The comment section on your WordPress posts does matter for SEO. A good comments section can make your site more interesting and, in the best cases, your users will increase the quality of your content by offering intelligent comments.
Sometimes, they’ll even include links that enhance the usefulness of your posts for readers and that can be a very good thing. Not only are they making your site more useful, they’re also allowing you to skip the work of finding more links to include!
Managing Your Comments
On most premium wordpress themes, there will be features built into the admin panel that allow you to control how your contents are handled. Make sure you set this up so that you have to approve all comments before they are posted. Not doing so is inviting spammers and trolls into your comments section. Either of these nuisances can lower the quality of your site very quickly and end up driving your visitors away.
To set this up manually, go to Settings and then select the Discussions subpanel. Set your option so that an administrator has to approve comments. This is the most labor-intensive way to manage your comments but, as is the case with most things in life, a little bit of work goes a long way toward building something worthwhile.
This is the most basic part of handling comments on your WordPress site. There is much more to all of this than just requiring approval on your comments, however. Today’s web is all about users interacting with one another and there are some great strategies that you can employ to take advantage of this trend and to increase the search engine visibility of your site.
To Interact or Not?
Some blog owners choose not to participate in the comments section of their sites. Sometimes, they do so to cultivate something of a celebrity status. Being too available tends to be at cross purposes to coming off as “someone” on the web, but you may be shooting yourself in the foot with this strategy.
Interacting with your commenters allows you to develop a rapport with them and encourages them to come back. It also can have the effect of getting you word of mouth and link sharing advertising, which can both drive traffic to your site.
The more you engage with your users, the more likely they are to add more useful information to your comments section, which makes your site more interesting to the search engines overall.
There is another strategy that you can use to greatly expand upon the SEO value of a post, as well.
Personal to Public
Provided the user in question is okay with it, make sure to publish interesting comments that are relevant to a post and that are sent to you personally to your blog. Some commentators in the media have adopted this strategy and it has the effect of creating a sort of letters to the editor section.
If you were around in the days of print newspapers, you’ll remember that people loved the letters to the editor section. It provides an opportunity for intelligent debate and publishing these letters can end up generating as lot of quality content for your site, for free! Just remember to let the readers know that emails and other personal forms of contact may end up being publicized on your blog to avoid anyone being angry.
WordPress has roots that run deep into the social web. Be sure you take advantage of this. Engage your audience, don’t be aloof and you’ll likely be rewarded with content that could boost your blog’s search engine visibility in meaningful ways!