Blog comments are a tricky issue for many business websites.
On one hand, everyone dreams of building a community of loyal customers that follow every post and regularly have a healthy discussion in the comments. Not only can it be helpful for other potential customers, but comments tend to help Google rankings and help inspire future content for your site.
On the other hand, most business-based websites receive significantly more spam than genuine comments. Even the best anti-spam measures can’t prevent every sketchy link or comment on every post. For the most part, these are more annoying than being an actual problem. However, if left completely unmonitored, spam could build up and potentially hurt your rankings.
This can make it tempting to just remove comments from your blog entirely. If you do, you don’t have to worry about monitoring comments, responding to trolls, or weeding out spam. After all, your most loyal fans can still talk about your posts on your Facebook page, right?
Unfortunately, as Google’s John Mueller recently explained, removing comments from your blog is likely to hurt more than it helps.
John Mueller Addresses Removing Blog Comments
In a Google Search Central SEO hangout on February 5, Google’s John Mueller explored a question from a site owner about how Google factors blog comments into search rankings. Specifically, they wanted to remove comments from their site but worried about potentially dropping in the search results if they did.
While the answer was significantly more complicated, the short version is this:
Google does factor blog comments into where they decide to rank web pages. Because of this, it is unlikely that you could remove comments entirely without affecting your rankings.
How Blog Comments Impact Search Rankings
Google sees comments as a separate but significant part of your content. So, while they recognize that comments may not be directly reflective of your content, it does reflect things like engagement and occasionally provide helpful extra information.
This also means that removing blog comments is essentially removing a chunk of information, keywords, and context from every blog post on your site in the search engine’s eyes.
However, John Mueller didn’t go as far as recommending to keep blog comments over removing them. This depends on several issues including how many comments you’ve received, what type of comments you’ve gotten, and how much they have added to your SEO.
As Mueller answered:
“I think it’s ultimately up to you. From our point of view we do see comments as a part of the content. We do also, in many cases, recognize that this is actually the comment section so we need to treat it slightly differently. But ultimately if people are finding your pages based on the comments there then, if you delete those comments, then obviously we wouldn’t be able to find your pages based on that.
So, that’s something where, depending on the type of comments that you have there, the amount of comments that you have, it can be the case that they provide significant value to your pages, and they can be a source of additional information about your pages, but it’s not always the case.
So, that’s something where I think you need to look at the contents of your pages overall, the queries that are leading to your pages, and think about which of these queries might go away if comments were not on those pages anymore. And based on that you can try to figure out what to do there.
It’s certainly not the case that we completely ignore all of the comments on a site. So just blindly going off and deleting all of your comments in the hope that nothing will change – I don’t think that will happen.”
It is clear that removing blog comments entirely from your site is all but certain to affect your search rankings on some level. Whether this means a huge drop in rankings or potentially a small gain, though, depends entirely on what type of comments your site is actually losing.
To watch Mueller’s full answer, check out the video below: