How Spam Comments Can Hurt Your Blog’s Search Rankings


how spam comments can hurt your blog’s search rankings

Every blogger has to deal with comment spam. Most of this spam comes from robots, and you should not be surprised if you are getting hundreds or thousands of these. Fortunately, there are many plug-ins you can use to prevent spam robots from flooding your comment section.

Another option you have is to turn it off or set it in a way where you have to approve a comment before it gets published online.

But why do this? How do spam comments hurt your blog’s search rankings? Today, we will focus on the impact of spam comments. In the end, you should decide not whether you should take action or not, but how.

Spam Comments are Bad for SEO

If your content is spammy, Google does not like spam and will put your pages down the search engine results pages (SERPs). The sad thing is that Google does not care where the comments came from. 

Google only wants to recommend credible websites, those that provide the best experience. Google also does not like any activity that manipulates search rankings. 

So, how is comment spam hurting your website’s rankings? 

Most comment spams have links in them. A lot of these are from scammers who want traffic to their site. A blog page may be nothing more than a site where these scammers drive traffic to their scam sites. It is also likely that this blog is part of a PBN. 

No matter what it is, Google sees these blogs in a bad light. So, if your blog has spam comments with links in them, Google will think that you are part of a black hat SEO organization. 

Essentially, you are not adding value. Nobody likes spam, especially Google. 

The end result is simple: Google will identify your domain as spammy and rank you further in the SERPs. Worst, Google may not even index your website.

Why Do Comment Spams Exist?

The only reason is money. 

People have shady businesses, like pornographic sites. What they want is to get traffic. Instead of spending money to advertise on legit websites, they use robots to spam blog comment sections. These comments have a link to their porn business. 

The second thing is a scam. They would lure a person to their website, sign up, or some shady deal, only to steal their identities. Again, the end result is money. Spam comments exist because there are people who will use technology to advance evil agendas. 

Comment spamming is what manipulates search engines. It is a black hat SEO tactic. The right way to get a backlink is to have a blogger refer a reader to another blogger’s website. People do not want to do this. They will publish content on your comment section, with a link back to their site. 

It would seem to search engines that their website is getting good backlinks. But Google has taken action on this. If your blog has comment spam, Google will think that you are part of the problem. 

Knowing this, you should also avoid commenting on other people’s websites with their links. What you have to do is to make use of practical SEO strategies to improve your traffic.  

Ways to Prevent Comment Spam

There are many ways to reduce or prevent comment spam. It is up to you to choose which one works best for your situation. 

1. Do not allow comments 

The fastest and most effective way to prevent comment spam is to not turn on the comments. If you do this, readers will never have an area where they can type comments. 

The downside to this is nobody can give inputs. You will not be able to foster a community of people on your site. 

While that is a downside, it really does not matter anymore. There are many social media forums where you can route your users. You can have a Facebook page for your blog and use that page to communicate with your users. 

2. Block comments before getting published

This is an effective process but also tedious. If you block the publication of comments, people and robots can still write comments. However, these comments do not get published until you approve them. 

Look at this screenshot:

As you can see, there are selections where you can mark these comments as spam. If you think that comment is legit, such as comments about your blog post, you can approve them, and these comments will get published. You also have the option to put them in the trash and permanently delete them.  



Use an Anti-Spam Plug-In

If you do not like the idea of dealing with spam manually, some plug-ins can help you. These plug-ins use sophisticated AI to identify spam and dump them in the trash.

The beauty of these plug-ins is that they can identify good comments. If a comment looks legit, the plug-in will publish it. 

Anti-spam plug-ins use a database of domains. As such, the machines know whether the commenter is from a fake domain or spam domain. Once activated, you can visit the dashboard and check which comments were flagged as spam. If it is not spam, you can override it and publish the comment on your site.

Take Discussions Offline 

Earlier, we talked about Facebook. I want to piggyback on this idea. There are many platforms where you can talk about your niche with your followers. 

Here are some examples: 

  • Discord
  • Slack
  • Disqus

If you want, you can take advantage of these platforms and have your forums from there. There is no likelihood of getting spam comments from robots, as you will control the registration process. 

If at all, the downside here is that you will be a moderator. You need to set up rules. If anyone does not abide by that rule, you can kick them out.  

Use Captcha

The last method I recommend is to use a captcha. Robots cannot read, and they cannot identify images. As such, the comment will not go through if the commenter fails to pass this test. To install a captcha, you have to use plug-ins that are specifically for comments only. 

Some people do not like this, saying that it annoys readers. It is true, but take note that you only require a captcha for commenters. 

The downside here is you cannot prevent real people from spamming your blog. If the comment comes from a real person, he can override this captcha and publish comments on your site. Believe it or not, some people are paid to do this.

If this happens, the only way to combat it is to delete the comment from your admin. It is manual and tedious, but it is not like you will do this many times unless there are thousands of comments on your site from spammers.

Summary

Comments on blogs used to be a great way to start a relationship with your readers. Today, it is a bad idea. While blog comments can still make your pages look credible, the risk is not worth it. 

The best thing to do is either turn it off or approve comments first before publishing them. The second option is better, but it requires more work.



John Kilmerstone

I'm an Aussie living in Japan who enjoys traveling, photography, and blogging. Please visit this website and explore the wonderful world of blogging. Discover how to turn your passions and pastimes into an online business.

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