SEO-friendly management of your user comments

[caption id="attachment_1799" align="alignright" width="232"]Speech bubbles of user comments Image courtesy of digitalart /[/caption] User comments can be a great benefit for business. And as some sites practically live off their comments, with almost all their organic traffic coming from search engines picking up on the user generated content, it's important to get the right stuff - whether it's regular comments or reviews. So what can be done to boost the effect of user comments on your site? Well, filtering and moderation is a big part of good comment management.

Filtering the user comments

Filtering doesn't mean setting up a team of crack commandos censoring the users, but instead sifting away irrelevant content. And for that there's a lot of different software, but in this post we'll keep it simple. First and foremost there's the spam-filter. Like the filter in your mail, it removes posts algorithmically deemed to be spam. A great tool For Wordpress is Akismet, easily installed and it manages to clear out spam wonderfully. Combined with a blacklist for filtering out specific words, phrases or even some user IP's, this is the basis of good comment management. One thing you shouldn't do is to disallow trackbacks by having your platform add the rel="nofollow" attribute to the user posted links. While this will make the links useless from a spammer's link-building perspective, it will also get you downgraded by Google for hiding content. Instead you should have a filter notifying you about all links posted so you can either allow or remove them manually. If you like, you could tweak the filter so that you can manage a whitelist with allowed domains both to send them some link-love and make your job easier. To help the visitors you should set up a few easy guidelines on how to post and the key here is relevance. Cause while keeping it all positive might be tempting it will not send you soaring up the SERP, but instead a good collection of naturally differing opinions relevant for the site and topic can indeed help you get a leg up.