WordPress Comments: Worth the risk?
Everyone who’s ever had a website or a blog knows what pain comments can be. Leave them unattended, and they’ll fill your site with spam in no time. And yet, it’s widely believed that Google and other search engines love sites with comments and value them above else. Say you have a UX design blog or just some kind of content marketing blog just like ours. Are WordPress comments worth it?
Before deciding what is the best response to negative comments, think about the repercussions
WordPress comments + SEO = immediate results
What was true for SEO in 2021 isn’t necessarily true in 2022. In fact, Google constantly changes its algorithms — another reason to keep your site up to date. Still, when it comes to comments, they add SEO value. How? By adding additional context, which Google loves.
Spammy comments don’t help one bit — quite the opposite — but if your users comment on something on a page and stay on topic, it can massively help. Google sees an active discussion and, as a result, promotes your page.
“What I think is really useful there with those comments is that oftentimes people will write about the page in their own words, and that gives us a little bit more information on how we can show this page in the search results. So from that point of view, I think comments are a good thing on a page,” Google’s Search Advocate John Mueller says.
Response to negative comments — to argue or to wipe the slate clean?
But, once again, not all activity is good. Off-topic comments will tell Google that your users aren’t engaged, and you aren’t paying attention. So treat your comments like you treat your own content. Sure, it’s not you who’s writing them, but comments need to have a certain quality and add value, if possible. You are responsible for all content in your comments. And if someone leaves a link to a harmful page, Google will treat you like an accomplice. For the algorithm, it’s all part of the content.
A good and swift response to negative comments is very important. One UX design blog we follow had this problem with negative comments — or downright spam. The way they handled it was what we advise you to do as well — they deleted it all. Ho remorse, no hesitation. The other, a content marketing blog, had replies to every single comment, as its author thought that any kind of action is better than nothing. He was wrong, and his blog went down in the search results.
Only add comments if you think you can handle it
What does it mean? Comments are good — if you can handle them. If you can’t moderate them, don’t bother. The risk outweighs the reward. And if you do have comments and some of them aren’t good, better delete them quickly — just like we said.
But be careful: Google will notice the purge and will react accordingly. So, delete harmful or useless comments, but leave the good ones. An empty comment section says that your site is dead — not the best message you can send.
WordPress comments: Pre-moderation can be key
Never leave these things to chance: if it’s possible, pre-moderate every single comment (CMS like WordPress allows for this). That way, you’ll be the first person to read these comments. Approve the good ones and ditch the bad ones, and your pages will look pristine and go up in the search results.