Facebook has recently developed a comments box that you can now use as a comment system on your website. It works the same exact way as regular commenting does, except users have to be logger into their Facebook account to use it. There are many pros to this new system; however there are a couple cons that are big enough issues to make you reconsider using the system, especially if your site is designed for Search Engine Optimization.
The pros of using this new Facebook commenting system are:
- It helps fight spam as the user will need a Facebook account to post a comment. Facebook is also against spam, so reporting spam may potentially cost the spammer their account.
- Comments posted show up on the user’s Facebook wall, which can generate more buzz and traffic from Facebook from friends of the user.
- The most valuable comments show at the top due to a ranking algorithm Facebook developed.
The cons of using this commenting system are:
- Users need a Facebook account and have to be logged into it to comment
- Posts aren’t crawlable because they load within an iFrame.
Personally, the second issue is the most critical issue. Comment sections on websites are great ways to get user generate content (UGC) and if a search engine cannot pick up those comments, then they are wasted.
After searching around, a fix for this problem has been developed thanks to an engineer on the Facebook Platform team. The developer said that you can export the comments for any page that uses this system using a simple script (that can be written in many languages). The script is very simple to use and set up, and you can style the comments anyway you please so they blend in with your sites layout. Also, this isn’t considered cloaking because it’s giving search engines the exact same content users see, except it’s not within an iFrame and thus can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
Note: sometimes when a page has many comments (in the hundreds to thousands) not all of the comments are exported. This is either a coding error or something within the design of the Facebook code itself.
The link for the script is http://www.rayhe.net/fb/comments.phps