Lesson on comment spam: if you don’t monitor it, they’ll also spam a ton of links to the page they got the link on. Happened to my blog.
— Jon Cooper (@PointBlankSEO) July 20, 2013
If you are using WordPress or any of the other big blogging platforms out there, you usually don’t have to worry a whole ton about SEO. These CMS are fairly SEO friendly out of the box and it’s easy to add a plugin or read one of the thousands of SEO guides online for them if you want to get a little bit more advanced.
One area that can really destroy your SEO — and one that most people don’t think of — is your comments section. Comments sections that go unmoderated can become attractive to spammers, making your site a target.
A new tactic that I’ve seen link spammers doing the past year is submitting a few blog comments to a site and then blasting the site with crappy, anchor text heavy links to drive up the value of the comment link on your site. Jon Cooper mentioned this had happened to his blog. I”ve seen it happen to a handful of sites as well.
I’ve even seen this happen a few times on sites that weren’t publishing the comments…just letting them hang around unmoderated. Moderating comments can be a big pain for businesses, especially ones that like to publish posts to their blog periodically and forget about it otherwise. From what I’ve seen, it’s not uncommon to see corporate blogs with 1000s of comments awaiting moderation.
In a few cases, I’ve seen the dreaded “unnatural links warning” pop up in Google Webmaster Tools because of spammers blasting blog posts with forum posts and other comments. Those links are next to impossible to remoave and it’s going to be a tough penalty to get lifted. Google doesn’t do a very good job yet at deciphering the intent behind links built to a website. Hopefully in the future they’ll see that no website owner in their right mind would build 1,500 links with anchor text “dental implants” to their used car dealership site.
Bulletproofing your site
There are a few ways to cut this problem off at the knees. WordPress doesn’t come with Askimet installed anymore and far too many people forget to add this into the site (The activation process does suck though). Akismet isn’t perfect but does a pretty remarkable job of filtering through pending comments for spam. It’ll save you a lot of time.
Another preventive measure to take is adding some hidden fields or enhanced anti-spam measures to the comments section itself. If nobody ever comments on your blog, you could just get rid of the comments section too. That’s an option that most businesses never think about, but a viable one.