If you spam, they will come for you. Image from GW.
This is a Guest Post by Space Wolves blog
This week my Space Wolves blog has been bombarded with spam in the form of comments intended for link building to dubious online retailers and referral sites.
Worse still, many of these spammers are succeeding in their nefarious activity.
So, I'm going to explain what a negative impact spam can have on your blog and the blogosphere as a whole, as well as show you how to protect your blog from comment link spam.
What is Comment Link Spam?
Comment spam is when someone leaves a comment on one of your blog posts with the intention to link to their website, either by including an html link in the body of their content or in the name of their profile.
How Does Comment Link Spam Work?
The aim of spammers is to get links to their websites from trusted sources. In this case your blog.
Sometimes this is for a basic link to strengthen their website. More often it's for a keyphrase link which will help their website to rank higher in the Google search results for that given keyphrase.
So for example, a spammer trying to rank higher in the Google search rankings for the keyphrase "cheap warhammer" would call their profile name Cheap Warhammer with a link to their website on their profile name.
Or they can add some html code in their comment with their website address linked to from the phrase "cheap warhammer".
The Impact of Comment Spam on Your Blog
Association: Google automatically associates your blog with any websites you link to.
So if someone links to their 'buy cheap viagra' site from a comment on your blog, then you've just become associated with someone illegally selling prescription drugs.
Similarly, if a website gets penalised for spammy practices by Google (like massed comment link spam), any sites that link to them also get penalised as a result.
If your blog gets a fair amount of traffic from Google search results, I'll bet you're interested in protecting yourself from comment spam now!
How to Protect Your Blog from Comment Spam
First, you need to change your Comments Settings if you haven't already.
1) Who do you want to be able to comment?
I get a lot of anonymous people commenting on my blog, so I allow Anyone to comment. I don't want to kill the conversation and even selecting "Users with Google Accounts" doesn't seem to deter spammers.
2) Comment moderation
Do you want to manually approve all the comments on your blog? Or course you don't, it's really time consuming.
All comments on my blog posts are automatically posted within 1 day of that post going live. This allows real people to have a discussion while spammers tend to discover blog posts a day after they've been published. By then it's too late for them to spam my blog, because their comments will need to be manually approved. Although some do still get through.
3) Receiving comments via email
This is REALLY IMPORTANT. Everytime someone comments on my blog, I get an email to my hotmail account. This helps me to spot the comment spammers from the real folks.
4) Word verification
Finally, make sure you've enabled Word Verification to keep the spam bots out!
How Do I Tell Comment Spam from Real Comments?
Sometimes it's hard to tell who's a spammer and who isn't. Some people are just shamelessly promoting their Warhammer 40K blog as well!
So, to sort the good from the bad (and the fugly), I look through the comments that appear in my hotmail inbox.
Take a look at this screenshot of my inbox.
Dark Eldar is a comment spammer. The profile name "Dark Eldar" links to a dubious retail site that's trying to rank higher in the google search results for the search term "dark eldar".
Let's click on the message to get a closer look...
This is how it appears when I look at the comment in my Hotmail Inbox. Looks innocent enough right? Wrong! Once published, the name Dark Eldar appears with a link attached because they have used Open ID to leave their comment.
However, you can only see this if you look at the published comment at the bottom of your blog post.
Fortunately, if you have published some comment link spam, you can delete it afterwards by clicking on the dustbin icon next to the comment beneath your blog post.
Mark As Spam
Googles Blogspot has a new feature where you can mark a user's account as Spam. I was being spammed by Cheap Auto Parts who managed to get a comment on one of my blog posts. But when I went to look at it to delete it from the front of my blog post, I found that Google Blogspot had automatically removed it!
So if you want to help prevent Comment Link Spam, make sure you Mark any spammy users as Spam.
Sooner or later, spam floods every corner of the world wide web. We've had an explosion in the number of blogs in our niche throughout the year, so it's no surprise that the spammers have come for us as well.
So to protect yourself, your readers and your blog, keep an eye on your Comments.
God bless and Happy blogging!
- A big thanks to Space Wolves Blog for sharing this with the rest of us. It can be a full time job keeping up with comments to make sure they are all legitimate ones. I know I've got to go through this site almost everyday and remove spam.