A Theory About Comments & Search Engine Results

Last Update: January 12, 2016

Is it better to have as many comments as possible on your posts?

There is a general opinion that more comments is better. I have found that this is not necessarily the case. Because I have read several times that comments can only positively effect your site I decided to put the theory to the test. My results weren't exactly what I expected, but in my research I think there is a really valuable lesson for us all to learn from.

In short, I have found that getting comments on your posts in the way that we do here at WA can actually negatively affect your search engine position for that post. Now I must say that I am not saying that the comment system here on Wealthy Affiliate is bad in any way! Completely the opposite in fact, I love the comment system and think its a fantastic way of getting interaction on your site and making it look like a more interactive website.

The negative affects of comments

I have found that getting comments on your site can actually make your site drop in search position and can even get it removed from the search results temporarily too. I have witnessed this for myself and have spoken to others that have experienced the same here on WA.

Why can comments make your site drop in the search results?

Here is my theory...

After doing a couple of experiments I have come to a conclusion. We know that Google monitors how much traffic each page or post is getting and also how long each person stays on your site. Therefore its highly likely that Google will have an approximate idea of how many comments a popular post is likely to get, based on how much traffic that page or post is getting.

If you get a handful of visitors to a particular post and a large percentage leave a comment, I believe this raises a red flag. I have seen posts drop very quickly and even get removed by adding comments too quickly.

In general the posts that seem to be affected the most are new posts that have had very little traffic and I have requested comments to those posts almost immediately from the WA comment system.

The right way to do it

On the flip side of this, I have seen posts that are getting a steady amount of traffic increase in search rank by adding comments gradually over a period of weeks.

I believe you are best to wait, get traffic and then add comments quite slowly. Google is very cleaver and knows what to expect from your site by comparing it to others that it deems to be a valuable provider of information.

You can read about one of my experiments with comments here:

https://my.wealthyaffiliate.com/ave212/blog/month-...

Hope this helps!

All the best to you,

Andrew

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VonnieOh Premium
Interesting. Thanks for sharing.
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Andrew-74 Premium
My pleasure, hope it helped.
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jvranjes Premium
I am not sure about this theory for 2 reasons.

Drop in ranking after initial good position of a new post is a normal thing explained by Matt Cutts, I have blogged about it here at WA.

As for many comments for new post and red flag, I know people here with many thousands of followers on FB. So imagine such person puts new post on FB, what happens? Of course it is normal to have huge amount of comments instantly. Even if you are not so popular you will have such an effect from social media. Just my thinking.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Great, I appreciate your input. Like I said, its only a theory and one that could be right or wrong. You are quite right in what you say.
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clue Premium
The drop I can totally understand but to be gone within a few hours really bothers me. There must be something I am doing wrong.

What also really makes me think after reading this post is. . . . .a small percentage of the traffic you get to your website will comment but if 70% of your traffic leave comments shouldn't that raise a red flag?

I'm not as experienced as most of you guys and I'm just very interested in this subject. This is something that really bothers me.

Thank you for joining in. I will be watching this blog post closely.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yes, that's what I think is happening. Both myself and others have seen posts totally de-indexed very quickly. But in my case, the rest of my site was left unaffected, it was only the post that I had applied lots of comments to over a short period.

This isn't just a fluctuation in search results in my opinion. But its something that perhaps wont effect the sites that have a good flow of traffic.

I have seen posts rise and fall in the search results and I have seen how fast sites are hit by Google penalties when they have done something that they don't agree with. This looked like a temporary penalty that was targeted specifically to the post in question.
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clue Premium
This is the main reason I am so interested. I do not want to be penalized by google and lose all my hard work. For now I am going to just focus on getting traffic without the need for comments.
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jvranjes Premium
Perhaps you are not doing anything wrong. See what Matt Cutts says:
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Andrew-74 Premium
Hi there! Thanks, yeah I have seen this video and I know the fluctuations are normal. However in my experiment when I applied a lot of comments quickly, my position didn't just fluctuate, the whole post was completely de-indexed for about a month. Since then the post has come back, but last time I checked it was way down in the depths of the search results!

There could have been other factors that played a part in this, but it seemed like it was the comments that were directly affecting the results.
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clue Premium
Thanks for the video. I watched it and it makes sense, however it does not explain the issues in this post.
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Jozeph Premium
Thanks Jovo, interesting :)
J*
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LeeRaybould Premium
Great post Andrew and something that I've thought about myself quite a bit in the past but I do have to agree with what Jovo said here.

I was actually reading a post by Neil Patel (Quicksprout) the other day where he said he receives somewhere between 100-200 comments for each new post he writes.

The majority of these comments happen within the first day, as soon as he hits publish, he posts it on social media and then fires an email off to his list which gives him a huge initial boost in traffic and comments.

I really like the comment system here at WA, as you seem to get the odd comment appear on older posts without requesting it so it looks really natural anyway.

Also, when I request new comments whether it's for a brand new post or even an older one, I always post it Google+ at the very least.

In my mind, Google could be thinking to themselves "Hey, how come this old post has a sudden influx of comments after nothing for two months? Oh, wait, I see that he's just reshared the article across his social accounts, that explains it then".

Over cautious I know, but it makes sense to me.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Thanks, yes it makes total sense and I don't think its being over cautious at all.
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JudeP Premium
Thank you :)
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Andrew-74 Premium
You're welcome!
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clue Premium
I have been wondering why appear on google page 3 and then not even found on any page the next day.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yeah, that could be one reason behind it, especially if you are posting and then adding comments almost straight away.
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clue Premium
I think we need some more investigation on this.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yes, definitely. I am working on it.
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clue Premium
I dont want to take over on your post. This is very interesting and worrying at the same time so I would like for everyone with the experience and knowledge to put their heads together and help ave212 investigate this more. We really need to get to the bottom of this.

Thanks in advance.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Thanks Clue! I will update you as I make further progress
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BeauAndNik Premium
Comments also alter the keyword optimization of a post. Comments are a great way to increase the overall content on each post. Larger posts tend to be favored by google.
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Andrew-74 Premium
Yes, that's right. Its a good way to boost the keyword density and like you say, increase the overall word count of your post. Again, increasing keyword density has to be done quite carefully of course.
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Dinh Premium
I agree with you.
I find that comments helps me 'add new' content to the existing post. A great way to get new keywords and change old ones.
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white3322 Premium
I had one comment that made a home about keyword stuffing while actually doing it .. I was like okay thank you
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