Posted on January 5, 2021

How Spam Comments Can Hurt Your Blog’s Search Rankings

Is your blog being overrun with spam comments? According to Make a Website Hub, for every legitimate comment a blog receives, it will receive 24 spam comments on average. With comments enabled on your blog, you can cultivate a community where visitors can express their thoughts and opinions. Turning a blind eye to spam comments, however, will discourage real visitors from leaving legitimate comments. It may, in fact, hurt your blog’s search rankings.

What Are Spam Comments?

A comment is considered spam if it has commercial intent. Spam comments are essentially unsolicited advertisements. Unlike legitimate comments, they don’t extend the topic presented in a blog post. Spam comments are unwanted advertisements that promote a nefarious marketer’s own website.

Nefarious marketers have been targeting blogs with spam comments for decades. They realize that popular blogs generate traffic, so they leave comments to funnel visitors to their websites.

Many of these nefarious marketers also believe that spam comments will earn them higher search rankings. Unfortunately, spam comments tend to have the opposite effect on the blogs where they are left. If your blog is struck with spam comments, it may experience a loss of search rankings.

Bad Outbound Links

While they come in many forms, nearly all spam comments contain at least one outbound link. Links are essentially how nefarious marketers capitalize on your blog’s traffic. They’ll leave comments with one or more links pointing to their websites, hoping that your blog’s visitors will click and follow the links.

Outbound links aren’t inherently bad. On the contrary, most high-ranking blogs have them. The problem with spam comments is that they contain low-quality or even malicious outbound links. A link in a spam comment may point to an e-commerce store that has nothing to do with your blog’s niche, or it may point to a website that’s designed to infect visitors’ web browsers with malware.

Your blog won’t rank very high if it’s riddled with low-quality or malicious outbound links. When search engines see these links published in the comments section, they may lower your blog’s rankings so that fewer users click and follow them.

Duplicate Content

Spam comments often contain duplicate content, making them of little or no value to your blog’s search rankings. Nefarious marketers typically don’t create unique comments when spamming blogs. Rather, they use software that automatically submits the same comment to hundreds or even thousands of blogs.

When a comment contains unique content, meaning the included text hasn’t been published elsewhere, the blog post where it’s left may rank for more organic keywords. Search engines may rank a blog post for the words and phrases used in its comments.

Comments with duplicate content don’t drive any additional rankings because they’ve already been published on other blogs. They only consume space at the bottom of your blog posts without adding any real value.

Less Returning Traffic

Your blog’s returning traffic may decrease if it has spam comments. Many visitors return to blog posts so that they can read and respond to new comments.

As new comments appear on a blog post, visitors will come back to it. Visitors, of course, aren’t interested in reading or responding to spam comments. When they see a blog post is filled with spam comments, they may not return to it.

With less returning traffic, spam comments can hurt your blog’s search rankings. Returning traffic is a ranking signal. According to Backlinko CEO and founder Brian Dean, Google’s algorithm favors websites with a high rate of returning traffic. Spam comments will lower your blog’s rate of returning traffic so that it’s harder to rank.

Loss of Credibility

Spam comments can result in a loss of credibility for your blog. They send the message that your blog isn’t actively maintained and that you don’t care about the quality of its content. Visitors expect blogs to have legitimate comments. Upon discovering spam comments on your blog, visitors will perceive your blog as being less credible.

Since it’s not quantifiable, credibility isn’t an actual ranking signal. Nonetheless, the loss of credibility associated with spam comments can hurt your blog’s search rankings. If visitors think your blog isn’t credible, they won’t spend much time interacting with it. Your blog will suffer from shorter session durations, fewer pages per session, fewer social media shares and fewer legitimate comments, which can collectively drag down its rankings.

How to Prevent Spam Comments on Your Blog

You can prevent comment spam by moderating all new comments. Moderation involves manually reviewing comments to determine which ones are legitimate. When visitors submit a comment, it will be placed in a queue. From your blog’s dashboard, you can read these submitted comments and either approve, delete or mark them as spam.

In WordPress, you can enable comment moderation by navigating to the “Discussions” section under the “Settings” menu. Just tick the option that requires all comments to be manually reviewed.

There are spam-fighting plugins available as well. Akismet is probably the most well-known plugin for fighting spam comments, because it’s packaged with WordPress. All WordPress installations come with Akismet. It’s a powerful yet easy-to-use plugin that filters spam comments. Other spam-fighting plugins include Antispam Bee, Spam Protection By CleanTalk, All in One WP Security & Firewall and Stop Spammers.

Disabling pingbacks and trackbacks can further protect your blog from spam comments. According to WPBeginner, roughly 99 percent of all pingbacks and trackbacks are spam. Pingbacks and trackbacks are link alerts that blogging platforms, including WordPress, publish as comments.

If another website links to your blog, it may send an alert to your blog that triggers a pingback or trackback. Since they are now mostly used for spam, though, you may want to disable pingbacks and trackbacks if your blog supports them.

Spam comments are more than a nuisance. They can jeopardize your blog’s SEO strategy. Don’t let spam comments stop your blog from ranking at the top of the search results. Ward them off by moderating your blog’s comments, installing a plugin and disabling pingbacks and trackbacks or you can switch to our Canadian Managed WordPress Hosting that offers protection against comment spam and other threats by default.

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