Google On When Comments Can Hurt Your Blog & When You Should Block Them

Aug 3, 2020 - 7:10 am 0 by

Johnmu Martinsplitt Garyillyes

In the next episode of the Search Off The Record podcast from John Mueller, Gary Illyes and Martin Splitt of Google - they spoke about comments and how they may impact your blog. They also spoke about CMS platforms, how they got hired at Google and JavaScript including the Disqus issue.

The comments thing came up around the topic of if you should rely on third-party services like Disqus to power your comments. What if Google cannot index them and so forth.

The Googlers said it is fine to use a third-party platform for serving comments but just be aware that you do not control that platform. So if there are issues, you cannot directly solve the issues all the time. Martin earlier made a note about ways to control things better, like what I do here with Disqus is that I also put the comments directly into my database so that I can leave Disqus if I need to or serve the content directly from my database if I want to.

But the question of if you want your comments indexed by Google. Gary explained that comments, espesially if they are not in the primary content section, are not really weighed as highly in terms of defining the topic of the page.

He said "I think, I think we said this before, but depending on where the content is on the page, it might weigh less than for example, content that's in the centerpiece. Like for example, if we can detect that the meaty part of the content is in the middle and between these sections, then very likely that that will be the pooling content for your ranking. Meaning that that will help you the most with topicality, with relevancy, I guess. And then if we detect that something is outside that boundary, then that will weigh less and it will help you less with ranking. And then you have, for example, footers where generally people just put a bunch of links. We kind of detect that that's not that useful for users. And so it doesn't help you all that much with ranking."

There are "corner cases" he said. When Google might flag your page or site as adult, that can cause some issues. So if you use a lot of X-rated content in your comments or if you use a lot of curse words, like F-bombs, then you need to be careful.

He said "I mean, there is one corner case where you probably want to look at it. And that's how many, for example, f-bombs, people drop in the comments and how R-rated the comments are because if you are writing about cookies, for example, lemon cookies specifically, and there are a few thousand comments below your recipe that are all of them R-rated, then that might easily confuse our SafeSearch algorithms, for example, and then your content wouldn't do so well when SafeSearch is on in Google Search."

Here is the embed of this podcast but this section of the talk starts around 17:13 into the podcast:

Forum discussion at Twitter.


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