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I am building a website and am trying to decide between writing my own commenting system and using Disqus.

One of the main deciding factors is that (obviously), I want comments left on my page to be show on SERPS. However, I remember reading somewhere that Disqus loads comments into a page using AJAX - and therefore the comments are "invisible" as far as Googlebot and other SE crawlers are concerned. Could someone confirm or refute this?

The other question I have is about whether (as a commenter), When I place a comment on another website using Disqus (including any links I may add to my comment), do the links in my comment count as a back link (in other words are they "dofollow" or "nofollow" links)?

  • your 1st question seems to right because when check source code of webpage using disqus comment system in their website there is no comment in source code – user10643 Oct 4 '11 at 12:29
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Disqus has a blog post about how using there tool helps, http://blog.disqus.com/post/9956511178/disqus-research-how-comments-drive-traffic.

In the comments, Rob Webb asks the Disqus team about the SEO drawbacks of using Disqus because of the JavaScript not being seen by search spiders. The response from Disqus says that they aren't even sure if there are SEO drawbacks and that there are some ways around them, depending on the tool you use. Specifically, WordPress uses Disqus' data synchronization to resolve the SEO issue. The tool is something you could use to integrate Disqus.

I am not sure how difficult it would be to integrate Disqus with data sync but I do know creating your own commenting system is not simple. Here are the big concerns you need to be aware of if you write you own comment system:

  1. User Authentication - You need to use CAPTCHA or an authentication API (e.g. OAuth, OpenID) to weed out bots.
  2. Comment Review - You probably will need to review comments before they are posted due to concerns about bots getting around authentication or troll type users then you need to setup email and a allow/deny comment system. Even if you don't think you do now, that could change quickly after comments go live. For it to be easiest, the notification emails sent to admins should allow for them to respond to the email to allow/deny the comment.
  3. Comment Following - Some users like to follow comments by email or an RSS feed. That means you need a system that allow comment subscription that is thread specific and an RSS engine that will create RSS feeds for comment automatically for each page that gets added that uses Disqus.
  4. Hack proofing - Make sure users cannot enter any code into comment box that could hack or break your site.

All of these things can be done but they are not trivial and if you write the code yourself you run the risk of making the same mistakes that people have already made meaning there will be bugs and break-ins caused by your home grown comment system, that using something like Disqus will avoid.

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Google has since announced its algorithm now allows it to crawl Disqus comments although it may take longer to show than traditional comments and any links in the comments.

  • 1
    Do you have a link for this? – Anagio Mar 10 '12 at 0:57
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Links in comments have "nofollow" added by Disqus.

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Whether it uses AJAX depends on if you are using the Universal Code version, which is a JavaScript snippet, or installing it on some other platform, like a WordPress plugin. If you install it on a platform that runs it on the server then the comments won't be invisible.

Links in comments have "nofollow" added by Disqus.

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Answering here because I was searching for this today and had been using server-side rendering for Disqus (which adds quite a bit of extra data to one of my most popular pages). I figured it's been many years and JS is hardly going away so Google might have figured something out by now, no?

I searched around a bit more and there is now pretty clear evidence that Google does in fact index Javascript-only Disqus comments: Google showing Disqus comments being read in SERPs (from the linked article).

With that in mind it seems safe to say that Disqus comments, even loaded only via AJAX and not server-side rendered, are included in SERPs/searches. It's likely that at least some other search engines don't include them of course; but it's up to you whether non-Google search engines matter (for my site's stats, they do not).

Comments have a positive (if likely minor) effect on SEO from what I can tell so it was a relief to find I can AJAX load comments like this and still have Google crawl them.

And while answered in the other answers, Disqus Nofollows links as one would expect.

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"Google has since announced its algorithm now allows it to crawl Disqus comments"

It is easy to verify! This is not the case actually.

  • 1
    Duplicate Answer. This was mentioned by Spirulina. – Simon Hayter Mar 19 '13 at 16:08
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If you're using WordPress, use Disqus. If not, just use your normal commenting system.

  • 1
    Please explain why. – Zistoloen Oct 23 '13 at 7:40

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