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Typically, I try to avoid heated discussions about Search Engine Optimization - especially if it involves my competition. Most of the time, chiming in just adds fuel to the fire. But a number of people have asked for my take about the recent advice given by Mary McKnight concerning the number of comments in a blog post having a negative effect on SEO. So with that in mind, I decided to write a quick post to give my take on things. If you are not privy to the discussion here is a quick recap…
Mary basically said (paraphrasing) that lots of comments can alter the keyword density of your post and therefore can negative effect in your ability rank high in the search engines for that post. You can view the video below…
Matt Cutts', head of Google Webspam team writes on his blog "I'd recommend thinking more about words and variants (the "long-tail") and thinking less about keyword density or repeating phrases."
Amongst SEO experts it is pretty much agreed that you should NOT be concerned about the keyword density on your blog post. Google's algorithms are very advanced. This MIGHT have been a concern 3-5 years ago, but not now.
I would have to second Jonathan Washburn on this one. Now Marry does make an interesting case about this. In fact, I brought up a similar point a while ago in a post about too many comments adding too many outgoing links. But at the end of the day said...
I have to believe with the amount of technology they have, they are smart enough to know that these are simply links from comments.
So let's dig into this in a little more detail about why I think Mary's concept is a non-issue…
Keyword Density is an Outdated Concept
Today, it's more about the site or page theme. Let me give you a great example. My company originally a video and marketing company that simply fell into the real estate web design niche. So while I was busy designing websites for Realtors, I didn't have time to redesign or change the copy on my company website. Because of this, my site was not centered around Web Design for Realtors. In fact, it did not even mention the phrase "real estate web design" once in the entire website! Yet I still ranked on page one for that keyword! Why? Because I had so many backlinks and real estate related websites linking to me. Now I am not suggesting that you shouldn't include your target search phrase, I am merely using this example to prove my point.
What is the Theme of Your Website?
Think Site Theme and Page Theme instead of keywords. Jon hit the nail on the head. Matt Cutts specifically talks about this (the infamous Linux Printer Post). The old way of SEO was to repeat a phrase many times. The new way (not really that new) is to think about latent semantics (synonyms and themes).
Comments Reinforce the Theme
If I write a blog post about blue widgets, then it seems logical that people will comment about blue widgets. So more comments will only reinforce the theme, not dilute it. Plus, if a blog is written correctly, it will spark the conversation. People will leave relevant comments. You, as the blogger, can then make additional comments to keep the conversation going on the right track. Sure, there will always be people who leave the generic "great post" just to get their points on ActiveRain. But don't you think a $133 Billion dollar company such as Google has refined their algorithm to know the difference between the post and the comments? I am not a programmer and I can think of a dozen different ways to easily determine that by simply looking at the code.
High Value Posts Equals Many Comments
Many comments typically translate to high value. Now I know that this is not a hard and fast rule, but think about it for a second. If I write a dog of a post, I am probably not going to get many comments. But if I write something of high value, then it will probably spur many people to leave a comment. Plus, many people commenting, means that many people have visited your blog. The more eyeballs that are looking at the post translates into a greater chance of other bloggers and websites linking to that post.
Just Test The Theory
While it would be difficult to do a true scientific test, you can do a general test of this theory by looking at posts with lots of comments and see if they show up in search engines. I did a few different tests and found that many of the top blogs that show up in search engines do have lots of people commenting. Now keep in mind, it's difficult to accurately test this theory since posts with many comments also typically received many backlinks (which only reinforces my theory of more comments translate into high value)
So with that said, feel free to comment all you want on this, and any other post I write. The more the better! If you want, you can even link to it! I won't mind. ;-)
To Your SEO Success,
Brad Carroll - Dakno Marketing
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.