Blog > Search Engine Optimization > Is the CommentLuv Blog Plugin Still Useful for SEO?
Is the CommentLuv Blog Plugin Still Useful for SEO?Published by Kenny Novak • Category: Search Engine Optimization

CommentLuv has been one of the most prominent comment modification plugins available for WordPress. It’s a unique idea in many ways, and no other plugin really does what it does. This post isn’t helping you choose between two plugins that do the same thing, CommentLuv and something else; rather, it’s aimed at helping you decide if you want to use it at all. It has some very interesting and potentially useful features, but it’s something of a risky tool; used poorly, it will destroy your search ranking.

So what is CommentLuv, what does it do, and is it worth using on your site?

What Does CommentLuv Do

Commentluv in Action

First of all, you need to know that CommentLuv is a plugin that only works with WordPress. It has two versions, a free and a premium, and they’re both limited to the one platform. This isn’t usually a problem – most blogs run on WordPress anyhow – but it’s something to know if you’re using Blogger or another CMS.

Obviously, the free version is free but lacks many of the features that come along with the premium version. Let’s go over what the free version does first, so you know what else the premium adds.

The base level of functionality for the free CommentLuv plugin is simple. It adds a new field to your comments. This field is automatically filled with the most recent blog post made by the commenter on their own site. The commenter has to link to their site through the comment account from Gravatar, or just through the field provided. While the commenter writes their comment, the plugin fetches the most recent blog post from that user’s site and displays it at the bottom of the comment field. That user can then choose whether or not to include the link.

Commentluv Plugin

In addition to needing to use WordPress to run the plugin, you also need to use the WordPress default comments system. You can’t be using Disqus, you can’t be using Facebook comments, you can’t be using JetPack, or any other comment modifying plugin. So, that right there also limits who will want to install CommentLuv.

Those of you who are somewhat experienced with SEO, or at least aware of comment spam and Google Penguin, will have a red flag raised in their minds. Unfiltered comments, with links, left from random users? That’s just begging for trouble! You’re right, of course; CommentLuv encourages users to leave comments, but it doesn’t have a minimum quality level for those comments. People can come in, leave “Great post!” in a comment, and get their link on your post.

There are a few things that help protect your site while using CommentLuv. One of them is using any traditional anti-spam system, like Akismet. This will blog the worst of the spam comments, but it won’t stop people swooping in and leaving incredibly basic but “legitimate” comments thanking you for your post or telling you how great it is. Those comments are obviously not valuable, they’re just being used to get that link in place, but they aren’t straight spam.

There are some features with the premium version of CommentLuv that further help alleviate the problem, but I’ll discuss those more in a moment.

You can also establish comment rules. Make it clear that basic, unhelpful, “great post” or “first” or other worthless comments can and will be filtered from your posts. You can use word filters if you want, though they can catch legitimate posts as well. There’s no real solution to the problem; you just need to moderate your comments carefully. For a small blog, this isn’t necessarily a problem; just set your comments to require approval and check them out once or twice a day. For larger blogs, with a lot of content, it will be a lot harder to keep up with the volume.

CommentLuv is designed to encourage a lot of comments from people by providing an incentive to post. If you combine it with rules and moderation, it can do a lot to build a good community. On the other hand, it doesn’t do anything to help encourage comments from regular readers. It doesn’t benefit anyone who doesn’t have a site they want to promote. If your readership is primarily site owners, great! If it’s not, well, CommentLuv won’t do a lot for you.

So, what do you get for your money buying the premium version of the plugin?

CommentLuv Premium: Cost and Features

Commentluv Premium

First of all, once this post gets older, you might want to check with the main CommentLuv download page to verify what I have to say. The developers of CommentLuv do like to add features from time to time, and the price could always change. Most of what I have to say, though, will be accurate unless something major changes.

First of all, the price. There are two versions of premium, but the only difference is the license. One – the cheaper one – allows you to use it only on one site. That’s the $67 version. The more expensive version, for $87, allows you to use it on as many sites as you want, so long as they’re all owned by you. No sharing licenses, not that doing so is a common problem. If you have more than one site, it makes sense to buy the larger license; the additional cost isn’t really all that much.

So what do you get with the premium version?

  • Expanded post choice. Rather than requiring the most recent blog post to be linked, it allows the commenter to choose from among several of their most recent posts, so they can choose a more relevant post or a post they’re trying harder to promote.
  • Social incentives. The commenter is able to link their social media accounts, like Google+, Facebook, or Twitter, and instead of sharing a blog post, they can share a social media post. This allows them the chance to get an extra link in an extra place, giving them more of a chance to kick off a viral traffic surge.
  • Advanced control over dofollow vs nofollow. I’ll discuss this in more detail later, but suffice to say that these controls are practically mandatory for larger blogs.
  • As a CommentLuv user, when you comment on other blogs using CommentLuv, you gain access to additional sticky posts. Rather than being limited to the most recent posts or social posts, as the blog controls, you are also able to choose from five hand-selected best posts to promote.
  • Advanced analytics. No plugin, feature, CMS or app would be complete without a bunch of analytics thrown in. I honestly don’t know how good the analytics are. You’ll have to try them out yourself and see if they give you anything you find useful.
  • Lifetime updates. The fee is not monthly, it’s a one-time purchase of a license, and it gives you unlimited access to updates when the plugin releases a new version.

CommentLuv Premium also gives you access to several other bundled plugins that go along with it.

  • GASP – This is the biggest of the plugins and the most useful for any blog, regardless of whether or not you’re using all of the other CommentLuv features. It has advanced anti-spam, anti-bot and spam hunter blocks. It also has some validation features for Trackbacks, if you choose to use those in addition to all of the other comment link shenanigans. It also eliminates the need for Captchas.
  • TwitterLink – This is more advanced controls over the social media integration for Twitter specifically.
  • KeywordName – This is another anti-spam feature that blocks comments made by users with keywords in their names. You can also choose to allow it selectively, block specific keywords, require users have commented X times before, and other controls.
  • ReplyMe – There are two main features for this. One is an optional email notification to commenters when their comments are replied to. The other is a redirect for commenters when they’re responding for the first time. You can send new commenters to your mailing list this way, or to another specific landing page.

The company also offers a number of bonus apps and courses, like WPMailAds, WP Auto Links, and an ebook of 15 ways to generate traffic. They’re all questionably useful, though, so I don’t necessarily consider them benefits unless you’re trying to heavily automate your blogging experience.

Honestly, there’s a couple of features that are basically essential. CommentLuv’s free version just doesn’t have the control you want to use it properly, but the premium version adds those controls and makes it much better.

NoFollow vs. DoFollow

Nofollow Setting on Commentluv

In SEO, there’s an attribute you can add to links called NoFollow. Links, normally, are DoFollow links. What does this all mean? Well, when Google indexes a page, it looks at the links on that page. When you link out, you pass a little bit of authority to the sites you link to. It’s sort of a vote of confidence in the quality of that site. That’s why it’s not typically a good idea to link to spam sites.

NoFollow removes that vote of confidence, making it safe to link to a page you wouldn’t otherwise want to promote. It’s typically used in comments by default, to eliminate spam issues, for example. Spammers don’t bother spamming pages they get nothing out of, unless they’re using mass spam bots that don’t care one way or the other.

That’s one reason I think the premium version of CommentLuv is so important; you get a lot more direct control over the follow or not follow nature of the links added to your page. If all the links were NoFollow, you wouldn’t get as many people posting, because your incentive is too thin and doesn’t give any real value.

The premium plugin gives you very nice controls over NoFollow. You can specifically require that a commenter have at least commented X number of times before the links they post become followed, as an incentive for return visits and repeated comments. You can also set it so they can get a followed link by socially sharing your posts, which gives you an added benefit in exchange for a minor followed link. You can also reward specific users for good comments, and remove the functionality from specific users for repeated bad comments.

The SEO Risk/Reward Decision

Commentluv for SEO

So, the question is, is CommentLuv valuable for SEO? Well, I’d say it can be, but you really have to use it properly. If you’re using it poorly – or just using the free version without any moderation – you’re just as likely to tank your search ranking as you are to find any benefit from it. It’s just another case of a risky tool that can bring great reward or great ruin.

One issue is the relevance of the links in the comments. You’re providing a link-based incentive to get people to comment, so you have to concern yourself with two things. The first is the relevance of the comment, and the second is the relevance of the link. How valuable to you is a comment from a closely-related blog owner with a highly relevant post, possibly even a response post, linked in that comment? Probably pretty valuable, as it can start audience sharing and a good working relationship between both of you.

On the other hand, what happens if the owner of a cake decorating blog comes and leaves a thin, bland comment on your post about marketing? It’s probably not very useful at all. The post linked doesn’t have any relevance, and the comment is thin at best.

If the links and the comments aren’t relevant, you’re not gaining anything by attracting those people to comment on your blog.

Another issue, as mentioned, is the NoFollow and DoFollow control. With the free version, you don’t have much control, and it’s very possible all you’re doing is opening yourself up to spammers. You’ll probably find your blog on lists like this if you allow followed comments. On the other hand, if you make everything NoFollow, you’re removing most of the reason links are an incentive in the first place.

That said, savvy marketers will still comment, because they know that even NoFollowed links are potentially valuable to their site. You just won’t get quite as many people, because those marketers are rare.

This is more of a selling point for the premium version than it is a criticism of the plugin as a whole, though.

Good comments are great; bad comments are harmful. If you’re allowing a lot of thin or spammy comments to sit on your blog, you’re liable to hurt your search ranking. This is even worse if you have a lot of followed comments. NoFollow is a protection against Google’s Penguin algorithm, which will penalize a site with a lot of spammy links. Followed links to thin, irrelevant, or spammy sites will hurt your site, moreso if you have a lot of them, which you will if you’re using a widely-used plugin that makes it easy for spammers to accumulate those links.

There’s one other minor concern, and that’s page speed. CommentLuv adds data to the page, and it runs when the user loads the page, which means it can slow down page loading times. Chances are this won’t be significant, and you can lazy load the plugin to save a bit of time, but it’s something you need to be aware of.

CommentLuv as a Commenter

There’s one other aspect to CommentLuv for SEO, and that’s using it as a commenter. When you have the plugin, it gives you added features when you’re commenting on the blogs of other users who also use the plugin. You can use some of those features to your advantage.

Essentially, this comes back to link building. Link building has a lot of rules, and one of the most prominent among them is to make sure your links are as relevant as possible. Therefore, you can get a lot of value out of CommentLuv as a commenter, specifically if you’re using it the right way.

  • Locate relevant industry blogs that also use CommentLuv.
  • Sticky a few generally relevant or popular posts to your post list.
  • Leave valuable, insightful, or otherwise useful comments on the blogs you identified.
  • Link to a post that is as relevant as possible from among your available options. If none exist, make a relevant social media post and use that, if that option exists.
  • Repeat as much as possible without being a spammer.

Bonus points if the blogs you find use DoFollowed links, though this isn’t strictly necessary to receive some benefit.

Overall, I would say that CommentLuv can be a very good, useful plugin that gives you some SEO benefits, but you really need the premium version to use it to its fullest.

Written by Kenny Novak

Kenny Novak

Kenny is an SEM and SEO professional. He uses blogging and content marketing as a launchpad for small businesses looking to grow their online presence.

Comments

  1. William Kiel says:

    Well, what can I say after reading this post on how beneficial comment luv can be, and then I get to the bottom of it and I find Disqus… which one should I be using?

    A blogging acquaintance of mine was complaining about spam. He said he had to delete 4900 spam comments so he went to Disqus. I personally find this amazing and also probably a lie since his blog had almost no real comments on it at all to begin with before going on Disqus, was only 3 months old with no PR, a very low DA and a somewhat respectable Alexa rank, although that is highly manipulable just by loading up a toolbar on one browser and visiting all your post every day.

    The thing that irritated me is I was going to great lengths to help this guy, with reading and sharing and liking and tweeting all over the bloody place and before he has any popularity level at all, he flips over to Disqus, which for some niches could be a good choice. But for his I think was very bad.

    When your blogging about blogging, SEO, WordPress and other topics that will attract webmasters doing the same, they expect some give and take. If I am going to read your post and share it around, then the least I should be able to do is make a comment about it that has a little bit of return clout in it, even if it is a weak ass nofollow backlink.

    And there was another guy I was promoting all over the place. His Facebook page and Twitter account didn’t even have likes, comments, shares, tweets without me doing it. And he is optimizing his comment section so much he is barely approving any at all unless they meet his exacting standards. So his comment section is almost devoid of interaction also. When he declined my comment doing this, I had enough. No more will I deal with these kinds of bloggers that think its all about them, but they want support.

    I hope his turning down a perfectly legitimate comment was worth it to him as that straw that broke the camels back. Because that one cost him a crap ton of back links, several good referring domains, and a host of likes, shares, follows, on his social media. By the end of the night, him deciding he needed to be a anal retentive comment Nazi had cost him hundreds of referrals.

    I need to write a post about bloggers and what some of them do with comment sections, because if they think they are going to be in the blogging about blogging niche, WordPress, SEO and such, and massively restrict their comment sections, remove them, or go on Disqus and maintain popularity or gain it, I think they are going to find out otherwise.

    • Empowee says:

      Hi William, your comment about bloggers deleting your comment after you promoted them literally left me in stitches lol. It felt like a blog post.

  2. Renee Groskreutz says:

    This is such a helpful post, so thank you very much. I am currently running Comment Luv on my blog and my wife’s blog. It is a great plugin that I really enjoy using.

    I have worried about the link situation slightly but my solution is to closely monitor the comments. I figure that if the comment is real and adds value, it can pass thru. If it doesn’t and it is obviously there for the link, I delete it.

    This may not be the best SEO approach but it feels like a good human approach.

  3. Amara Heslin says:

    CommentLuv is definitely useful like DISQUS and WordPress. It actually one of the top social media app that one has to consider when creating a website for internet marketing.

  4. Haroun Kola says:

    Commentuv seems dead, especially on a post that extolls its virtues but uses Disqus.

  5. Nitin says:

    Thanks for sharing valuable information with us.
    The main reason for CommentLuv for me is to be able to get some good relevant comments but also give back to those valuable readers in the form of a link. It’s also a great way to learn about other blogs and network with other bloggers.

  6. roydigital says:

    CommentLuv is certainly valuable like WordPress. It really one of the best web-based life application that one needs to think about while making a site for web promoting.

  7. roydigital says:

    hey james, yes i use it on my site and its help me little to grow my site.

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