By Maximilian Clarke

Now that Google has begun indexing website comments left through third-party commenting mechanisms, including Facebook comments, brands should consider incorporating such an engine into their website pages to take advantage of the opportunity for increased visibility, a PR, social media and SEO agency has said.

Previously, Punch Communications explain, Google was unable to index remarks via commenting engines, such as Facebook Comments, Disqus and Intense Debate due to them being executed in JavaScript. However, Google has just made an important change to its crawling capabilities, meaning comments posted by website visitors can now be presented in search engine results pages, resulting in the particular web page with the comment being visible and accessible to click through to.

Brands and their marketers or PR companies should therefore ensure this new prospect for visibility is included in campaign strategies as the opportunity is twofold; encouraging visitors to comment on the business’ website could mean an increase in traffic if comments are displayed in organic search results but the new indexing could also augment a spokespersons profile, as well as the brand itself, if the representative were to comment on relevant stories on other sites. A search query can now also be used to locate comments left by a particular person — “commenter name * commenter title”.

However, any brand utilising a third-party commenting engine must ensure it has a suitable monitoring and moderation process in place to detect inappropriate content or spam; otherwise businesses could find their websites being associated with unsuitable search queries and will be served in search engine results pages for such.

“With comments now ranking in Google’s organic listings, brands that give visitors the opportunity to remark, and in fact actively encourage dialogue could find themselves being much more visible in the leading search engine’s results pages, which will in turn attract more visitors to their site,” said Pete Goold, managing director at integrated PR, social media and SEO agency, Punch Communications.

“In particular, breaking stories and news topics that are receiving a lot of attention, or ‘chatter’, could benefit the most from this new indexing as website comments could be the most fresh and relevant content on a matter outside of social networks; in line with this, spokespeople should consider taking advantage of the potential visibility through pertinent thought leadership comments on relevant articles on trusted sites. Nevertheless, spammers will also want to take advantage of this opportunity so moderation should be a high priority so a brand’s website is not associated with inappropriate content.”

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