When you’re blogging regularly, people will start responding to what you write. Maybe not right away, but as your blog is growing, you’ll have to deal with comments on your blog. Especially when you write about your world view or opinions, some people will disagree with you. You will, in short, have to deal with the responses and opinions of your readers. But how?
Are comments on your blog important for SEO?
Comments add content to your blog post. And Google indexes all content on your website, including every comment in every blog post. Do not get excited just yet, because Google will instantly recognize comments as being just comments. Their value for the search engine will be much lower than the original content of the blog post. Responding to comments on your blog will therefore not instantly improve your SEO, but it will result in higher percentages of returning visitors.
Five types of comments
The comments people leave on blogs can be divided into five types:
1. Positive feedback
First, the positive feedback. Some people just want to say that they like you, your company, or your blog post. That’s always nice to hear. Make sure to reply to some of these (even if it’s just a quick “thanks!”) or express general gratitude in an upcoming post, so the person giving the compliment feels appreciated.
The second type of comment are the questions your audience has after they’ve read your post. Perhaps something remained unclear or something you wrote triggered someone to ask you about your post or about your brand.
Responding to questions shouldn’t be that hard. If the answer to the question is short (and you actually know the answer!), you can just leave a direct reply. If a question is harder to answer, or if it needs some more explanation, you could decide to write a new post about it.
If you don’t know the answer to a question, we would advise you to still reply to that comment on your blog. You could simply admit that you do not know the answer, or you could state that you’ll dive into the matter and come back with an answer later (and don’t forget to!).
3. Negative feedback
The third type of comment is negative feedback. Sometimes, people disagree with what you wrote and sometimes people are unsatisfied with your product or service. Sometimes people are just plain mean about it. These kind of comments are the hardest to handle.
If comments on your blog are really hurtful and indecent (e.g. violent or racist) I would advise you to delete them altogether. Name calling doesn’t have a place on your blog. But, I wouldn’t delete comments from dissatisfied customers or readers. Not responding to these comments or deleting them could seriously backfire; if people are dissatisfied enough, they’ll complain about you through other channels, and you’ll look like you’re censoring their concerns. So, however hard it might be, you should try to respond to their comments and try to find the source of their dissatisfaction. If commenters are dissatisfied with your product or service, ask them to get in touch by phone or email to solve their problem.
Don’t be afraid of some discussion on your blog. A nice discussion in which there is room for several points of view can be a good thing. It gives you the opportunity to really show your audience your expertise and opinion about a certain topic. As long as a discussion is polite and respectful, it will attract readers and make them return to your blog.
4. Off-topic comments
While you’ll hopefully mostly receive comments related to your post, sometimes you might get the fourth kind of comment: off-topic. Off-topic comments aren’t necessarily bad quality comments, but, as they don’t relate to the topic of your post, it can be hard to deal with them.
Beware that off-topic comments might negatively affect your SEO. Imagine that someone leaves a very long comment on your post that doesn’t have anything to do with the topic of this blog post. Search engines indexing the content of this page will see that comment and may consequently have a harder time figuring out what the page is about. So, you should probably delete that comment. Not only for SEO reasons, but also for your own sanity.
How do you respond properly to off-topic comments? If you decide to delete an off-topic comment, you can reach out to someone and say, “Hey, you said this and this. I can respond to that, but it’s not really related to the blog post, so I have deleted your comment, but here’s my reaction.” That’s a friendly reaction to the person leaving the comment on your blog, but it’s also keeping your blog post intact and on topic.
And finally, some comments are just spam. People try to trick your readers into clicking on a link, often to something unrelated, or they just write nonsense. If your spam filter doesn’t filter these comments out already, you should delete and optionally block them as soon as you see them. WordPress by default comes with the plugin Akismet, which is made for this purpose.
Reserve some time for handling comments
Answering questions and providing correct responses in a discussion can take a lot of time. Make sure you’ve got the time to monitor and respond to the comments you receive on your blog. You don’t have to respond to a comment within the hour, but make sure to respond within a day or two. This shows your readers you’re involved and you care about their responses.
Read more: Blogging: the ultimate guide »