Why Commenting Should be Encouraged on Blogs
by Stephen Logan on 13th August 2010
A look at how even negative comments can have a positive impact on your site and its search rankings.
It’s always nice to get a bit of feedback on the post you’ve spent the last hour or so mashing together. That’s how conversation begins, social ties made and, just as importantly, how you edit embarrassing typos.
If you go on any major technology news site – Mashable and TechCrunch – you’ll find that each post is greeted with a long list of comments. These are often interspliced with an array of social media feeds and blog trackbacks. This is obviously a direct reflection of their industry popularity, but it is also very clever SEO.
Building Visitor Rapport, Conversation and Content
All blogs do this to a certain extent of course, but the effect is always far more noticeable with a site that’s among the 300 most visited in the world. Whilst a few Tweets and a couple of comments might make the writer feel like their time hasn’t been entirely wasted, it also provides something far more important.
We have to rewind a bit here. Go back to the fundamentals of search engine indexing and what makes one site rank than another. In any SEO 101 course you’ll be told that the Googlebot and fellow spiders loves fresh content. It gives them an excuse to keep revisiting a page and shows that it is active.
All of that content also adds to your blog post too, helping to grow the amount of copy on your page. When all is said and done, a 300 word post could attract comments that amount to three times that amount. All of that will be considered when you get re-indexed further down the line.
Now with social networking plugins activated too, you have the opportunity of getting new text on your page in real-time. Every Tweet affords an opportunity for further sharing, direct traffic and, yes, a little SEO benefit.
The Importance of Fresh Content in SEO
Search Engine Optimisation experts are always talking about the need to keep content fresh and unique. For blogs and news sites, the fight to be first is arguably balanced by an equal need to be visited and commented on. This is how they can ensure longevity in search engine rankings and the traffic that generates.
A similar principle is employed in ecommerce of course. If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon you’ll be all too aware that buyers are encouraged to come back and review the items they’ve bought. Whilst helping other consumers decide on what items are worthy of their investment, it also does a fair amount for the page’s SEO too.
Use in Ecommerce
This is particularly prevalent for a site like Amazon. Because of its sheer size, writing unique content for each product isn’t always possible [see: Google MayDay Update Puts Focus on Site Wide Optimisation]. Quite often it’ll just feature a manufacturer’s description, perhaps an industry review and sometimes nothing at all. Now, because of the strength of the site as a whole, the child pages get a decent head start on most, but by including these reviews suddenly they have the opportunity for fresh, user-generated content.
Apart from the dreaded spam, all comments add something to a page too. It isn’t like extending blurb for the sake of cramming in a few extra keywords; they reflect visitor opinion and contribute to the author’s message.
Comments represent engagement and freshness. Visitors, blog owners and search engines love them. Even when you’re pilloried, it’s not all bad news. They might hate your content, but they’re also helping your SEO.