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Google: Deleting Blog Comments Might Hurt Search Rankings

During the recent Google Search Central SEO office-hours hangout recorded on 5th February 2021, Google’s John Mueller advised website owners that deleting all comments from their site might negatively affect their search rankings.

A website owner submitted a question asking whether Google considers blog comments as a ranking factor or not. They wished to delete comments from their site and wanted to know if they could do that without losing or hurting their site’s rankings.

Well, in short, the answer is: Yes, Google considers comments as a ranking factor for web pages, and no, it is improbable that you can delete comments from a website without affecting its search rankings.

Let’s discuss these two points in detail now.

John Mueller’s Take on Deleting Comments

Google’s John Mueller has not given any recommendations or suggestions regarding whether or not one should delete comments from their website or not. So that’s basically up to the site owners to decide.

However, responding to the question put forward by that site owner, Mueller did offer some details that can surely help all website owners to make better-informed decisions of whether or not they should remove comments.

Website owners need to know that Google view comments as part of the content as well. In case a comment includes information that a user is searching for, it can help that page show up in the SERPs.

Nevertheless, Mueller also mentions that the search engine can differentiate between the comment section and the main content. So, Google does treat the comments differently.

There are instances where comments prove useful to web pages if they provide additional information other than what is already incorporated in the main content. Though it is vital to bear in mind, that’s not necessarily the case always, and at times, comments offer little to no value at all.

Mueller advises the site owners to analyze the search queries driving visitors to the pages on a website to gauge the potential impact or outcome of removing all the comments.

During your examination, you might discover that the information present in the comments on your pages is actually helping searchers with different queries. Once you have analyzed this, you can make an informed decision regarding what would be the best for your website.

John Mueller says that ultimately it is up to the site owners. From their viewpoint, Google does view comments as part of your content. In many cases, they also realize that it is the comment section, and therefore they need to treat it a bit differently. But in the end, if users are coming across your web pages based on the comments present on it and if you go on and remove those comments only, then obviously the search engine won’t be able to discover your pages based on that.

Further adding to his statement, Mueller says that’s something where based on the types and number of comments you have on your pages, it might be the case that they offer remarkable value to your pages and could also be a significant source of additional information about your web pages. But on the other hand, this isn’t the case always.

Lastly, Mueller says he thinks that this is the part where site owners need to take a look at the overall contents of their pages, the search queries leading to their pages, and then contemplate which of those queries might vanish if comments were removed from those pages. Depending on that, site owners can try and find out what they should and shouldn’t do next.

Concluding his statement, Mueller reminds the audience that Google does not entirely overlook comments on a website. If you decide to go through with removing comments from your pages, it only seems logical to expect to see at least some changes regarding your search rankings.

Wrapping It Up

So, with this, one thing is clear that the search engine indeed considers the comments when it comes to ranking pages, although they can distinguish the comment section from the main content, so it is treated slightly differently. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the overall content of your website as well as the queries leading to your pages before blindly going off and deleting them all. Nevertheless, if you still decide to go through with this, you should surely hope to see an impact on your search rankings.