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Driving SEO with User Generated Content

Viafoura is your partner in audience development and as such, we take SEO very seriously. We are one of the only major commenting and engagement platform that natively support search indexing of our commenting tool (Facebook comments and Disqus do not). But SEO goes far beyond just allowing indexing. Here are some of the ways that Viafoura enables and optimizes SEO from our widgets on behalf of our clients:

Speed

Google has stated publicly that site speed is a significant factor in search ranking. Independent studies have confirmed that improving time to render, and especially start rendering time, are very highly correlated with higher page rank.

Viafoura helps to minimize the impact that our widgets have on site speed in the following ways:

  1. Asynchronous loading: Our Javascript is loaded after displaying much of the immediately consumable page to the user. This aids in load speed and start rendering time while retaining the dynamic elements of the site.
  2. On-demand loading: Comment widgets can be heavy due to the volume of content that they deliver and their technical complexity. For this reason, we load our comment widget only if the user scrolls close to where the widget will load. This ensures that our widget does not impact the start render time on the page.
  3. Batching: A technique whereby we bundle multiple API calls into one which can speed up the experience, especially for mobile users.
  4. Multiple Bundles: We break our Javascript into separate bundles which improves efficiency by only loading the components that are needed on that particular page.
  5. Minification: Our Javascript is minified, a type of compression which removes unnecessary white-space and characters from the code. This results in reducing a file-size to almost one quarter of the original size.
  6. Compression: We compress all communication from our servers using GZIP, which provides additional file-size savings.
  7. CDN: We use a CDN (content delivery network with servers all over the world) to deliver our content (excluding API results) at low latency worldwide, by geographical region.
  8. Caching: We cache our files so browsers will only download our files when they change (ie: once per release) except for critical components.
  9. WebSockets: We use WebSockets to produce our real time events using an open data connection.
  10. Font-icons: We use font-icons to bundle our icons into one file to reduce requests.
  11. Avoid Sequential Requests: We minimize the number of sequential requests, reducing load times.

User-Generated Content

1. Viafoura Civility tools: our industry leading civility tools allow you to control the discourse on your site, ensuring the discourse is inline with your community guidelines, without needing a massive moderation effort. These tools include:

Automated On-site Moderation: Smart automated algorithmic Moderation (SaaM) uses artificial intelligence based natural language processing and machine learning to detect and eliminate harassment, abuse, and other uncivil comments before they go live, ensuring that potentially damaging comments are prevented from being indexed.

Community Management: Empower your community to help manage the discourse themselves through flag threshold disabling of comments in addition to user-to-user muting.

Email Verification: Validate your users and impede multi-account creation with a sophisticated email verification system.

Display Name Moderation: Ensure that the display names on your website are not being used to post objectionable content or spam and therefore being read by search engine bots.

 Avatar Verification: Prevent obscene or objectionable images from being posted in profile pictures by moderating user profile pictures.

User Banning: Allow moderators to give short “time outs” and inform users why they are being banned to help them improve.

Spam detection: We offer industry leading 3-layer spam detection including NLP spam pattern detection.

2. Promoted comments: Our civility tools are the first line of defense to ensure the actual and perceived (by Google in this case) quality of your community. In addition, we have widgets that can be used to showcase the best comments higher in the page, thereby ensuring that the best comments are being indexed: These include:

Editor’s pick pull quote: This widget allows you to pull the very best of your comments into the body of your articles. This widget loads extremely fast, and places your user-generated content high in the page ensuring that Google will index the content. Google appears to favor content within the body of an article for ranking purposes.

Editor’s pick list: This highly customizable widget allows you to showcase the best of the best comments anywhere on your site by pulling in the best curated comments from your whole site or from the section that the comments appeared in.

Trending comments: This widget can be configured to showcase the comments that are getting the most “likes” on your site. This is a less curated way to promote the best comments on your site.

3. Dynamic page content: Pages with active content updates, such as new comments being posted, can trigger additional reindexing and improve the recency and relevance of the page in search results.
4. UGC Keywords: Terminology your audience may use around a topic can often differ from what journalists would write and can provide closer matches to user-generated search terms.

Competitive Comparison

Article Indexed
Widgets Indexed
Commenting Indexed
AI enforced civility

(prevents bad comments from impacting SEO)

Facebook Comments
N/A
Disqus
N/A *
Viafoura

* Requires complex server integration

Conclusion

It is important to keep in mind that search engine algorithms are proprietary and dynamic, so the ways that site content and widgets can impact search ranking is always changing. That being said, Viafoura strikes a careful balance between maximizing loading speed, ensuring that Google and other search engines recognize your vibrant community, and ensuring that poor quality UGC is removed before it gets indexed. Combined, Viafoura’s tools can be a powerful contributor to your SEO strategy.

So what are you waiting for? See how the Viafoura Audience Development Platform supports your SEO efforts. Let’s connect.
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