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Stephen Logan

User Comments Spark Google Ranking Penalty

18th Jun 2009 SEO 1 minute to read

The need for keeping content fresh and relevant is instilled in all SEO professionals. Regular moderation is required in order to ensure that everything on your site is as it’s supposed to be, just as we highlighted in an earlier post titled Craigslist & Facebook Highlight the Need for Standards in Content.

Unfortunately, this is a point that has been further highlighted by Richard Baxter. In a piece written for SEOgadget, he discusses how his Google rankings took a nosedive. What was the reason for this capitulation? Simple, inappropriate comments on his blog posts.

The site itself had done nothing intrinsically wrong, certainly not to most casual observers. Unfortunately though spam messages, with what might be described as salacious content, were posted on one of his posts. Unfortunately Google didn’t distinguish between the comments and the blog’s content and punished his entire website with a significant drop in ranking.

Fortunately Baxter was able to remove the offending messages and Google reinstated his site back to its original position shortly afterwards. But what this whole sorry scenario does show is that search engines are getting more intelligent, and as a result Webmasters and blog owners need to be especially aware of their site’s content at all times; regardless of whether that’s existing copy or user comments.

Nofollowing links within comments and even moderating them before they are posted is a good way of avoiding this messy situation arising. Unfortunately all of your visitors won’t be interested observers; spam is rife, so heed this warning and don’t let it ruin your website’s ranking.

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