Google to Enable Comments in Search Results; Here’s What to Expect

Google is gearing up to allow users to comment on search results.  Although we expect it to roll out slowly and not be an immediate ranking factor it has the potential to be a real game changer for SEO.  Here is what we are expecting to see:

How commenting in search results will work

When a user is logged into their Google account and conducts a search on Google, they will have the ability to leave a comment on that search result that will be public, for any other searcher to see.  Additionally, searchers have the ability to like or dislike those comments. This should help curb any abuse of the commenting system.

The comments are not just limited to search results on web pages though.  Users will also be able to comment on sporting events as they are happening.  This should make for some interesting interactions that we imagine Google will have a fun time policing.

How to leave a comment on a search result

 

Below is an excerpt from Google’s help page on how to leave comments:

  • Go to Google.com or open the Google app
  • Type in your search
  • In the overview box click more
  • Click comments
  • Click add a public comment
  • Enter your comment

Users will have the ability to edit and even delete their own comments if they wish.

What does this mean for your website rankings?

 

As this roles out many are wondering how it will affect their rankings and what they can do to incorporate this change into their SEO strategy. Here is what we expect:

This will be a slow rollout only affecting a small percentage of searches at first to prove the concept.  Google traditionally roles out significant changes slowly to see how users react before fully launching the change.

This will not be a ranking factor in the early stages, however if it expands and becomes permanent it will likely play a significant role in rankings.  Google’s ultimate goal is to provide the best experience for it’s users. Although their algorithm has many factors to help determine the best results, there is nothing better than feedback directly from the user.  Google will likely use machine learning to interpret the sentiment of the comments and have that sentiment score become a significant ranking factor.

Although you must be logged in to Google to leave a comment (no anonymous comments) we will see some abuse here.  The like/dislike option, however should limit the significance of those issues.

Search results will improve.  It is not uncommon for a top search result to be several years old and no longer accurate or relevant.  As an example, for all you fantasy football fans out there, we searched “best fantasy defense for playoffs”  this search was conducted on Nov 28, 2018 and is intended to see which NFL defenses one should add to their roster to help them win in the fantasy football playoffs this season.  Below is a screenshot of some of the results:

Google Search results that would benefit from comments

As you can see on the screenshot one of the top ten results is an article from 2016.  There is absolutely no value in that information for this search as it is two seasons ago.  If comments were enabled we would likely see a significant amount of feedback to that nature that we expect would lower if not eventually remove that article from ranking on this search.

Summary

Google is always trying to adapt and improve.  Allowing comments on search results is another step in that process, albeit a big one.  This is likely to cause significant changes in rankings for everyone, however it should drastically improve search results in the process.

This is yet another example of the need for an active SEO team to ensure your website stays relevant.  Google is always changing the game, so a set it and forget it approach to SEO will not last.

Let us know what you think of being able to comment on search results in the comment section below

Our dedicated SEO team can ensure your website is set up for success for when these changes take affect.

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