Recently, I've learned that "The Big G" considers comments as content, this being the reason HP is going in to edit comments for proper spelling & grammar.
Also, along these lines, I've seen it said in these forum posts, that because it's content, comments that are very short don't help, and may hurt.
So--is that saying that people who just stop by and leave 2 to 5 word comments are not helping the article? I'm torn as to whether to approve or deny such comments as "Nice piece" or "Very informative article." I don't like to hurt people's feelings, (by not approving their comments), but neither do I wish to hurt my traffic chances from G.
My opinion is all comments are good except for spam. The fact that someone read an article and is moved to comment or react, positive or negative is a good thing. I read recently, many news sites have decided to scrap the comment section because they were too toxic and full of trolls... It is up the author to add a comment module or not.
I personally do not remember it saying anything about very short comments. Just spammy comments. This is done through people working at mturk and it's not a script that's controlling this stuff, is it?
It's usually your followers who leave such comments. What I personally do is approve them (if they are not culled, as Marisa has pointed out). I even go ahead and reply to them. I wait 2 - 3 days, give the commenter time to read my reply and then delete both, the comment and my reply.
As I edit old hubs I also go through the comments and delete any old comments that fall in this category and my replies too.
Jesse, I disagree. If someone asks you a question about the best sites in Cape Cod, and you provide more details than is available in your hub, your hub might show up if a specific question is asked related to your answer. Have you ever done a search for something and found that the answer is in the comment section, and not in the body of the article? I have. Can I give you an idea on how important it is or how often this happens? No, not at all.
Which is why I explained that answers need to contain information. If someone asks a question and your reply "yes" or "no" I doubt Google cares. You stated that there is no scheme being used to allow Google to know you are replying. Do you know this for sure? Are you privy to the information that Google uses to rank its pages?
I think what Jesse was getting at was, maybe the mere fact of interaction is important - and in that case, keeping meaningless comments and replying to them might count for something. Lobobrandon was saying no, it doesn't.
If you've got meaningful questions and useful answers in your comments then of course that has value because it's good content. The fact of who is asking and who is answering - Google can't tell.
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