How Blog Comment Spam can Hurt You
Spam comments make your blog look unprofessional and neglected as well as cause an influx of even more spam if your settings are not setup correctly. Just imagine if you were to read a great article only to see a list of spam comments at the bottom; you might lose respect for the author – or worse, click on a link that brought you to a site you did not want to visit. These comments call into question the overall quality of your website which you work hard to maintain.
Fortunately, spam comments no longer significantly negatively affect your Google PageRank because WordPress automatically adds the code rel=”nofollow” to any links in the comment area, meaning that Google essentially ignores the link on your page. So if you have let a few spam comments slip through, no need to panic.
How to Prevent Spam
- Update your settings in backend of your WordPress site by going to Settings > Discussion and check the following options:Comment author must fill out name and e-mail. This ensures that the commentator must at least take the time to fill out these two fields. As we saw above, sometimes the name itself can be an indicator of spam if it’s filled out as keywords instead of a real name.An administrator must always approve the comment. This will make absolutely certain that no spam will appear automatically on your site – it will only appear if the moderator allows it.
Automatically close comments on articles older than X days. Most blog activity happens within the first two weeks of a new post. In order to cut down on spam, you can close comments on older posts but that is IF you want to close comments over time.
Click the image below for an enlarged version of our recommended settings:
- Install an anti-spam plugin that will automatically identify and send most unwanted comments to the spam folder for you using a better filter system:• Akismet
• Growmap Anti-Spam Plugin
• AVH First Defense Against Spam – Read this article for more info on how to set this up (for advanced users only!)Be sure to only use one anti-spam plugin at a time unless you know what you’re in for. Some plugins can conflict and may end up blocking comments from your real readers.
- Be able to recognize spam comments and mark them as such. You might think this is easy but sometimes, it is not. Many spam comments today appear like legitimate comments without using the common spam keywords. Here are some ways to identify them:
Generic, flattering comments about your article that have no real value:
Spammy Name field: The name field should always contain a name, never a list of keywords or the name of a site like this:
Bad links/spammy domains. Click the actual links in the comments. If it takes you to a site you would not want to visit, such as an obvious sales pitch, broken link, or a page with link stuffing, you can mark it as spam:
When and How to Turn Off All Blog Comments
If you NEVER receive legitimate comments and are spending more time managing spam than you want, then we recommend you turn off comments altogether.
First, turn comments off by default with any new pages/posts created. Go to Settings > Discussion and at the top next to Default article settings, and uncheck the last checkbox:
Second, turn comments off on already published pages/posts. Check the option below and change the number of days to 0. Then it will no longer allow new comments but will still show any previous approved comments. IF THE CLIENT NO LONGER WANTS TO SHOW EVEN PREVIOUS COMMENTS, then you will have to go in and bulk edit all posts/pages to turn off comments.
So remember these words – MANAGE YOUR SPAM! If you need help implementing any of the methods outlined above, please contact us!