Recently, many businesses have been reporting increases of spam comments infiltrating the blog pages of their websites.
While genuine comments help build a community on your website and improving your performance in search rankings, unfortunately, spam comments have the opposite effect. Left untouched, they can damage your site’s credibility, rankability, and overall user experience.
So let’s take a look at why they are bad for your website, how to spot them, and crucially, how to protect your website from spam comments in the first place.
What Are Spam Comments? How Can You Spot Them?
Have you ever received a comment and wondered what relevance it had to your post? Or noticed that the comment author name is actually the name of a company? These are just a few examples of spam comments. If you are unsure as to what counts as a spam comment and what doesn’t, here are a few tips for deciphering the genuine from the fake.
Would you want your readers to click on the comment author’s link? If the answer is no, then it’s likely a spam comment.
Is the comment author using a real name or keywords/company names? The use of keywords or a company name in the “name” field of a comment is almost always an indicator of an SEO spammer.
Is the comment specific, or could it apply to any post? If a comment looks incredibly generic, it’s likely spam. You’d be surprised how many comments you can copy/paste into Google and see them appear on hundreds of other sites.
Does the comment author use a legitimate email address? If you see someone commenting with the email address of [email protected], then chances are, it’s not a legit email address, and they are spamming your comment section.
Why Are Spam Comments Posted on Websites?
If you’re wondering what purpose spam comments serve, it’s usually to secure a link back to a website from yours. That’s why, the more popular a website is, the worse the spam commenting problem is likely to be. They want to pass the positive ranking factors of your website back to theirs in an effort to improve their own search results.
In a much smaller number of cases, spam comments have malicious intentions and provide a backdoor entry for malware attacks and hacking attempts.
How are Spam Comments Posted?
If you are wondering if someone is spending their days going from website to website placing spam comments, then it’s important to understand that there isn’t. These spam comment attempts are almost exclusively carried out by automated scraping software using postscripts.
These are usually the work of so-called “black hat” SEO spammers, or the case of more malicious attacks, cybercriminals. Either way, you don’t want to let spam comments to infiltrate your site.
Why Spam Comments Are Bad for Your Website
Often website owners get tricked into approving spam comments as exercises of vanity as much as anything else. But spam comments are not good news for your website.
For a long time now, Google and other search engines have been cracking down on poor-quality links. Those efforts are not limited to those placing those links; they are focused on the websites that allow them too. In other words, you could find your website penalised for enabling dozens of links to poor-quality websites.
Links from spam comments also confuse search engines. External links are critical for search engines in terms of understanding relevance. If you’re a construction contractor with dozens of comment links heading out to used car dealerships, Google and other search engines are going to struggle to understand what your website is about and how to rank it.
But the adverse effects aren’t merely limited to ruining your business’s online visibility. Spam comments are like online graffiti. A company blog page littered with spam blog comments is not a good look. It looks like you don’t care about moderating your comments, like a homeowner that has let their weeds grow everywhere. Worse, if a link within the comments takes a user somewhere dangerous, they’ll be sure to tell others about their experience with your business.
Thankfully there are plenty of ways to protect your website from spam comments.
How to Protect Your Website from Spam Comments?
Here at McGinn and Dolphin, we are pretty experienced in dealing with the threats posed to business websites. Just last month, we dealt with a malware attack on a website which was as a result of an unsupported plugin used on over 700,000 WordPress websites worldwide.
Concerning spam comments, we’ve found that one of the best defences is Google reCAPTCHA. You’ve likely already encountered several of these yourself during your day-to-day online browsing. These are those buttons that say “confirm you’re not a robot” before proceeding to pick out the pictures with a bicycle, car, or truck in them.
What may seem like such a simple task is something that is beyond the capabilities of the cheap software programs behind spam commenting. Thus by adding a Google reCAPTCHA form to your comment sections, you can prevent them from infesting your site.
If adding this extra layer of protection to your website seems a little beyond your web developing capabilities, fear not. Here at McGinn and Dolphin, we can install this protection on your website for you.