Back in the olden days, gathering a quality link back to your website was one of the ways you could attract the search engines for SEO and ranking purposes.
However, things have moved on since then. And a good job too, as this resulted in some web-owners partaking in suspect practices to obtain links.
Algorithms favour people more
The search engines have been developed now to focus more on people: visitors, readers and commenters, and how they react to content.
This works best if blogs and websites offer much higher quality content than before. In other words, give those that visit your blog or website a much better experience. Provide them something that is worthy of being read.
Search engine bots are programmed to 'understand' how humans think and ultimately to reward respect. Producing excellent content is a sure way of gaining that respect that would trigger a response from them.
Focus on getting a mention
Read-worthy content deserves a mention to others who may be interested. This mention could be on other platforms, such as social media. Or it could be within the reader's own blog post.
Search spiders are trained to detect relevant references to your blog and react accordingly by creating trackbacks. These will be shown to you in your comments moderation pages.
These mentions could also be within comments. These provide a respectable quality link back go your blog, as long as the connection is relevant.
Encourage 'conversational search'
In one of his videos about SEO, Matt Cutts of Google said that 'conversational search' for mentions and references in content was one of the elements that could result in a quality link back to your blog or website.
These conversations happen best in comments. It doesn't matter where they are written, as long as they are relevant and have a strong connection to the content of the host post. Again this relates to how people perceive your content, not necessarily the search engine algorithms.
Search spiders are trained to detect popularity. Such as people talking about you on social media and other comments. This can only occur if you are able to give them something truly wonderful to remark about to their friends and colleagues.
Not necessarily a keyword match
Comments as conversation aren't going to focus on repeating the host post's keyword, even if they worked out what it was. So the search engines are programmed to notice LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords instead.
These are words that are close in meaning to the main keyword. Words that would naturally happen in speech, especially when referring to someone or something.
These could result in a natural quality link, which is why the search engines are taking LSI keywords into consideration when they crawl relevant content like comments.
Emphasise a relevant quality link
We all know that a comment that is laced with links is unlikely to pass through the moderation systems in place to combat spam.
However, the natural links that occur when submitting a comment is all that is needed to cement its association to the host post. This could be a suitable URL to a totally relevant post on your own blog. This is much better than going to your blog's homepage.
You could also create a natural quality link through guest posting. The best place for it is in your biography and remember to refer to other relevant posts within your content.
What do you think about this?
It's worth thinking hard where to place a quality link so that it has the best effect on how the search engines react to it. Will it be a trackback through mentioning or a respectably generated link from commenting?
Let me know in the comments below. And if you are interested in joining the Commenting Club (see the reference under this post), you could learn even more about commenting and how it could help you.