It goes without saying – we’ve all experienced spam in one way or another. Whether it’s the mailbox packed with credit card offers, telemarketers interrupting the workday, or useless email sales pitches, spam shows up everywhere – and now spam is showing up in the comments on your blog.
While there are plenty of ways to minimize blog comment spam, many of the clients we work with don’t understand how or why blog spam happens in the first place. So let’s take a closer look at spam comments, how they hurt your website, and how to prevent spam from making it onto your blog.
For the Love of BackLinks
These poorly written and often nonsensical comments have no other purpose than to generate backlinks to another site. You see, Google assigns more authority and better search results to websites that have a large number of inbound links … also known as backlinks (links from one website – like your blog – pointing to another website – owned by the spammy commenter).
This led to the “selling” of backlinks by so-called SEO companies (“get cheap links” … sound familiar?) who spam blogs to generate a large quantity of links for their customers. Then they say “Hey client, look at all the links we generated to your site.”
Here’s how it works … when someone leaves a comment on your blog, there’s a clickable link that leads back to their website. That link often underlies the “Author” name and, in some cases, shows up in the body of comment itself.
Bottom line: Blog spammers are trying to “game” search engine results by leaving links on every blog they find on the internet. Don’t let your blog be the next victim.
Spam Comments are the Sincerest Form of Flattery
It’s easy to be flattered by blog comment spam, especially if you’re new to blogging or haven’t seen any comment activity in a while. Spam comments use flattery, appeal to your good nature, and simply lie in order to convince you to give them the benefit of the doubt. Do any of these sound familiar?
“What a great post. I stumbled on your blog, have bookmarked your site, and will be coming back often.”
“You’ve offered fantastic insight on this subject. Probably the best on the internet.”
While these may sound legitimate and can easily have been submitted by someone who was being sincere, 99.9% of the time they are not. Here are a few tips to help you determine whether to hit “approve” or “delete”:
- The comment is vague and doesn’t reference anything specific to indicate they’ve even read the post (because they probably haven’t)
- The comment is complimentary to the point that it’s over the top
- This is the clincher … the person doesn’t leave his/her real name. Instead, the “Author” that’s listed is typically a keyword phrase like “SEO Services Toronto”, “Cloud Software”, or “Gucci Tote Bags”
But don’t be tempted! – Having spam in your blog’s comment field does more harm than good; these low-quality links on your blog lower the credibility and potentially decrease the value of YOUR website. Any suspicious, poorly written, or keyword-stuffed comments should be promptly marked as “spam” and deleted. Don’t let spammers take advantage of your blog and the content that you worked so hard to create.
Stop Spammers in their Tracks
If you’re using WordPress, there are some great tools available to quarantine and prevent spam comments from infecting your blog. To completely stop spam comments, you can turn off the comment field altogether. But this also prevents your legitimate readers from engaging with your content which is one of the most important elements of having a blog in the first place.
Alternatively, the best way to handle spam is to install a WordPress plugin such as Askimet. This free “spam killer” tool analyzes the content of each comment against a huge database of information to determine whether the comment is genuine or not. Based on our experience at Juice Marketing, the tool is very accurate. So when a collection of comments have been quarantined (by Akisment) in your Spam folder, it’s relatively safe to just hit delete without wasting time reading through and analyzing each and every comment.
Is blog comment spam a problem for you? Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what tools and techniques you use to combat blog spam?
By Mark Badran