Gary Illyes from the Google Search team said at PubCon that comments sections on websites can be a good thing. This messaging is on target with what Google has said about comments sections in the past, assuming the comments are useful and not filled with spam – they can be a good thing.
Patrick Stox quoted Gary as saying, “Comments can be good, but from a site owners perspective they can be a freaking nightmare. If you want comments, bring them back.”
— Patrick Stox (@patrickstox) September 21, 2023
Danny Goodwin quoted Gary as saying, while many websites removed comment sections and forums in the past 10 years, Illyes said that comments can be good. “Especially if I know the site has a strict rule about how users can behave on the site, then I would trust info from those users more,” Illyes said. Illyes didn’t say comments are a ranking signal. He was more saying this from his own perspective. And it was an interesting insights, especially considering how moderated user-generated sites like Reddit and Quora have seen gains following recent Google updates.
In 2016, Gary said the same thing, comments can help with community and rankings. But in 2009, Google said spammy comments can hurt, which is probably obvious to all of you. Google tries to understand comments sections but they can be considered part of the primary content. Google also said do not noindex pages with comments if those comments are good.
Note: I am posting stories today, Sunday, because tomorrow is Yom Kippur and I am not posting anything on Yom Kippur.
Forum discussion at X.