WordPress Comment SEO Solutions

I am sure some of this post is going to blow people’s brains, though this is only the tip of the iceberg.

WordPress Comment Solutions

Shaun almost a month ago released a modified version of Lucia’s Linky Love that removes links from comments rather than nofollow them as a partial solution to Google’s changes to PageRank distribution in regards nofollow.

Dave Naylor is also doing something similar

I also now need to take you back to a comment I left over on SEOmoz

Option E – Increase the amount of internal linking and flatten site architecture.

My old Sandcastles linking structure works great with the new algos, though there is now a need to remove external links totally from dupicate content pages rather than nofollow them.

WordPress does this by default with their really ugly automatic snippets

Option F – there is an even better way, that maximises the benefit of user generated content, still providing dofollow links, but retaining 95%+ of the juice from all external links on a page, without using nofollow at all.

Vladomir Prelovac has come up with what I would regard as a partial solution to this problem

I am glad someone has done this as I have been dropping hints about taking this approach for the last year in various places, back to the old Webbbs days, though it needs taking a few steps further to be truly effective.

There are however some big monster bugbears that need to be considered with this approach, just like with tag pages.
The benefits you will see on his site, with a huge amount of PageRank to play with from the release of WordPress Themes are potentially significant, whereas with a smaller site it can lead to complications, and you might for instance want to noindex the newly created comment pages ;) Vladomir doesn’t use tag pages extensively, more selectively.

For the last six months or so, my understanding of how Google ranks pages has changed significantly, in part due to studying the way Google handles huge sites such as Blogcatalog & Technorati, but it would be wrong for me to publish details without clearance from Tony at Blogcatalog because I had access to their analytics.

Whilst a lot of it would be speculative… almost like a fairy story, for some it might be more akin to a lightening strike than a light bulb moment.

Imagine you have a choice between having a tag page or a comment page in Google’s index

  • A tag page you can specify the exact title tag
  • A page created with SEO Super Comments you can’t, in many ways the comment is about as optimized as a Tweet on twitter.

Twitter’s upstream based on Alexa is only 10% Google.com, so maybe 20% overall – a large proportion would be navigational queries & Twitter account holder names.I am not 100% confident about Alexa upstream numbers, but they might be more accurate for Twitter than many sites.

You would get an occasional tweet ranking for very long tail terms, but it is not significant.

So if you are creating new pages for comments, you would want them in the index only under specific circumstances.

  • Existing flat site architecture with all original content in primary index
  • Your categories are indexed and viable landing pages
  • You have your tag pages sufficiently indexed which may require various techniques to make the content more unique and useful.
  • Have ways to use comment data on tag pages
  • Have ways to create tag pages based purely on comments and 3rd party content ;)
  • The permalink for a comment from comment feeds points to the new pages, not to an anchor/fragment/”#name” – this has been something that needed fixing anyway, because permalinks on WordPress posts with lots of comments are currently broken, because comments can move from page1 to page2 – there are lots of ways to then use this RSS feed pointing to unique URLs on your site ;)
  • Rewrite rules for comment URLs
  • Link to a comment should use anchor text based on the title
  • Link from a name should provide all comments from that user on a single page
  • Extensive use of Ajax – this gets a bit complicated, and it would be experimental, but why have the whole comment on the post permalink at all? At least from a spider perspective. A representation of the comments can be pulled in as pre-cached page fragments. Comments could also be pulled into member profiles if a person commenting is also in some way a site member, and maybe in that situation an individual commenter page should be totally replaced by a member page.
  • Integration with social media – if you are pulling in tweets, friendfeed etc, give those a page as well, and then allow people to even comment on those directly from your blog, and push the data back out to whichever service.
  • Pull more data from trackbacks/pingbacks – grab an excerpt and host it on your site on a unique page. If someone comments on it from your site, send a pingback

The Future Of Commenting And Aggregation

An even more radical approach would be to totally get rid of “comments” as a unique entity, and many other social sites for that matter, and have only unique personal streams of media, long or short form, video, pictures, text or a mixture, and what appears on other sites, whether on a blog as a comment, or on Twitter, Youtube or an social site would just be a syndicated copy of your original content. Just one permalink for the original content, with full ownership and privacy controls over who could see it.

In many ways Youtube is just a video feed reader where you syndicate your unique video, and you should link back to the original source, and get the original source ranking :)

What I am suggesting is a somewhat reverse approach to “Echo” recently launched in private beta or the Friendfeed aggregation.

A single source that you push out to other sites, rather than a multitude of aggregators. More like Tumblr or Posterous, but with much more control.

As a marketer however, it makes it difficult to reward comment participation without some kind of additional registration process.

The Complexities Of Syndicated Comments & Social Mentions

What really turns your mind upside-down is when you have a situation where you have a private blog post in a members area, and someone leaves a comment which is specific to the private content.

The commenter needs to maintain access controls, but at the same time the owner of the site with private content needs control as well, which can possibly be overridden. Who gets priority and ultimate control?

Who would have moderation rights? If moderated, would it be only the syndicated copy on a publishers site, or the canonical version maintained by the commenter.

Do you really want to mention in an “echo” on your blog that you cross-posted the same content to 100 social media sites?

Disqus?

I recently highlighted Disqus as a solution, it still is, but my reservations are increasing after using the service for a month – whilst the WordPress integration is clearly stated as being beta, I am going to call it a very raw beta – there are tons of problems with synchronization and comment moderation leaves a lot to be desired. My last support ticket to them was 6 days ago, with a second full comment export to try to get sync sorted out remains unanswered.

I have informed them already that I am pulling the plug – the synchronization attempts are hopefully to fix problems that might prevent others having problems in the future.

There are other issues that I don’t feel should be aired here on the blog. I am giving them some time to hopefully get them fixed.

Other WordPress Plugins?

A big shout out to 4 other plugins I have been using recently

Autooptimize – so far it is the best CSS / Javascript optimization plugin I have used (and I have used quite a few) and the author has been highly responsive with fixes to various plugins and widgets. It sets expires and gzip correctly too.

What I have also done is hacked things so Disqus uses local CSS and images, that I will eventually be able to migrate to a CDN, though the Disqus CSS brings up all kinds of horrible warnings in Yslow and Page Speed Firefox Plugins.

Wp Supercache Plus – I am currently using it with Eaccelerator – I am using the “bleeding edge” version from SVN, and am in the process of implementing fragments with thematic – I had a few problems using it with memcached WP Supercache combined with Memcached object-cache.php.
Fragment caching with comments especially will reduce server load each time a new comment is added to a blog under heavy load, such as a product launch.

Probably also long overdue is a mention of Tim’s WordPress Membership Plugin. On the surface most plugin offerings look the same, it is only when you look at the code and how they have overcome hurdles that some solutions shine – I was involved a little with the early stages over a year ago and many features have since been copied, and other offerings have leapfrogged Your Members in more obvious ways, but at its core I still believe Your Members to be the most flexible solution (oh and you can see the support in public). There are lots of useful hooks and ways you can extend the platform, relatively easily, though a little PHP knowledge goes a long way. It is also pretty secure.
The full reasons deserve a lot longer post, but other solutions get promoted extensively without extensive research into alternatives – I need to spend another $500 on alternative solutions before I can realistically write a comprehensive review.
With Your Members it is possible to control access level to comments as well as the posts themselves. If you have a private post, you also want to selectively keep the comments private.

FAQ-Tastic – Zain now has both a free light version (that is very flexible) and a pro version – it is a serious solution for anyone looking to leverage their audience to create new product or content offerings. I am frequently asked to add an “Ask Andy” section here on the blog, but I will most likely do it in a more private area.
Comments on custom areas of WordPress is something I don’t think 3rd party systems will ever handle effectively.

This post has been a little bit of a mixed bag, but hopefully you find something useful & worth sharing with others.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh my! My head is spinning after reading all of that. But with the new changes, people are still unsure how and what they need to change. You have done a great job breaking down the comment aspect of this (something I never really considered… and now I need to figure out if I want to change my WP comments back to “no follow” again.

    This is the first time I have been to your site and I'm happy I followed it from twitter! Cheers! Jodie

  2. says

    Given the complexities here, perhaps the Michael Gray Comments Blocked policy is the best. At least the link-love then gets distributed to known links within the blog post content. :)

  3. says

    I have gotten used to Disqus. I can't tell if it filters out many comments. But it certainly is a c0oncern for blogs like yours, when in the past it was not unusual to receive dozens of comments withing an hour of publishing a post.

    I might be mistaken but I think their spam system relies on “collective intelligence” and I did have some comments made by bloggers who commented dozens of times flagged and put into moderation.

    Look forward to test Vladomir's plugin as well but I am afraid that it may conflict with WP Super Cache plugin – which requires rewrite rules to be begin with.

  4. says

    In many ways that is worse

    Imagine a resource post with 30 external links in the content, and only 10-20 (I haven't counted) internal navigation links

    Then you also have internal links blocked by robots.txt

    Disallow: /cgi-bin/
    Disallow: /wp-admin/
    Disallow: /wp-content/plugins/
    Disallow: /images/
    Disallow: /noindex/
    Disallow: /privacy-policy/
    Disallow: /subscribe/
    Disallow: /terms-of-service/
    Disallow: /information/comment-policy/
    Disallow: /faq/
    Disallow: /contact-form/
    Disallow: /advertising/
    Disallow: /information/licensing-information/
    Disallow: /*?*
    Disallow: /iframes/

    That being said, there is still a lot about dangling pages, robots.txt, and even the new nofollow evaporation that hasn't been covered, I am just trying to work out how I can do it without delving into things that might be better remain confidential.

    I think the primary reason Michael stated was time… there are ways to handle that, kill all the spam dead without using Akismet, and still provide a medium for users to comment.

    Who (long-term) gets more links, the controversial blogger where the only way to comment on what he says is by linking, or the controversial blogger who has a community where people can comment, maybe get a link if they are a regular.

    Also note the emphasis I place on the marketing aspects of comments – it can be part of the lead acquisition process, offering free bonuses etc. When leads see blog posts with 2000 comments during a product launch there is a significant social proof benefit.
    I am a marketer, not an SEO – the ideal of not being able to engage an audience feels alien to me, and I also want to leverage engagement.

    There are different ways to handle SEO if you don't have comments.

  5. says

    I am going to have a play around with it on other sites to start with.

    Static pages served from disk can actually be faster than what I am currently using, because often they are served from the disk cache, which on Linux is highly optimized.

    I don't like the collective intelligence of Disqus, but the big problem is that any comments that end up unapproved or spam seem to not get back to the WordPress database.
    If I switch off Disqus now, I lose half of my comments for the last month – maybe 500 comments, plus it won't retain the threading.
    The biggest issue is actually one Lucia highlighted in an email to me… it is something Disqus have to fix, no option.

  6. says

    There are existing solution, for years even to have your comments on a different page for various reasons, but that doesn't add internal linking.

    Some of the concepts I discussed I have been thinking about for 6-12 months, as this blog has always been dofollow and will return to that soon.
    A method of bringing more traffic to a blog, and also highlighing an individual comment is a good thing – “win/win” but only after other factors are considered first.

  7. says

    @Andy What I made is an experiment and had fun doing it. It does bring in 300 more visitors every day on my site, increased my index by over 600%, increased the site's total page rank and provides more information in the comment page about the author's recent comments across the site.

    My opinion is it would work on any site regardless it's page rank (btw. majority of mine does not come from the theme release – footer links carry little to none significance, perhaps even negative connotation regarding passing PR juice).

    @Vlad It works with WP super cache

  8. says

    Btw – I do agree it is a partial solution. Though I am a big fan of automated solutions and all of my SEO plugins lean into that direction, I would be more careful about implementing this as an instant solution on a site like Mashable with probably 100,000 comments. In this case probably some extra features would need to be implemented, like you are suggesting in your article.

    At the end of the day I think SEO or not, the purpose of comments is to engage into discussion and create faithful readers and I think that any plugin that can improve this engagement will be beneficial for the blog owner.

  9. says

    It is a great experiment, it is why I linked to it as I know it is the direction I want to take with comments and have done since well before Google's changes.
    There was a lot more to cover than in a comment.

    Your link profile is not just WP themes, but your link profile is significantly different to most plugin developers, even successful ones.
    I haven't noticed any significant PageRank distribution swings for theme developers, other than those selling links. PageRank isn't everything, but it is what gets pages indexed and selected as contenders to

    With the amount of juice you have coming into the site, you probably have the potential to have 50-100K pages in the primary index, and many more in whatever might be looked on as Google's current variant of the supplemental.
    More pages in the index ultimately gives you a little more PageRank to play with, either to get more pages indexed, or focus it on specific pages, but it is a balancing act.

    Don't count on pages staying in the index unless a human review at some distant time in the future determines that the pages have substantial value.

    The value is similar to adding a translation plugin (if the pages are indexed) – you can get more pages in the index, and they might even drive more traffic. I have one that adds 30 languages, though using it I only ever managed to get around 9x the number of pages indexed.

    More interesting would be gains in ranking on the rest of the site, even with the pages noindexed, on a site with a large number of existing nofollowed comments. The primary benefit of using your plugin should be conserving juice and focusing it on specific landing pages that need it, not the incidental increase in long tail traffic.

    It is much easier to make a tag page unique and valuable to a searcher than a comment page – just look at Crunchbase.

  10. says

    On Mashable you would probably hit the same problem I face on this site, the Disqus sync with WordPress seems to be broken thus it would be difficult to roll back, and you lose threading info.

    Plus they really need to concentrate efforts in other directions, such as achieving indented listings on results they already have.

  11. NCOAProcessing says

    My opinion is it would work on any site regardless it's page rank. Btw. majority of mine does not come from the theme release as you can see from any link diagnostic tool – footer links carry little to none significance.

    About Me

  12. seomakaleleri says

    You allright I think. I am student in Turkey and connect with university's wireless but I can't enter my websites…

  13. says

    I like comments – I sometimes get more informaiton or better explaination from comments than from the original posts. I hope that comments stay – counted or not.

  14. veinna12 says

    I’ve been recommending all informative sites linkbuilding resource for several months now. It’s a fantastic idea, and hopefully it’ll grow further.

  15. evmc says

    agree with Phanio.. I sometime get more information from comment left on.. so I like comments.

  16. borntobeaseo says

    A very well written article with handy information. I’m already looking forward for more.

  17. says

    I actually tried that plugin SeoSupercomments looked pretty cool but was something that I thought may freak people out so I switched it back. I thought Disqus came do follow out of the box ? Anyway I just keep my do follow and keep plugin away.
    nice post
    Stumbled

  18. says

    There is nothing stopping you owning your own delivery platform – I could do most of what I suggested already using WordPress.
    Ultimately this approach gives more freedom and control over access.

  19. says

    you can certainly improve the user experience in this way, and if people leave good cooments, they will be found in search results more frequently.

  20. says

    Disqus has some major problems

    The Supercomments probably needs some tweaking in UI to make people understand exactly what is going on.

  21. says

    I don't think doing away with comments altogether is going to benefit the internet community. How do you propose to re-write the rules for comment URLs? I have also been confused by the fact that some blogs reject meaningful comments and instead accept spam. Is this due to some glitch in WordPress?

  22. says

    I get comments caught by Akismet all the time (the spam plugin most commonly used on WordPress)

    With whatever I propose, comments would still appear with articles, just like pingbacks / trackbacks, or a bit like extended tweets, and could also reflect the conversations happening elsewhere better.

  23. echoadmin says

    Great post. Very interesting and informative article with good Seo tricks for wordpress comments.

  24. seoimage says

    I think Google is attributing user input in communities to have some weight and utilizing comments as a ranking algo. So there's plenty of reason to want a nofollow comment link.

    The only solution I have seen work requires users to login and the comment link links to a user profile rather than from the comment. Of couse it will greatly cut sdown on comment from people who stumble in.

  25. says

    good info here on WordPress Comment SEO Solutions, i use wordpress
    and i hope you'll be expanding on some of the ideas in this article soon.

    Cheers,

  26. gobeaches says

    there are many ways to do seo solution because the rule is keep changing every day until i could not catch it.

  27. ganhardinheiro says

    Hello Andy
    Its a nice post but can you write one post about the comment system in blogger platform.

    Thanks

  28. says

    It is horrible – I am sorry but I try to avoid writing too frequently about Blogger simply because there are just too many negatives, and anything I write effectively falls on deaf ears, though I might get a Googler to comment, that is the end of the visible effect.

    If you are forced to use Blogger, or are creating lots of affiliate blogs, then I would possibly replace the comment system totally with Disqus, Intense Debate or JSKit, or just totally remove comments.

  29. says

    I actually tried that plugin SeoSupercomments looked pretty cool but was something that I thought may freak people out so I switched it back. I thought Disqus came do follow out of the box ? Anyway I just keep my do follow and keep plugin away.
    Very nice post!

  30. violet989 says

    One of my favorite plugins is “Yet Another Related Post”
    It helps me show related post to my new published ones, so that readers can easily choose and navigate through the website without missing out on relevant information.
    Cheers
    Caroline from Part Time Jobs
    http://www.recessionprofitplan.com/about

  31. mp3indir says

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  32. dtrust says

    SEO has very dynamic movement, it was really complicated to be following. I'm not sure but experience is the best thing for me. However your article really helpful. Thanks

  33. Alex12 says

    More and more people are doing teeth whitening as a way to make themselves look better. This process is usually done for cosmetic reasons, and it has become very popular in the last five years. In the past, people had to go to their dentist to have this procedure done, but now there are many at home products for sale.

  34. ricardodisuja says

    Hi,,
    I saw your most of blogpost very interesting and to the point . I am Ricardo Disuja,a community member at http:// http://www.WebSearchUSA.net
    WebSearchUSA is a web design company offering an array of custom website design, web page design, e-commerce, multimedia so as to make your site search engine friendly. We also provide SEO services to clients across all over the globe.

    Best-Regards,
    Ricardo Disuja

  35. nacasho says

    thank you very much man its very valuable seo techniques and information but please post some new posts about seo because i want to learn from an expert like you

  36. seoworkgroup1 says

    One unique SEO opportunity is coming up from this whole no follow do follow mess. If you set up some supplementary sites to your main site, and make them dofollow blogs, you can get tons of comments and traffic simply from people looking to get dofollow links.

  37. bolsadetrabajo says

    I share with all of you some tips for getting a lot of traffic to your blogs:

    Tip 1: Make a good content
    This point is very important

    Tip 2: Make a brand around your blog
    This point is very important because your visitors return to your blog in the future.

    Tip 3: Get high quality backlinks
    This point is very important because Google is a major search engine.

    Tip 4: Promote your site on social websites like facebook, myspace and news aggregators like Digg.

    Tip 5: Post frequently

    Tip 6: Be patient
    This is the most important tip because only with years of hard work you see a good results.

  38. makemylink says

    Google Page Ranking policy has always been a issue. Recently google lowered he pagerank of most of the blogs. Gave more priority to those sites which has more backlinkst than reciprocal links. Your article is very useful for SEO guys to get the inside out of following links.

  39. stopdreamingstartactionbyrisma says

    I really like to have lots of backlink to increase traffic. Thanks for sharing this article with me. It is very good. Thanks a lot.

  40. says

    That stuff does blow my mind. I feel link juice being squeezed from my brain. Hoping that everyone can just post relative content and let their voice be heard.
    Thanks for the WP insite.

  41. kiran28jast says

    Last time when I saw on google search engine working process and how google give rank to various websites.I think the page rank is important quantity for your site. However policy that how google rank websites changed significantly because google handles huge websites.

    Acai Berry

  42. says

    Gosh – Just when you think you are begining to understand all this, along comes this post a lot of food for thought here and it's going to need a re-read at a slightly earlier hour. Very interesting reading. Thank you, my mind is blown!

  43. seoworkgroup1 says

    I am a big fan of automated solutions and all of my SEO plugins lean into that direction, I would be more careful about implementing this. Thanks for a nice stuff.

  44. gauravM says

    It would work on any site regardless it's page rank. Btw. majority of mine does not come from the theme release as you can see from any link diagnostic tool – footer links carry little to none significance. Thanks for sharing.

  45. says

    That is only visible PageRank which is only updated every 3 months, and even if it displays zero, might just indicate a number less than 0.5.

    In addition there are other factors such as anchor text and possibly domain authority.

  46. maneeshbhati says

    My opinion is it would work on any site regardless it's page rank. Btw. majority of mine does not come from the theme release as you can see from any link diagnostic tool – footer links carry little to none significance. Thanks for info.

  47. howtogettaller says

    I really feel that this link juice benefits your site always. And it adds credibility to your site also.

  48. ubudaccommodation says

    so now google will not recognize if we comment at blog that use do follow, as back link ?

  49. Mark123456 says

    Varologic is one of the best IT company as well SEO services i have seen they provide excellent services to the to the customer and they are working on different IT programs like, E-commerce, web designing, ebay tools, and Internet Marketing.

  50. junjavier says

    yes speculation, all are speculation but there is no harm in commenting even though google wont follow it still other people can see your url on the post

  51. says

    Do you really think it makes that much difference on smaller blogs without hundreds of pages? Aren’t the incoming links so much more important thatn the outgoing links on most websites?
    Jeff

    • says

      It is a balancing act, but internal linking is often more overlooked than linkbuilding.

      With strong internal linking and referential integrity, a page can rank well without specific keyword based linkbuilding.

      You are running around leaving comments to get links to a sponsors hosted page for “Steel Buildings” whereas I would look to get authority links to anything on the domain I can, and then use internal linking to tell Google what my pages are about.

      I am currently in the middle of an affiliate promotion for Stompernet and their new Stomper 999 relaunch.

      I haven’t done any specific linkbuilding yet, but I have an indented listing directly below the listing for the main site, position 2 & 3
      http://www.google.com/search?q=stomper+999&pws=0&gl=US

      Also bare in mind if that is their only website, then you really want contact details on the page to help with Google local search.