Google Probably Thinks Your Blog is About Disqus

Twenty days ago, I looked up my own blog in Google Webmaster Tools and got a surprise.

According to the “Content Keywords” section, “disqus” (the commenting plugin) was the top keyword on my site.

disqus as top ranked content keyword in Google Webmaster Tools

Google say that

The Content Keywords page lists the most significant keywords and their variants Google found when crawling your site.

That means that Google thinks that my blog is primarily a blog about the commenting plugin Disqus!? What the hell?

Figuring out why

Sure enough, when I clicked through to try and figure out why this was, Google reported finding 68 occurrences of the word.

GWT showing the number of occurrences of the word "disqus"

I viewed the source of one of the pages that Google reported as mentioning “disqus”.

Sure enough, when I checked the snippet that Disqus had provided to load the plugin on the page, there was two links to Disqus’ homepage included in it. Both have the word “Disqus” in their anchor text.


<div id="disqus_thread"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
  // JavaScript stuff...
</script>

<noscript>Please enable JavaScript to view the <a href="http://disqus.com/?ref_noscript">comments powered by Disqus.</a></noscript>

<a href="http://disqus.com" class="dsq-brlink">comments powered by <span class="logo-disqus">Disqus</span></a>

How can I hope to provide Google with a fair representation of the types of articles I write when every post automatically includes two links to Disqus?

Solution

Luckily, the Disqus Terms of Service don’t require that you leave these links in place.

Any application displaying a Disqus comment or user profile must display the Disqus social icon linking to http://disqus.com/, the comment timestamp linking to the comment permalink, and the Disqus username linking to the disqus.com user profile URL if the username is available.

If you look at the bottom of this post, you’ll still see a prominent Disqus logo which links to their homepage. You’ll see that each comment has a permalink and a username.

That means that we can remove the last two lines from the Disqus installation code on your website and we won’t violate the Disqus T&C. When you do so, the code will look like this:


<div id="disqus_thread"></div>
<script type="text/javascript">
  // JavaScript stuff...
</script>

Results

20 days ago, I removed both links from the code of this website.

The “disqus” keyword has dropped to 56th place in the keyword rankings.

disqus keyword in 56th place

These days, Google only finds 17 occurrences of “disqus”. This number continues to drop as Google slowly reindexes old content.

only 17 occurrences of "disqus"

More representative keywords now occupy the top of the Content Keywords list.