If you’ve got a successful website for your business or organisation, chances are you are aware of the SEO benefits of maintaining a company blog, updated regularly. A relevant blog with excellent content can be a wonderful boon to your site’s SEO, both in terms of key words and through social shares and links.
As part of my job, I frequently find myself sifting through thousands of web pages on a weekly basis. Quite often I come across otherwise stellar blog posts that have been marred by spammy comments. Spammers trying to boost the rankings for their own websites will fill the comment section with repeated text (often gibberish) and links to external sites. One such example is this;
With some unpleasant spammy comments linking out. Not only are comments such as this possibly negatively affecting this business’ SEO, but they present a sloppy, unprofessional experience and impact the business image as well.
Options for Prevention
So how can you avoid the existence of these unwanted links? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent these comments from appearing on your blog page, and if they do appear, you can immediately stop them in their tracks. One important thing to do is to engage in frequent blog moderation. Having a moderator check your blog daily for such comments ensures that they can be immediately deleted, retaining the clean, professional image of your blog.
Alternatively, you can disallow comments for your blog, but this has its disadvantages. Many readers enjoy and prefer blogs on which they can comment and to which they can contribute ideas. Particularly if your blog topics are engaging and provocative, site visitors will be anxious to share their thoughts. If your business responds frequently to comments, this can also help build your company image and highlight you as a social, service-oriented company. Disallowing comments, while it will prevent spam, removes this unique business advantage.
If you choose to allow comments on your blog, you can incorporate a few methods to filter comments. Requiring a Captcha in order for readers to post comments is one way to ensure that spambots are unable to comment. This is effective for automated spam systems but does not account for real individuals who may add a spammy link or comment. So this element only covers half your bases.
For many blogs, you can set your blog to allow no anonymous commenting. This means that each commenter will be required to include an email address and/or name in order to post their comment. This may discourage spammers from commenting, or assist you in locating users in order to block them.
Similarly, you can prevent commenters from adding links within their comments. This is a good method for protecting your SEO from external spam links, but does not keep commenters away–which, as mentioned earlier, poorly affects your image.
Don’t Hurt Your SEO
When your site’s blog comments get filled up with spam and spam links, this can begin to hurt your SEO rankings. In terms of keywords, these verbose comments end up stuffing your page with keywords that do not relate to your site’s topic at all. This will greatly skew rankings. When a great deal of spam goes unnoticed and unfiltered, your website can also eventually be reported for spam. If you don’t keep track, thousands of comments can end up clogging your page.
To protect your SEO, applying the nofollow attribute is crucial. Most blogging plugins do this automatically, keeping any spam links from being tracked by search engines. This helps keep your website’s own rankings in tack. You can apply this attribute to any links that appear on your page that you do not vouch for, whether in comments, forms, or any other user-created content. This recommended step will help you tremendously.
In addition to the useful methods outlines above, you can also look into antispam plugins, which have grown in popularity in recent years. Plugins such as Akismet for WordPress, will scan your page constantly for spam comments, deleting them on the spot and reducing any potential damage.
No matter how you choose to protect your page, make sure you don’t skip the crucial step of keeping spam at bay. Don’t let your SEO suffer from the unwanted comments of spammers!