Google Now Indexing FB Comments

Recent reports from the online social media technosphere have revealed that search engine giant Google is now crawling and indexing comments created by Facebook members. This indexing is not limited to comments made on the Facebook site itself; it rather includes the indexing of web pages that use dynamic JavaScript and AJAX content. This means that even outside social comments created using Facebook’s third-party commenting system will be indexed by Google.

This new indexing behavior by Google’s crawler is consequent to recent moves made by the search engine giant regarding its social media strategy. Google had recently phased out the use of its “+” search operator in order to make room for search queries related to its own social network, Google+. In fact, comment threads made on Google+ can already be queried with a Google search. Commenting systems are integral to the online social media experience, and Google recognizes the importance of user-generated content. Google is interested in indexing any content that becomes relevant, such as a Twitter trend spreading like wildfire, or content shared on Facebook which becomes viral.

Facebook isn’t the only online social media platform that will benefit from Google’s new indexing of comments. Other third-party commenting systems such as Disqus will also become bait for the Google indexing bots. This could become a boon to online marketers who pursue link-building on sites that have a high Google PageRank.

For website administrators, comments left on their sites by social media members are crucial to boost their PageRank. Not only is a high level of commenting activity desired, but also the social standing of the people leaving comments and the relevance of the commentary in relation to the content. Webmasters who previously shunned the Facebook Comment Box will now have a great incentive for using it.

With Google crawling and indexing comments, moderation will become more important than ever. Website owners and administrators should pay close attention to their comment sections to ensure they aren’t in violation of Google’s Webmaster Guidelines. Too many comments left for trolling and spamming purposes will result in a negative PageRank, while hate speech could result in blacklisting.

It should be noted that Google will not be indexing Facebook comments left on private sites, such as a Facebook wall that has enabled privacy settings. Social media users need to remember that a comment left on a friend’s Facebook wall could be indexed by Google if that wall doesn’t have the proper privacy settings in place. This new indexing functionality, however, could also help someone to search for all comments made by a Facebook member across the World Wide Web. This can be made possible by applying the right elements to a query that searches for a specific person using a third-party comment system.

Comments are intrinsically tied to the online social media experience. For sites such as Quora and other high-profile question and answer sites, user-generated comments are the juice that keeps them relevant. By crawling and indexing comments, Google is making the Internet search experience more interesting.

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November 3, 2011

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