A PROLIFERATION OF COMMENT SPAM!
While an old friend and I caught up yesterday, he mentioned an annoying form of comment spam he’s seeing more and more of. He described seemingly nice comments that appear to be generated by humans (because they make it through his Captcha defense to the moderation area of his site’s dashboard). While many of these comments have broken english, most also carry BAD or ‘irrelevant to the pages purpose’ links! And he’s likely no different than you and certainly not us here at Kinetic Knowledge! We’ve written about it before, but there’s no time like the present to sound the alarm. Especially because there is a proliferation of this activity!
WHY DOES IT HAPPEN?
As some may be aware, comments have become a common place for spammers (or bad SEO firms, take your pick) to target back links! They’re looking for links from your trusted website’s comment area to their site (or their client sites). What used to be a direct reference to porn or prescription drugs NOW typically appears friendly or even complimentary. Do these look familiar to you?
- “This is a topic that is near to my heart… Cheers!”
- “I just encountered your site and really loved it. I’m going to add a bookmark, keep up the good work!”
- “I really loved your blog, but noticed it doesn’t load quickly in my browser. I thought you might like to know.”
- “Very interesting post, thanks for the great read!”
Nice, complimentary … right? No! Likely they are all spam so BEWARE! This is potentially a problem and if you approve bad links you not only reward the spammer, but potentially hurt your search engine rank. Granted the engines have likely factored knowledge of the practice into how their algorithms review a site’s content, but no need to take any chances. Worse, it can hurt trust with visitors who don’t approve. Even if you “nofollow” comment links it only prevents the spammer from getting points with Google. The link will always have potential to send readers to unrelated or even spam- based websites.
VIDEO: MODERATING COMMENTS IN YOUR DASHBOARD
MOST LOCAL PROSPECTS DON’T COMMENT ANYWAY
Per CT Real Estate Broker Linda Davis “Buyers and sellers typically research and then they get in touch direct via phone or email. The fact is, most consumers don’t socially network. What’s more, they may not want to discuss business matters publicly.” A Nielsen study shows that 90% of ‘onliners’ read, but do not comment; 9% comment some and 1% are just active. So, to make the obvious parallel, most of your existing or prospective clients DO NOT add comments to your site.
YOUR OPTIONS WITH COMMENTS
- Take the leap of faith that some good will come from comments, albeit moderated, making a regular review worth the effort
- No follow the links in comments to protect against any damage with search rank and allow them to fly, but as discussed above – this still exposes visitors to bad links
- Turn off comments on posts older than a certain timeframe, like maybe 90 days
- Just turn off comments
Bottom line- you need to understand the positives and negatives of social comments on your site. If you choose to have them, one way or another, be sure to review the affiliated links whether the comment itself is friendly, helpful or seemingly harmless! LIKE IT OR NOT, it is highly likely spammers are attempting to catch you off guard!