There have been numerous reports that state spam has caused billions of dollars combined. Spam uses several avenues to reach its victims, but you are not alone. There is anti-spam software and plug-ins available, but the truth is that most spamming experts are trained to weave through those defenses. How can you tell if the comment you’ve received is a spam comment or a real one?
It is important to consider that a study showed that an average website owner must deal with spam on a regular basis. It is estimated that this person must manually delete spam mail or comments every week, which totals to five to six hours. Five to six hours is a lot of wasted time, and as most business owners will tell you, time is money.
How Spam Comments Affect Your Website
Allowing spam to grow wild on your website is not something you want. The reputation of your site could get damaged by the sight of spam. Spam can cause users to fear your website, which will definitely hurt the traffic you would have received. Your potential visitors will have a reason to run away from a spam-ridden website, as some of those spam comments may actually contain links with malware.
The space on your website might also suffer. The space on your website may be limited, and spammers will use this to their advantage. If you do not catch their spam comments or simply ignore the issue, you might end up losing your website temporarily. Your website may go down, or you might not be able to post.
The worst effect that you can expect from an overabundance of spam comments is the ultimate rank defamation of your site. Major search engines rate websites. They scan them to make sure they are safe for their users. It is this search that changes your rank and the position of your website in their page results. The more spam you have, the less that a search engine will trust your site. People will have a hard time finding you if you rank low.
What Isn’t Spam?
There are several ways that a real visitor can leave a legitimate comment on your page. One way, of course, is through a regular comment. A comment is an opinion piece. It is sometimes short, but usually related to the subject matter of your post or page.
There are two other types of comments, and here is where things get a little dicey. The second type of comment is referred to as a pingback. A pingback comment is usually created automatically. It basically shows up as an alert to you. It is telling you that your page or post has been linked to an external post or page. You can find out the exact page or site it has been shared on.
The third type of comment is usually referred to a trackback. Trackbacks are the manual version of the pingback. A trackback is basically a nice and personal notification or note from the person who is utilizing your content on their website. They are thanking you, and showing you how your post is going to be used.
Identify and Demolish Spam
Understanding the different kinds of comments is just a starting point. What you really want to do is identify what spam comments look like.
The first way to tell that the comment is not legitimate is by the author. You should check to see if the comment is accompanied by a real name and a real email. Sometimes you can tell a comment is spam, because some spammers use the keywords within the field where a name should go. Or, they might put the name where the email is entered. Watch out for word stuffing within the comment as well. The words to look out for are usually embedded within the name or the email entered. These words will usually not make sense, and can be a red flag.
One of the easiest ways that you can spot a spam comment is if the comment itself is unrelated to your post or page in general. You have to ask yourself a few questions at this point: Does the comment respond to the subject? For example, is your post about leather coats, but the comment is talking about health pills? Another thing to look out for is a comment that is too vague. Comments that are too vague would work as a post on any blog or website, regardless of the subject. An example of this is a statement like “What a great post.” A comment with lines like the one just mentioned should raise some concern. You can also paste this comment in a search engine, and see what matches up. If the comment has been used numerous times, then it may be a spam comment.
Comments that are in a different language or use symbols instead of language is also something to be leery about. These are pretty easy to see, but you should still make sure you do not have a real comment from an oversees visitor.
Things become a little dicey when you see comments using URL coding. URL codings use extensions such as .info or .ru, which could actually be legitimate. If you encounter a comment such as this one, try to find other identifiable spam signals, such as links to unrelated pages or offensive ones.
The fourth sign is one that has been brushed a few instances before, but it is still worth mentioning. This is not usually recommended, because clicking on the link provided may actually put you in danger of malware, but it is a very simple way to see if the comment is spam. You may also be able to see this without clicking on the direct link. Just hover the mouse over the website, and you may be able to see a mini picture of the site without directly clicking on it. If you are linked to a page that is selling a product that your page is not related to, or you are linked to a pornographic page, then you most definitely have a spam comment at hand.
A comment usually comes to you with a golden nugget. That golden nugget is the IP address where the comment originated from. You can use this IP address, and paste it in a search engine to find out if this IP address has had issues related to spamming. If you find that the address has a history of spam, then the chances are that the story has just continued onto your website.
Is catching a spammer an easy task? No, but there are definitely a lot of tools that can be used against spammers. You can utilize these tools, but they may not always work. As webpage owner, you must be equipped with some of the knowledge needed to “sniff” out a spam comment. By analyzing the comments you receive with the information here, you are prepared to identify and demolish a spam comment.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.
In his 9+ years as a digital marketer, Sam has worked with countless small businesses and enterprise Fortune 500 companies and organizations including NASDAQ OMX, eBay, Duncan Hines, Drew Barrymore, Washington, DC based law firm Price Benowitz LLP and human rights organization Amnesty International. He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.