Blog activity is often measured through comments, but it's not just how many comments a blog post receives, the quality of the comments counts too. In fact, comment quality is one of the factors Google considers when ranking pages. If the comments on your blog or website are too short, you could be penalized (here's a post that explains this policy in detail).
Google's Hummingbird algorithm update was designed to actively identify and (in some cases) penalize bad SEO tactics deployed through dodgy commenting. I've rounded up five examples of dodgy comments to clearly illustrate the types of conversations you should not allow on your blog or website. By getting rid of these types of comments and never allowing them to be published in the first place, you can help to improve your site's page rank.
How to Improve Page Rank through Comment ModerationBefore we begin, it's important to learn one thing about Google's Hummingbird update: quality content is an ice cream sundae, but context is the cherry on top. Hummingbird is a way to ensure that blogs and websites aren't just producing content that is sound or accurately riddled with keywords; Hummingbird ensures that the context is relevant, too. That relevancy includes everything on a page--from meta descriptions to third-party comments. This is the sole reason why you need to moderate the comments on your blog.
Moderating your blog comments means you don't publish every single comment you receive. It can be disheartening not to publish every comment, especially if your comments are far and few between, but please understand that this policy looks specifically at the context of your comments.
Let's say you and I both write a post about red bouncy balls.
You get 2 comments on your post; I get 40 comments.
Your 2 comments both are about red bouncy balls and are within the appropriate character length.
Thirty-nine of my comments are about red balls that aren't bouncy or blue bouncy balls or yo-yos. Google will weight your comments and could therefore rank your post on red bouncy balls higher than mine without even looking at the SEO or the quality or length of the actual posts.
Since comment quality is a page rank factor, it's important to be sure all the comments you allow on your page are relevant. Click through for five types of harmful comments that could negatively effect your page rank and ones that you should delete immediately:
Completely Irrelevant CommentsEnsure that the comments you allow on your posts are relevant to what the post is about. Here's an example of a comment I received:
The comment says: During my wedding here, the wait staff was absolutely the best. It was such an intimate moment and you could really feel the love and energy in the place. Best birthday party NYC The yellow highlighted text was a link to some NYC-based venue.
I disallowed this comment because the post it was left on had nothing to do with New York, birthdays or even America, for that matter. It was a post about traveling, but it was about traveling to Malta, a small island nation off the cost of Italy. Allowing that comment on my post would have been strange. Anyone reading that post wouldn't have been expecting to find anything at all about birthday party venues (no matter how lovely they sound!) or about New York City, so why should I allow it?
Completely Unrelated CommentsEnsure that the comments you allow on your posts are related to the actual post. Here's an example of another dodgy comment I received:
The comment says: Hi, love your blog, what a wonderful and organized it is, really love it, its @uniqueofsheff from sheffield, we run a hair salon , visit us when you get time, uniqueofsheffield [dot] co [dot] uk
The yellow highlighted text was a link to the hair salon's website.
I disallowed this comment because the post it was left on had nothing at all to do with hair salons or even anything regional. The comment was left on a food-only link party I run on Tuesdays. Quite honestly, this comment wouldn't have been relevant had it been left on any of my blog posts because I don't write about beauty or lifestyle. I write about food or blogging tutorials, anything not related to these topics has a 90% chance of being unrelated.
Sneaky Back Link Seeking CommentsEnsure that the comments you allow haven't been left purely for the purpose of giving someone a quality link back from your site. Here's an example of a shameless comment I received:
The comment says: Wow! What a great post. I just found this blog. I'll definitely be back. popcorn
The yellow highlighted text was a link to a popcorn retail company.
I disallowed this comment because it was a sneaky way to get a back link with one of their keywords pointing at their site. I mean, come on, guys; this comment might as well have said womp womp womp womp womp popcorn for all its relevancy! Even if the person leaving the comment had bothered to say something about the post they left the comment on (a popcorn recipe!), I would have allowed it! At least they would have been adding something to the conversation and therefore enhancing my blog! This type of commenting is a bad, bad very bad SEO tactic; that looks tacky and ridiculous.
Pure Topic Manipulation CommentsEnsure that the comments you allow haven't been left purely because they relate to an industry close to the commenter. Here are two examples of manipulative comments I received:
SEO Course. It is very useful suggestion. and Thank you for sharing valuable information. I actually enjoyed reading through this posting. Many thanks. You can also find the details on SEO Bournemouth, SEO Southampton, search engine optimisation company, search engine optimisation services, search engine optimization consultants
The yellow highlighted text were all links to two different SEO companies. The last five links were all to the same URL.
I disallowed these comments because they were just ridiculous. Granted, they were posted on a post about SEO, but the post was about tips for improving SEO not for an SEO course or for SEO companies or firms. In this sense, neither comment is relevant to the subject and neither comment adds any value to my post. They are there purely because the post would have contained SEO related keywords and meta description that they were hoping to benefit from. This tactic is pure manipulation and should not be rewarded with a link.
Verbatim Duplication CommentsEnsure that the comments you allow on your blog are unique. Here are two examples of the same comment I received on two very different posts:
seo company which promises guaranteed affordable seo at the cheap and affordable price.
The highlighted text was a link to an SEO company's website.
I disallowed both of these comments because they were ridiculous. Both comments were placed on blog posts having to do with SEO but neither of these comment would have added much value to the discussions occurring. Even if they had been of value, the same comment twice or more can certainly count against you and your page rank!
Moderating your comments is a full-time job, but one that is very necessary. There loads of tools that you can use to make moderating comments easier for you. For instance, if you employ Google+ comments on your blog, only people with Google+ accounts will be able to leave comments. Of course, it is still possible to create a spam account on Google+ but not many people have bothered to do so.
Also, if you require the use of captchas on your blog, you can successfully reduce the number of spam comments you receive. Finally, you can take my approach: I don't use captchas but every single comment I receive is manually approved by me before it appears on my site. This ensures that the dodgy comments from the examples I've shared with you never appear on my blog, therefore helping to improve my page rank.
Have you received any truly appalling comments? Share them in the comments!