What to Know About Your Blog’s Spam Comments & How to Handle Them
TechCrunch (a technology and startup news website hosted on WordPress) once announced that it received, on average, 15,000 spam comments every single day. Because spam is so commonplace, you’ve likely already encountered some spam on your website—especially if you’ve amassed a readership. Now that your blog is growing, it’s time to start thinking about the cause of spam and how you can address it.
There are several ways you can eliminate spam: plugins, third-party agencies, and filters are among the most common methods. You may be spearheading your anti-spam efforts as you simultaneously work on other areas of your website, such as design. It’s important to understand that whenever you begin adding and testing new plugins, altering your theme, or removing existing features and elements, you should install a WordPress child theme. Child themes allow you to make changes without compromising the core parent theme and potentially losing hours of hard work and data.
How you handle your spam comments and other on-site spam makes the difference between an effective solution and an ineffective one. And before you make any decisions, it’s also important that you understand how spamming works. Here’s everything you need to know about spam comments and how to handle them:
Why Do People Spam?
One of the first things you’ll need to understand is why people spam. The biggest reasons you see spam comments on your website—and many others you visit—is because commenters want a link back to their website. Why is this so important? It’s important because Google considers inbound links when weighing search engine rankings. The more websites linking to your website, the more likely it is to be placed at the top of search engine results pages—seemingly.
Using the comment box, shady marketers take advantage of the link building techniques that it affords. Often, these are affiliate marketers who can get a commission from products purchased. However, many times they are simply legitimate businesses that want to rank higher using illegitimate tactics. These spammers use services like Gscraper to purchases thousands, or even millions of spam comments.
Use a Filtering Program
There are many filtering programs you can use to automate the deletion of your spam comments. One of the most popular options is Askimet, which states that it can effectively eliminate 99.8% of all spam. This simple WordPress plugin handles all the difficult aspects of comment monitoring. The plugin also has an element of machine learning that allows it to learn more about spam comments the more you use it. For example, if a spam comment slips in through the cracks, you can mark it as spam and the technology will learn more about what types of comments you consider spam.
In addition to using plugins like Akismet and other spam blocking tools, you can also monitor your site comments yourself. When you turn on comment monitoring, you’ll receive an email each time a comment is made. After you review the comment, you can decide whether to approve it. This high-level overview will also give you detailed insight into the audience you’re attracting, and the topics that are generating the most discussion.
Turn Off Your Comments
Alternatively, if you want to avoid potential issues altogether, you can turn off commenting abilities entirely. Of course, deciding whether to turn off comments is a major decision, and you should weigh the pros and cons carefully. On the one hand, comments can help you connect with your audience and even enhance your credibility. Comments are a form of social proof, and allows you to cultivate a community on your site.
But on the other hand, managing comments can be a tiresome, and grueling process. There are many major businesses, bloggers, and marketers that don’t allow comments on their blog. For instance, marketing blogger Seth Godin doesn’t accept comments on his blog, and wrote a blog post explaining why, stating:
“I think comments are terrific, and they are the key attraction for some blogs and some bloggers. Not for me, though. First, I feel compelled to clarify or to answer every objection or to point out every flaw in reasoning. Second, it takes way too much of my time to even think about them, never mind curate them. And finally, and most important for you, it permanently changes the way I write. Instead of writing for everyone, I find myself writing in anticipation of the commenters.”
Deciding whether to turn your comments on or off is a part of the decision making process, and one you should think about carefully, mapping out your evaluations carefully.
Spam Can Hurt Your SEO
Believe it or not, spam can actually have a negative impact on your SEO. First and foremost, no one likes spam, and it can create a negative user experience. As you know, Google takes the user experience very seriously, and considers this in their rankings.
According to Google, any content that’s on your website is your sole responsibility, and you are held accountable for what’s posted—even if you aren’t necessarily the poster. It’s your job to ensure quality control on your site, and any negligence on your behalf could hurt your rankings. Spam comments also detract from the keywords that you’re trying to pinpoint, and give Google crawlers a false representation of what your page is about.