There are a lot of algo changes happening on the Google Search engine also commonly known as the Panda updates. To avoid a negative panda effect on your website make sure your content is original and you are not duplicating the matter on multiple pages.
Just like original content user’s comments are as important however it can also lead to duplicate content especially on WordPress. If you have enabled the break comments in discussion settings most probably the search engines will sense it as duplicate content because of the fact that it is originating from two different URL’s.
Your site may or may not be affected by Break Comments it all depends on how you have structured the permanent links. On my site (Using Thesis Theme) my URL ends with .html and with Break Comments enabled the comment section in the content is linking to .html/comment-page-1. so you see these are different URL’s pointing to the same content. The canonical tag will safeguard you from a duplicate penalty but if that was missing your site might have already ended up with a Google penalty.
Though Google bots do respect the canonical tags the other search engines like Yahoo and Bing, do not. But anyway a canonical tag is better to avoid unknown problems but it is always better to fix the issue rather depend too much on the canonical tag. If you check the source code of the /comment-page-1 you will find that the page is set to index and follow, which is not good.
Why should you disable Break Comments?
With break comments enabled the URL with /comment-page-1 is created and when number of comments increase the URL will increment to say /comment-page-2, /comment-page-3 and so on. As you can see that many number of pages with the same content (but with different comments) are created.
When you deactivate break comments all comments fall under the same URL without any URL modification. So the main URL will be as in my case ending with .html only. In case your site get a lot of comments it will make sense to switch off comments and use a third party commenting system like disqus.
How to disable Break Comments in WordPress?
- Login to your WordPress Admin section.
- In settings click Discussion.
- In other comment settings you will find the Break comments into pages, just uncheck that.
- That’s it.
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