Leaving Comment Spam Can Hurt Your Site

Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos via Flickr

Head in Hands by Alex E. Proimos via Flickr

You’ve heard that letting your site’s comments fill up with spam is a bad thing right? Google advises against that and comes right out and says it can impact your site’s trustability.

But what about when you leave comment spam?

I can’t speak for all of the search engines, but I can say with a very high degree of certainty that Google looks at spam filtering feeds like Akismet or LinkSleeve to see who is acting in spammy ways.

Think of it this way:

  1. A nefarious comment spammer drops by your site and leaves an awesome comment like, “It’s really a great and useful piece of info. I am satisfied that you just shared this useful information with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.”
  2. Your anti-spam plug-in catches it and drops it into your spam folder – or you catch it manually and mark it as spam.
  3. The comment, the author’s email address and the website that the link was pointing back to are all now put into a database that holds spam.
  4. The best anti-spam tools regularly share that data with Google (and possibly other search engines) to help them keep track of spam on the web.
  5. Google sees a stream of your comments that are pointing back to your site being marked as spam.
  6. Google starts to devalue your site.

So many things have changed in SEO this year, but I believe this one has been around for a while. Google and the others are looking for as many signals as possible to rank sites that are trustworthy and authoritative, leaving spammy comments is not only NOT HELPING, it’s now hurting your site.

SO if you’re going to leave a comment that links back to your site, leave something that won’t get marked as spam. That means you should use your real name, not “cool kitchen gadgets”.

If you have a Google+ page, and you have a verified site that you are an author for listed along with your primary email address you can actually ADD VALUE by leaving comments that spur engagement.

There’s a lot of things that get called “spam” on the web, but comment spam is true spam. So stop it. It stopped working a long time ago.

Comments

  1. UR SO RIGHT! Gawd those people are ANNNNNNOYING. Zing!

  2. Even if the post is not put into the spam folder it *can* hurt the linked site.

    Penguin’s objective is to change the rules regarding link spam by defining what is acceptable in a link by focusing on relevance.
    If a link is not relevant then it *may* count against you.

    Links MUST be relevant now.

  3. Great post (BTW – I arrived via your comment at http://techtage.com/2013/07/how-wordpress-commenting-platform-screws-up-seo/ where you had a great comment.

    Both your points fall under “if you wouldn’t do it offline, then don’t do it online.” Sculpting comments by hurting user experience and doing comment spam will all come back to bite.

    I see comment spammers as people who walk into a business or event and just screaming jibberish and walk out – or people who throw flyers out the window onto the street. That doesn’t happen offline – and shouldn’t be done online.

    Love the posts!

  4. Comment spammers are definitely a problem, but sometimes other commenters mark a comment as spam out of malice. They may just not like the drift of the commenter’s opinion, even if the comment is original and doesn’t use inflammatory words. I suspect this happens a lot on news and political sites. Spam filters should get more intelligent about sorting natural language.

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  1. [...] Leaving Comment Spam Can Hurt Your Site – I can’t speak for all of the search engines, but I can say with a very high degree of certainty that Google looks at spam filtering feeds like Akismet or LinkSleeve to see who is acting in spammy ways. [...]

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