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User comments with poor grammar + Panda

 3:25 pm on May 19, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have a few pages which have been very popular over the years with teenagers, each with tens of thousands of user comments. We've always moderated our comments for spam, but not mis-spellings and bad grammar, and these comments contain a lot of mis-spellings and bad grammar.

These pages have lost a lot of traffic due to Panda (the entire 150,000 page site has lost a lot of traffic due to Panda) and I'm wondering if I should implement comments through AJAX. As far as I can tell, Google won't index text that isn't in the initial page HTML, and AJAX will load the comments after the initial page load.

The comment sections on each page have become like little communities where visitors help each other and I personally feel like they are the most important parts of my website, so I don't want to do away with the comments altogether.

Any thoughts on this? Would this be a waste of time?



 3:43 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Normally Google knows what is UGC, such as a comments. And UGC naturally has misspellings and poor grammar. Since many sites with UGC improved after Panda, I don't think that grammar is the reason for your lost traffic.


 4:12 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

As usual, I agree with tedster. As long as your code made it clear where the UGC is; Google is pretty good and knowsthe difference. At least that's what their engineers said at a conference I went to over the winter.


 7:36 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

Traffic to the UGC pages on our site is up fourfold since Panad launched. Traffic to the rest of our site is stagnant. Our users tend to have pretty good spelling (I think most have spell check in the browser, and use it) but the grammar often leaves a lot to be desired.

In the past, I have used common spelling mistakes in titles to try to rank for the misspelling. I'm a bit more hesitant to do that now. However, I don't see any reason to stop using UGC.

Some sites are fixing spelling and grammar errors in user submitted content:

It makes the content better for other users, and now may help with SEO. Haven't tried it yet myself, but its a trend I'm going to keep my eye on.


 7:57 pm on May 20, 2011 (gmt 0)

As long as your code made it clear where the UGC is; Google is pretty good and knowsthe difference.

Normally, comments are on the same page. How do you make it clear? Is there a special tag we can use to separate UGC and non UGC?


 2:14 am on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)


Just following the standard format.

I.e. comments are at the bottom of the page and rolling.


 10:04 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google Schmoogle.

I'm pretty much sold on using AJAX for my comments. Hopefully I'll have this live by the end of the weekend. Even if Google isn't penalizing my site for mis-spellings, the coolness factor has to be a plus, right?

I was also hoping to hear if anyone has any experience with Google indexing AJAX'ed content. I don't really see a benefit in my comments being indexed, I don't think I can recall any instance of comments bringing search engine traffic.

Any more thoughts?


 11:09 pm on May 21, 2011 (gmt 0)

@dataguy, good discussion on comments. eHow recently changed comments from non ajax to Ajax(Facebook) comments after Panda.

Theoretically Search Engines should not index Ajaxed data unless we give special instructions on how to read(Google suggested this some time back).

We normally display Non Ajax comments on the page, but decided to change Non Ajax to Ajax.


 1:37 am on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

Comments can also skew what the page is about in Gbot's eyes.


 2:46 am on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

You said it - I just hate getting a search result that goes to a way off-topic page because of some lunatic comment.

Some software puts comments in an iframe to limit that kind of damage. I suppose if you've got a really strong article and don't mind losing any really good comments in the indexing of the page, that's one way to go.


 3:06 am on May 22, 2011 (gmt 0)

And Google might reward sites that create more pages when one would suffice if they credit for pageviews or time spent for visitor. Site owners adapt to google and by using things that aren't directly related to the content G is encouraging more pages. It's a paradox, those not caught have such pages and keep increasing their ranking (until...Panda 6.0 maybe ).

So you have your article and then have a 'comments for the article' page. If enough users click, you got at least 1.X pageviews per user as supposed to just having one. And it takes time to go back and forth or to close the window so you have a 'good site' that people dig deep into :).

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