Tuesday, February 17, 2015

What is the value of a comment within the social media?

Comments within the social media have been  getting quite a bit of coverage during the last few weeks with many discussing the value of comments in terms of their impacts on your SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) and your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) tactics, with a focus on the semantic relationships between those who comment on a social media post or other online article and the content that elicited the comments.

this link opens a page where SEO is defined and discussed+Randy Milanovic  wrote a great article where he requested input from others to discuss the issues around
determining the value of the ongoing conversation that may or may not take place within the comment stream of a post within the social media, on a blog or other online resource.  This conversation was quite interesting and had many influential people within the SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) industry passing comments and discussing the implications of comments on your Search Engine Results Pages.

Randy Milanovic posed this question : 

This question is not a new one, how ever search engines have been evolving and growing their algorithms progressively as they gather more data about us from a variety of different sources.  The many different search engines are now using this data in meaningful ways that link individuals to specific social media  profiles, which can be identified and linked to comments made across a wide spectrum of web sites, especially those web sites that use social media plug ins to register users before they add content or comment on the content already published within that specific web site.

Following His discussions with those who chose to interact with Randy's Google plus post he wrote a blog post using that discussion to elicit a much deeper  and more meaningful conversation,  covering the many sneaky and devious issues around the semantic value of comments and the impact of this potential semantic value of comments on  other related SEOVI (Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators)

This all came about following a comment I left using the DISCUS PLATFORM on an article that Randy Authored in the   Kayak Online Marketing Blog    

Social engagement takes on many different forms across the various social media platforms, web sites, blogs and other online resources available within CYBER SPACE, but I am only going to discuss comments further here.  Comments are a very important aspect of the social media or social aspect of any online platform and allow for ongoing conversations hopefully discussing the topic that was introduced in the original post, or  article, from a few different perspectives within the marketing industry.  This discussion will focus on the issues around search and the impact of comments on the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages)

On going discussions within the comments of any post or article have many impacts on a variety of marketing issues, and these are commonly called engagement issues.  Engagement issues cover a wide spectrum of issues including but not limited to 
  •  network building
  • link building
  • content marketing
  • inbound marketing
  • OPSEO (Off Page Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Public relations issues
  • customer care issues
This article will focus exclusively on the #OPSEO or Off Page Search Engine Optimisation issues, but that does not mean that the other issues associated with the value of comments are not important or significant, because they are,  and many of these issues have sneaky and devious positive feed back loops that add some serious SEMANTIC SEOVI (Search engine Optimisation Value Indicators) to any links that may placed within the comments, and increase the depth of the associated semantic footprints of all identified individual digital entities who comment or are mentioned in the comments associated with the post or article in question.

Search engines collect a vast quantity of data about us all the time, and use this data in VERY LARGE SCALE DATA to evaluate so many different aspects of who we are, what we do, which sites we visit, what we write about, which people we associate with online, what field of expertise interests us, and where we as individuals are deemed to be knowledgeable and so many others.

Individual people are identified, and associated with separate identifiable digital entities such as web sites, blogs, social media profiles and many others. Each digital entity has its own SEMANTIC FOOT PRINT which is much like our human fingerprints, and is unique to that specific digital entity. The more often one uses the internet the bigger the data that is collected about you, and the more accurate these calculated profiles become. For those who have concerns about online privacy these matters must be a night mare, as web sites use cookies and many other devious and dubious tracking techniques to follow our every move.  Search engines are the worst at this and they really try all tricks in the book and then a few extra to extract as much information about each online individual as they possibly can.

This information is used in many trust factor  calculations as well as in assessing your digital footprint, and the traces that one leaves where ever they visit online, are all factored into the various algorithms which pre-populate certain databases that are used in calculating the next stage algorithms which places SEOVI or Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators at the disposal of the next stage algorithms.  Google does not let us know how many stages their algorithms have, but it is at least10, though many say it is much more.  each of these preparatory stages  prepares data for the next stage, and the final stage is calculated when the end user (the searcher) presses the enter button or initiates the search by other means, such as through speech in the newest mobile devices.  The algorithms like PANDA and PENGUIN are done at the early stages just after your online content has been indexed, but are run many times over, and each iteration adjusts the SEOVI in question, and these algorithms are repeated until a limit is reached and the changes within the various SEOVI are small enough to ignore. 

Trust factor algorithms are run later, and the results of these are then fed backwards into the system and the process is repeated again until the results stabilize, then this is repeated again til these impacts of the trust factors also stabilize.  Now one must remember that every social media post is viewed as a stand alone web page within a sub web (your profile / page profile) within the specific social media platform.  This is seen very clearly seen  by the way that your profile on any social media platform is structured.  For instance my personal pinterest profile is https://www.pinterest.com/info4u2use/  where pinterest.com is the domain, and info4u2use is the sub domain, and individual pins of images  are the separate pages.  Your G+ posts are seen the same way by Google. Comments that are added to any web page are thus an addition which is deemed to be an edit by a search engine, and so the process of adjusting the associated SEOVI (Search Engine Optimisation Value Indicatiors) must be processed again.

Now one must realise that the search engine understands that this is an edit, and thus treats the added comment as an addition to the page, and runs through the algorithms again, but does not start at the very beginning, rather jumping into the information flow pattern at a pre-determined point and proceeding from there.   The trust factors are now an important issue, as the author attribution of the new comment is known, because only logged-in persons may place comments within the social media structures. Who is the author of this comment and what is this authors niche field of knowledge are now an important issue.  If these issues can be matched to the content of the page in question and shown to be semantically relevant to the authors niche then some extra SEOVI's (search Engine Optimisation Value Indicators) are added which will have an imp[act on the position of this social media post / article within the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages)

Each additional comment causes the same re-action from the search engine, and the trust factors as associated with each new comment are evaluated and added into the mix.  If any of the commenters have a high authority rating within the semantically linked space, then this may improve the accumulative SEOVI's associated with this particular comment and pass along many other SEOVI to other areas such as links placed with the comment in question.  The value that this has should not be underestimated, as this is part of a feed back loop which can have many unforeseen implications,  especially if the link points to a page where any one of the other commentators is referenced as an author, or directly connected to these issues through a link to a publisher, where any one of the commenters or the original poster is associated as a publisher or contributor.  When Google or other search engines re-asses the page in question these issues will then cause an improvement in some of the trust factor SEOVI and thus improve other related SEOVI that pass along value further up the chain. This added SEOVI here has a further knock on impact as this filters through the system and opperates as part of a positive feed back loop, pushing up values all along the way.

Each iteration of the algorithms causes a slight improvement until the values stabilize again at some new value.  These changes can be small, but they can also be quite substantial depending on the topic, who is commenting, what they actually type in their comments, and the links within any comment and the feed back loops that are created.  this is the reason that one should expand the conversation by placing meaningful links that expand the conversation within both the original post / article as well as within the comments.  the impacts of these links is very significant, and if done in conjunction with more than one social media platform, they can be very significant when added together.  If the original content in the web or blog has listed a publisher, through the accredited HTML 5  methods (REL = PUBLISHER)  and that publisher has created a community and then this commenting  happens within a post in that community, which is created by the author of the original article,  then the SEO impact can be very substantial.

Where the post in question that is receiving the comments resides,  is also a very big issue here, and the domain rank as well as the page rank of the original location where these comments are considered will also have an impact on the growth in value of the SEOVI (Search Engine Optimisation value Indicators) associated with any individual comment.

It thus follows that the SEO value of a comment can be very significant, especially if persons who have some authority within the semantically linked niche comment and sustain an ongoing conversation with links to other resources to expand the conversation.  This once again boils down to issues of quality, and not quantity, though quantity does play a role, especially when there is plenty of good quality.

Many thanx for reading to the end...

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