What Is Comment Spam?

Adam Steele
Sep 30, 2021

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If you’ve ever received a comment that appeared to be an advertisement or a random link to an unrelated website, you’ve dealt with comment spam.

Allowing comments on blog posts encourages readers to share their thoughts. It also gives you the chance to build your authority by conversing with curious minds and grateful fans in your blogging network. Sharing articles on social media is simple, but nothing beats building a community on your own website or personal blog.

With a growing audience, however, comes comment spam. These aren’t words of encouragement from devoted fans or legitimate inquiries from curious readers. These are commenters that are a little too formal, don’t make sense, or promote payday loans and low-cost prescriptions on your post about baking bread.

These comments not only disrupt the conversation, but they may also harm your traffic. This article will explain what comment spam is, why it is bad, how to identify comment spam and how comment spam affects SEO.

Let’s dive in.

What Is Comment Spam?

Comment spam is when a spam bot or person leaves an irrelevant comment, sometimes also with a link to a spammy website. It has a detrimental influence on both the user experience and your search engine rankings.

Search engines punish sites with a high volume of comment spam because unwary users may click links that lead to unsafe sites, exposing them to viruses, malware, or phishing methods. Spam comments also give the impression that you don’t take the effort to maintain and monitor your website, which is bad for your brand and reputation.

Spammers may publish millions of comments for less than $50 using the appropriate tools. Tricking just a few unsuspecting victims into handing over credit card information or buying illegitimate products for profit.

Comment spammers have also gotten better at making comments look real in order to trick website admins into thinking they aren’t spamming. They make inquiries, ask for help, or discuss anything they’re having problems with in order to appear to be a genuine commenter looking for solutions, but they’re actually a spammer looking for a backlink.

People who comment for the purpose of building links (also known as SEO spammers) typically look for blog posts with a high PageRank – Google’s 1 – 10 ranking of authority.

These remarks are easily identified by their bad language, lack of actual meaning, or excessively formal tone.

Here’s a typical example of a spam comment:

The following few terms will be seen in the Comments section of your WordPress blog.

Comments – When someone engages with your content by using the comment form on your blog post, a comment is created.

Pingbacks – Pingbacks have generated automatically when someone links to your blog post from one of their own.

Trackbacks – Trackbacks are manual notifications sent by one blogger to another that they have linked to your blog post within their own. Pingbacks were invented to help with this process.

You can easily tell the difference between a comment and a pingback. Pings (both trackbacks and pingbacks) will include the title of the linked-to post, a link to that post, and an excerpt from the external blog post from which the ping is coming.

A legitimate comment will include the comment author’s name, email address, website URL (if supplied), IP address, and comment.

Why Are Spam Comments Bad for SEO?

Comment spam is a “Black Hat” SEO technique that is used to try to improve a site’s link popularity, functionality, and anchor text. While spam comments are inconvenient, it is necessary to spend some time monitoring them. Some bloggers will approve all comments regardless of whether they are spam or not in order to increase the number of comments on their posts. This is a terrible idea. Why?

A lack of moderation shows apathy and indifference.
As previously stated, the safety and security of your visitors are critical considerations. If your blog is littered with spam comments, it demonstrates a lack of upkeep and care. Would you want to live in a neighborhood where no one takes care of their lawns and where the streets are littered with trash? This is the same impression Google and your readers get when they see spam comments. Use Comment Blacklist, for example, to clean your moderation queue by creating a blacklist of spammy words, websites, and IP addresses.

Google is aware of bad links.
The user’s safety and security are high on Google’s priority list. Allowing bad links on your site tells Google and your readers that you don’t care about the quality of content on your site, even if it’s just blog comments. As a result, if your regular readers notice a lot of spam comments on your posts, it may discourage them from commenting and providing valuable feedback.

Spam comments undermine your authority and trust.
Trust and authority, in addition to security and safety, are important factors in maintaining high Google rankings. Taking the time to moderate your blog comments and ensure your content is safe for visitors shows that you care, which instills trust, which helps you establish yourself as an authority on the topic you’re writing about. This may necessitate more time spent monitoring your comments for moderation, but it will vastly enhance the user experience for your visitors.

For example, if you run an e-commerce store, comments on your website will be extremely important because 80-90 % of consumers read online reviews before purchasing a product.

Comment Spam FAQ

How can you identify comment spam?

How can you tell whether a remark on your blog is spam or not? This is a difficult decision, and it is entirely up to the blog owner. Some site owners will read every comment and deem it legitimate if it demonstrates that the reader read the content. Other blog owners will consider a remark to be spam if the link does not belong to the same industry as their blog.

Here are some questions you may ask yourself while reviewing a remark to assist you decide whether or not to accept it for publication on your site.

  • Is the author of the comment using his or her actual name or keywords? The inclusion of keywords in a comment’s name box without a true first and/or last name is nearly usually indicative of an SEO spammer.
  • Is the same comment author utilizing several email addresses or website addresses? If “Jane Smith” comments on a fishing site one day, a clothes business the next, and a pet supply company the next, they might be an SEO spammer.
  • Would I want my blog visitors to click on the link provided by the comment author? Don’t approve the remark if the response is no. Or remove the link, however you may receive a negative response from the comment author if they see you accepted their comment but removed their link.
  • Is the comment particular to this post or might it apply to any post?
  • Is the author of the remark using a legitimate email address? You probably don’t have time to email everyone of your comment authors. However, if you see someone commenting with the email address email@email.com, it’s likely that it’s not a legitimate email address.

When it comes to trackback spam, sometimes all you have to do is look at the URL from which the trackback originated. Some websites will include multiple links to blog entries at the conclusion of theirs in order to get trackbacks from those blogs. If you don’t believe the genuine blog author linked to your blog post for a legitimate cause (for example, they enjoyed your piece), don’t approve it.

Do comments affect SEO?

Yes, comments may have an impact on your SEO, both positively and negatively.

Comments are like a double-edged sword. They are an excellent engagement signal, which is beneficial to SEO but may also be detrimental in some circumstances. This is why some publishers have chosen to disable comments on their sites, while others heavily moderate them.

The SEO community is unanimous in its belief that comments may have an influence on SEO, both favorably and adversely. The latter stems from spam, which is undoubtedly a problem that will not go away anytime soon. The former is strongly connected to keyword density and engagement, both of which contribute to your total PQ (Page Quality).

Low-quality comments can tank a web page and they usually come from automated spammers. In general, any user-generated content that doesn’t add value to the article or page should be disregarded as spam as well. Comments that are extremely short, contain irrelevant external links, and are not related to the content of your page will harm SEO.

You can set appropriate measures for fighting spammers by getting a spam filter like the Akismet anti-spam WordPress plugin. In addition, there are numerous ways for webmasters to combat blog spam, by using other anti-spam plugins for blogs with registered trademarks (e.g., Challenge, Referrer Bouncer) that block the majority of spam comments.

You can also require some or all commenters to pass a CAPTCHA test to prove they are not spambots. These tools can provide a powerful way to stop comment spam and sort out the good from the bad comments for you.

Spammers are more cunning than ever before, and they may masquerade spam as real comments. However, if you ‘nofollow’ comment links, this isn’t a big deal. The nofollow Meta property (or rel nofollow tag) instructs search engine algorithms not to transfer any “link equity” to certain links. WordPress site does this automatically.

Don’t forget: check out the other definitions (over 200) in our growing SEO glossary.

Let Us Help You Create Content Worth Ranking

Hopefully, this article has given you a better understanding of comment spam.

If you haven’t already enabled comments on your blog, now is the time! Fortunately, you have a variety of options for getting SEO-friendly comments on your blog posts.

The first method is to allow comments using your blog’s native content management system (CMS). WordPress, Wix, and the majority of other blog providers all have built-in comment systems that allow your readers to discuss your blog posts.

You can also use other comment clients on your blog if you’re in a pinch. Disqus and other commenting systems are widely used, even on do-it-yourself blogs.

We have a great team of content marketers at Loganix who understand how to use blogs (and blog comments) to your site’s advantage. Our experts have spent time writing and editing blogs in order to provide exceptional results for our clients.

We’ll now do the same for you!

Hand off the toughest tasks in SEO, PPC, and content without compromising quality

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Written by Adam Steele on September 30, 2021

COO and Product Director at Loganix. Recovering SEO, now focused on the understanding how Loganix can make the work-lives of SEO and agency folks more enjoyable, and profitable. Writing from beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia.