Comments and Links: Friends or Foes?

You have a modestly popular blog with a regular readership. Would you have a comment system on your blog, with lots of your fellow bloggers commenting in your posts, or would you rather shut off your comments to force links and trackbacks?

The question arose as I read How to spice up your comments area. has an extremely active comment system in relation to its feedburner-reported subscribers so yeah, Yvonne knows how to get a comment system rolling. But when we’re talking about leveraging the community-linking aspect of the blogosphere for SEO purposes, are comments self-defeating?

The topic has been covered before (I can’t find a reference right now) and I’m still not sure where I stand. Comment areas obviously increase repeat traffic, create a very loyal audience, and author lots of great content for your blog, but each comment is a reply that could have been written on a blog, boosting link popularity. I suppose it comes down to timing and needs. But changing comment policies like underwear isn’t likely to cultivate any sort of comment regulars.

I’ll take my chances, what do you guys think?

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