Should you allow users to leave comments on your website? that they he could They help with SEO, as long as you’re able to tweak them, Google says.
This topic was addressed by Google search attorney John Mueller during a Google Search Central SEO Hours Hangout that was recorded on February 18th.
An SEO professional named Vahid Parsa joins the live stream to ask Mueller a number of questions, one of which includes User comments And whether they are considered ranking factor.
It is not accurate to say that website reviews are a ranking factor, because your site will not rank better once you allow users to leave reviews.
Depending on what users write in the comments section, they have the potential to help with search rankings.
Here’s how Mueller explains the SEO value of user feedback.
How user feedback can help in SEO
User feedback can add SEO value to web pages in additional form Context.
If users stay on topic, and leave comments related to what the page is about, that information can help with search rankings.
Comments that are relevant to the topic of the webpage can help Google better understand the content and know what kinds of queries it should rank for.
“What I think is really helpful there with these comments is that a lot of times people are writing about the page in their own words and that gives us more information about how that page is shown in search results. So from that point of view, I think feedback is a good thing on a page.” .
The opposite is also true.
When users leave irrelevant comments, they can lower the quality of the entire page.
Off-topic comments may send mixed signals to Google as to what the page is about and what queries it should appear for.
Websites are responsible for user comments, even if they are written by people who are not directly affiliated with the site.
If it is on your website, you are responsible for it.
Comments that contain spam links, for example, could make you liable for a penalty or a reduction in search results.
With that said, it’s best to only allow comments when you’re able to moderate them.
As Mueller says, the biggest challenge with user feedback is ensuring they stay on topic:
“Obviously finding a way to maintain it in a sensible way is sometimes difficult because people also spam those comments and all sorts of crazy things happen out there. But overall I think if you can find a way to keep comments on a web page It gives you a little more context and helps people searching in different ways also find your content.”
Hear Mueller’s response in the video below:
Removing comments may affect search rankings
If your website currently allows comments, keep in mind that removing them will likely affect your search rankings.
Depending on your situation, the effect may be good or bad.
Cleaning comments section filled with inappropriate and/or spam content may lead to ranking improvements.
On the other hand, removing comments that add valuable context to pages may result in a drop in ranking.
Mueller addressed the SEO impact of removing website comments in a previous hangout, saying:
“From our point of view, we see comments as part of the content… After all, if people find your pages based on the comments there, if you delete those comments, then obviously we won’t be able to find your pages based on that.”
There are a lot of aspects to consider when it comes to user feedback, as it can help and hurt your SEO.
Featured image: Screenshot from YouTube.com/GoogleSearchCentral, February 2022.