Spammers have been around since the beginning of the internet. They infiltrate email, social media, and blog comments. While we won’t ever get rid of them completely, there are some important details you should know about how spam comments affect your blog and ways you can minimize them.
The main reason that spammers comment on blogs is that they are trying to get their site links added to websites (when you approve a comment on your blog, it includes the user’s name and website link). Many of these comments are generated by unethical SEO firms here in the U.S. and in other countries. They want to increase the number of links pointing back to their websites because the search engines rank websites based on the number of incoming links a site has coming from other websites. The more links these spammers can get added to websites, the better their chances of achieving higher rankings with the search engines.
Unfortunately, these practices can be frustrating for blog owners, and you need to learn how to identify these bogus comments and eliminate them.
How to Identify Spam Comments
Spam comments are typically pretty general and won’t have much to do with your actual post. Compare that to a real reader who may point out something specific they liked in the post or as a legitimate question.
Here are some examples of spam comments:
Nice post. Really useful information. Keep it up.
I appreciate learning about <title of blog post inserted here>. I’ll be back for more!
My brother/uncle/father told me about this blog and I’m glad he did. I am bookmarking this site.
I had problems signing up for your blog’s feed. Can you tell me how to do that?
Unquestionably believe that which you said. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the whole thing without having side effect, people could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thanks (This is an actual spam comment from my blog, and is a reminder that comments that make no sense or are grammatically confusing are probably spam.)
Hi my friend! I want to say that this article is awesome, great written and include approximately all important infos. I would like to see extra posts like this.
Wow, awesome blog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall glance of your website is fantastic, as smartly as the content!
Other Indicators a Comment Might Be Spam:
- Poor use of grammar and punctuation.
- Posts that make no sense or are confusing.
- No profile photo, though legitimate commenters may not have a photo either so lack of photo alone is not enough evidence. And some spammers use photos of pretty girls so beware of those too!
- Email address is from a strange domain, like widgets-r-us. If the domain looks suspicious, it probably isn’t a legitimate reader.
- Anything written in another language.
- Anything that has nothing to do with the topic of your post, such as details about lawyers, plumbers, medication, moving companies, etc.
Aside from looking at the comments, it’s important that you also look at the user name and website link submitted with the comment. Often this information alone makes it easy to identify spammers, because the user name or link indicates diet aids, gambling sites, limousine companies, vitamins, name brand clothing (illegal knock offs!), penny stocks, and other suspect companies that wouldn’t likely be reading your blog in the first place.
How to Manage and Minimize Spam Comments on Your Blog
- Always mark a comment as spam instead of just deleting it. Marking it as spam helps prevent future comments from that user getting through to you and to others since your website host keeps track of those actions.
- When in doubt, assume it is spam.
- Activate spam filtering. Depending on the platform for your blog, there may be options to assist in filtering spam. WordPress users can install Akismet, a robust plug-in that helps to filter out the bulk of the spam comments you receive.
- As your website traffic increases, inevitably so will spam comments. If it ever gets to the point where it’s overwhelming and you have to manage dozens of comments per day, hire a technical web master who can put some additional filtering in place to minimize the problem.
- Try to avoid turning off comments altogether. One of the benefits of a blog is that you can engage with your audience. By turning off all comments, you close the door on your potential customers. True reader comments can be a great addition to your blog so find a tech-savvy web person to help make the process more manageable.
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I shared this article via a linking post to my blog, where one of my followers, a blind poet, who uses JAWS software to ‘read’ posts, left the following comment, which I wanted to let you know about:
Thanks for sharing this interesting post, Chris. I tried commenting on the original, however the comment box is not labelled so as to be readable fully by my screen reading software, consequently I am commenting here. I agree with all the points mady by the blogger. I would add a couple of extra points though. For anyone who is frustrated with spam and installs a CAPTCHA to stop it, please do ensure that your CAPTCHA is accessible to screen reader/access software users. Purely visual CAPTCHAS can not be read by software such as JAWS, so adding a clear audio alternative, or a word puzzle (which can be read, for example “what is 2 plus 3), is the best solution. Also, under The Equalities Act (in the UK) and similar legislation in the States) websites need to be accessible to people who are disabled. Finally, one may get a seemingly genuine comment (well written) which is, in fact spam. I recently had one on piracy, in response to a post I had written on that subject. The comment was well constructed, however my gut feeling was that the person submitting it was attempting to sell their anti-piracy solution, consequently I did not approve it. A few days later I received another comment (seemingly from a different person) informing me how (the same anti-piracy outfit) had helped them. This confirmed my suspicion that I had been right not to approve the original comment. Consequently the latter comment was also spammed by me! Kevin