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I have an app which consists of partially user generated content (UGC).

This content is mostly a wall of text with some random headers, exteral links, images, etc - could be pretty much anti seo if the publisher wants to.

Is there a way to tell search engines that a specific block is UGC?

  • No. But what difference would that make anyway?? – closetnoc Dec 11 '15 at 13:20
  • @closetnoc I'm afraid that UGC will harm my ranking – Brettetete Dec 11 '15 at 13:42
  • Then don't do it. UGC only/dependant sites are somewhat failing these days due to Google's quality algo. It is a shame since it is perfectly valid content good or bad. For example, forums are either useless or extraordinary, however, it seems that they are treated much the same these days. Keep in mind that Google has been picking winners and losers in the past few years and is heavily skewed toward e-commerce and more narrow popular searches/sites. Google rewards sites with UGC and original developed content such as some of the popular SEO sites. This combo still works. – closetnoc Dec 11 '15 at 13:55
  • @closetnoc Well I think I have a healthy mix of original and UG content. Anyway, when the project grows as I hope/expect the UGC will be much more than original content in some time. Should I Disallow the UGC path in robots.txt better? – Brettetete Dec 11 '15 at 14:12
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    You will find that many sites are more heavily moderating UGC. Forums are tough to do, however, you will find comment sections on some sites are moderated down to the most valuable and positive comments. It depends upon the nature of the UGC. If it is low value flame, me too, infighting, etc., then I would consider blocking. However, if the UGC is of higher value, then I would not block it. Again, balance it all out with high value developed content as much as you can. It really becomes a judgement call as the site settles into it's audience. – closetnoc Dec 11 '15 at 14:20
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If this wall of text has its own URL - how about noindex it?

Another way: trigger the showing of it with any user action, like click or scroll - Google doesn't do user actions, so it doesn't get this content.

Yet another way: load any not-existing image and trigger the showing of your ugc with onerror of this image's loading.

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    This sounds very hacky. My problem is: people can attach images and links. But I can't review every submission so they just can submit everything they want (sanitized markup only). So what if someone maybe post some pornography for example? That would be totally unrelated to my site. – Brettetete Dec 11 '15 at 17:13
  • user generated content is pretty seo unsafe. moderate it, or let users login firstly. if you don't moderate - forget about any seo. – Evgeniy Dec 11 '15 at 17:24
  • Well users have to login. But that's it. – Brettetete Dec 11 '15 at 17:28
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    You need to moderate posts. enable user moderation of posts with a flag system, hire a team to moderate posts, or a combination of those. – Memj Jan 10 '16 at 17:31
  • I second what Memj says, unmoderated content is an SEO disaster. Scraped content and spam will get posted. Such low quality content on your site available to search engines kills rankings. – Stephen Ostermiller Feb 10 '16 at 0:04

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