For a business that has a new website design that includes a blog, comments are always exciting—highly complimentary comments are even better. What you may not realize is that some of those comments may not be legitimate. Many of the comments that appear on blogs are spam. In this article we will talk a little bit about how spam comments can actually hurt your credibility and then give webmasters some pointers on determining which comments are legitimate and which ones are spam.
It is important to understand how to determine whether a message is a legitimate response from a reader, or simply a spam message. Spam comments can hurt the credibility of your blog. When a visitor reads your blog and sees only spam, it makes you look unprofessional. Although this may seem counterintuitive to some, it’s better to have no comments at all than to have only spam. That’s why business owners and blog curators should pay close attention to the comments that come in. Spam can often look like legitimate comments to the untrained eye.
If you determine that you want to allow comments on your blog, it is best to have it set to where you have to manually approve them, rather than have them post automatically. This will allow you to catch the spam messages before they ever reach your site.
Here are some pointers for identifying spam comments:
- There’s a URL in the name of the commenter. The goal of a spammer is to get as many links to his or her website as possible, in the hopes of improving the website’s search engine ranking. A spam comment will almost always have a link, either in the URL field of the comment form or in the body of the comment.
- The commenter is from a far-away country. Some blogs request that the commenter state what country he or she is from. If it’s a spam comment, chances are it won’t be the country the blogger lives in.
- The commenter has an odd name. While this is becoming less common as spammers become more sophisticated, a name that’s made up of a jumble of letters is a dead giveaway that it is spam.
- The email address doesn’t make sense. Some people do have odd emails, but spammers’ email addresses are sometimes no better than gibberish. An email address like “firstname.lastname@example.org” is a red flag—especially if the commenter’s name is Bob.
- The comment is vague. This is the real test. Is the comment very positive, but also very unspecific? Comments like, “I’ve read hundreds of blogs but yours is the best!” or “I’m a huge fan of your content,” are often spam. A legitimate commenter will usually make some reference to the content of the blog post.
It’s important to keep in mind that just because a comment has one of the above attributes doesn’t guarantee that it’s spam. You have to look at every aspect of the comment in order to determine that. When you’re reviewing your comments for approval, keep these tips in mind. If two or three red flags come up, it’s probably spam and should be dealt with accordingly.
Allowing comments on a blog post is a great way to interact with your visitors. Comments on a blog post provide a great medium for website visitors to discuss issues or offer advice and feedback on your product, service or idea. It can also give you more information about what your readers like and don’t like and help you determine topics for future blog posts. If you don’t have time to manager comments, you may be better off to disable this feature all together. If you are going to allow comments, be should to check them often and reply to questions and comments but delete the spam comments without ever showing them on your site.