any of the weight being carried from that page to the page it is linked to; the search engine spiders still do follow the links.

Blog Comment Tool

I use a tool called Comment Kahuna to find relevant blog pages by using keywords I specify. It will show me which blogs use the ‘nofollow’ tag so I can decide whether or not to post comments to them or only to ones without it. I can specify the minimum page rank of each blog page and how many results I want.

Once the program returns the results, I can go to each page to decide if I want to add a comment. If so, the system will auto-fill my name, email address, and web site URL and I’m ready to add a comment. If not, I can tell the program to skip this blog and move on to the next one. I can stop at any time and the system can pick up where I left off next time.

The best part about this tool is that it’s free, so give it a try!

Forum Comment Tool

For finding appropriate forum threads, I use another free tool called BotSurfer. With this tool, you must find a list of relevant forums and input their URLs into the tool. It will then find threads within these forums that contain the keywords you specify.

To find relevant forums, just go to Google or Yahoo and type in your keyword topic: Online forum + Keyword

You can find this tool at BotSurfer. Check out the forum posting tutorial links at the left, too. While they’re oriented toward affiliates of Article Marketer (I am one), the principles are applicable to anyone wanting to use forums to attract visitors to her business.

It goes without saying (I hope!) that you shouldn’t post comments to blogs or forums that are just links to your site. They will be considered spam, almost certainly be removed, and may cause you to be banned from the site.

Get Started!

I put aside about an hour each week to comment on blogs and forums. You obviously could spend much, much more time doing this, but remember this is just one of your marketing strategies and don’t get too carried away!

If you’ve been using this technique, post a comment and let us all know how it’s worked for you. If not, give it a whirl and let me know what you think. And, of course, if you have any questions, post them and I’ll reply.

Julia from Fast Directory Submitter July 15, 2008 at 4:25 am

I’ve been doing some SEO for my company’s website and I agree that blog and forum commenting do help in link building and traffic generation. No matter if the blog is DoFollow or NoFollow. If it is NoFollow, one may get some traffic from a valuable comment.

Automatic tools that search for blogs/forums and allows leaving comments are great. I tried two of them: CommentKahuna and Fat Blog Finder. Both are good. But I stuck with Fast Blog Finder. On my opinion it’s more user friendly and has more features that may be useful such us the ability to highlight keywords on the page, the ability to show NoFollow links on the page an some others.

Rachel Lyle July 15, 2008 at 11:35 pm

I think everyones is doing this technique, just to have link on the certain topic that is related to the website that they are promoting, but I don’t recommend the link attachment. Because sometimes if you give a relevant comment the owner still put you on spam:)

Peggy July 16, 2008 at 12:04 am

Rachel,
Thanks for your comment! You’re right that this could be dangerous if it’s not done properly.

For blogs, the blog software will generally add your link to your name automatically, so you don’t need or want to add a link in the comment itself.

Many forums will let you have a link in your signature, but not necessarily an affiliate link. The key for forums is to read their rules to see whether a link in your signature is allowed. If so, you’re good. If not, you’ll need to decide whether you want to post comments to this forum without being able to have a link.

Peggy August 25, 2008 at 5:56 pm

Julia,
Thanks for the tip on the other tool. It appears that you sell that tool, so I’m not surprised you favor it! That doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking a look at, though.