Spammers try to boost their own website SEO by comment spamming your website. Comment spam is something that I have been wanting to write about for some time but keep putting off. Until now. I recently received one of the most egregious comment spams ever on my car blog, here is a screen capture of it.
In case you missed it, the comment reads, and I quote, “This is big nice. I try hard on for next for Reptile Party for frind frind.”
So, what is this, you ask? This is one of the things that happens when businesses hire the wrong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) companies to “help” them with their website optimization. But let’s back up a step. Just in case you don’t know, website SEO is how Google determines the ranking order of search results for any keyword or phrase. Obviously, everyone wants to be on page one for their respective keywords.
Google has an algorithm for deciding who is on page 1, 2, etc. for any particular keyword or phrase. The algorithm is very complex and anyone who says they can get you on page 1 of a search is being less than honest. One thing we can all agree on is that there are a few things that will help your website rank well with the search engines.
First is adding fresh unique content on a regular basis. As a “search engine”, Google stays at the top of the search engine game by pleasing its audience. How – with search results that help the searcher quickly. When we are served up relevant websites that help us to quickly meet the goals of whatever we were searching for in the first place, Google will continue to be our top go to search tool. Websites that continue to add fresh, unique content will rank well.
Second, and we can debate this ‘till the cows come home, but I believe it to be true: Domain age. If your domain name (your website URL) has been around for a long time, it is supposedly more trust worthy than a domain that was registered last week. I have seen websites with domain names that were 10+ years old rank very well on Google even if new content hadn’t been added in years.
Third: Linkbacks. A “linkback” is when another website (and it should be a REPUTABLE ONE) makes a reference to your website and links to your site. So, for example, if you are quoted in an article from a reputable site and they link back to your site, Google determines this as a good thing and this will help your own sites’ Google rankings.
This is where comment spam comes in. People will go from site to site responding to blog articles (in the form of a “comment”) in hopes that the comment will “stick” and their comment will stay up on that site. In addition to the comment, they will give themselves a “link back” to their own site hoping that will stick, too. The spammer will be rewarded with a link back if a comment spam filter, and a human approve the comment.
So, here’s where it comes full circle. A company (like yours) might hire an “SEO professional” to help with your website rankings. Many of these snake oil salesmen will take your money, and farm out the website SEO responsibilities to places like The Philippines, China, etc. They hire people (who don’t even speak English) to go from site to site and “comment spam” blog posts in hopes that they stick. Most of the time, the comment will be complimentary saying something like, “I really enjoyed your article, keep up the good work”. But all they want is that link back. If they trick a few dozen sites into keeping the comment link, it might help with their own (or their clients’) website rankings.
What’s the takeaway? A couple of things, actually. First, don’t stand for comment spam on your site, and don’t let them have that link. Use a comment spam filter like Akismet to filter out the comment spam. Akismet will filter out about 99% of the comment spam and you should manually review the few remaining ones and decide to approve or deny.
Second, if you are going to hire an website SEO company to help you with your own rankings, choose wisely. Personally I would only use one where I know they have proven results with a friend, or business associate. Otherwise, your site might be used in comment spam with such nonsense as “This is big nice. I try hard on for next for Reptile Party for frind frind.”