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What Is Comment Spam? Definition and How to Deal With It

Last updated: Mar 31, 2024

What Is Comment Spam? Definition and How to Deal With It
Cover image: Illustration of comment spam that can harming innocent websites.

What is Comment Spam?

Comment spam is one of the negative practices carried out by sending irrelevant comments on online content, especially on blogs, forums, or websites.

This action is generally done by bots or irresponsible parties by inserting links that lead to certain sites with various purposes, such as obtaining traffic or spreading viruses.

Google strictly prohibits its users from spamming comments for any purpose. Apart from harming innocent websites, putting links in the comments column will only reduce the credibility of the linked site.

 

Characteristics of Spam Comments

Basically, you can recognize spam comments easily. Here are some characteristics that indicate a comment is considered spam.

1. Suspicious Commenter Username

One of the easiest ways to detect comment spam is to look at the commenter’s name. Organic commenters tend to use real names or names that are relevant to their identity.

If the commenter's username sounds very suspicious, such as "Low-Interest Loan Solution", with no additional information or clear identity, it is most likely spam.

 

2. The Comment is Irrelevant

Usually, the message contained in spam comments is completely irrelevant to the content being discussed.

Many irresponsible parties try to put links in the comments column for various purposes, such as promoting other sites, stealing personal information, to spreading malware.

 

3. Unauthorized Email Address

In addition to the username and comment content, you also need to pay attention to the email address used.

Be careful if the commenter’s email address does not follow the typical format such as not having the “@” symbol or not including a valid domain.

 

4. Poor Grammatical

The typical spamming of comments has a lot of grammatical errors and contains strange phrases as they are often sent by bots.

This spamdexing activity can usually be detected directly by security algorithms on search engines due to the strangeness of the language and unusual patterns.

 

Why is Comment Spam Harmful?

Receiving a lot of comment spam is detrimental to website owners. Here are some of the losses caused by this action.

  • It ruins the user experience when navigating the comment section of the website.
  • Makes the website look less well-maintained, which can reduce its reputation.
  • Decreases SEO performance because sites full of spam comments tend to be considered less quality by search engines.
  • Increases the threat of malware viruses. If website visitors are not vigilant, they may click on links that could potentially endanger the device’s security and the data on them.
     

Types of Comment Spam

In general, the type of spam can be different based on the platform being used. Here are some examples that are most commonly found.

1. Promotional Spam

This type of spam contains comments that aim to advertise products or services that are irrelevant to the content.

You can recognize promotional spam by generic phrases, such as "Visit our website for great deals!".

 

2. Link Spam

Link spam is a type of comment that contains irrelevant and potentially harmful links. Bots or irresponsible parties usually put spam links to increase traffic on certain websites.

 

3. Keyword Stuffing

Keyword stuffing is a type of comment spam SEO that is done by inserting excessive keywords in the comment field of web content in order to increase its ranking in search engines.

But, as search engine algorithms evolve, such as the ones done by Google, this practice is becoming increasingly ineffective and can even be detrimental.

 

4. Trackback Spam

This type targets trackback or pingback systems within blogs. At first, this system was used to facilitate cross-blogging discussions and inform other blog owners about their references.

But unfortunately, trackback spam can be utilized by spammers to unethically promote their websites or products.

 

5. Malware Spam

This type of comment spam is particularly dangerous because it has the potential to spread malware to users who access a piece of content within a website.

The main purpose of malware spam is to steal user data and privacy, damage systems, or control devices in an unauthorized manner.

 

How to Prevent Comment Spam

According to Google, here are some ways you can prevent this kind of activity.

 

1. Ban Anonymous Posting

You can set the comment section to avoid bots or irresponsible parties. By prohibiting anonymous posting, the website will require visitors to register first before commenting.

 

2. Use CAPTCHA

By using CAPTCHA, you can ensure that interactions that occur on the website come from humans, not from automatic programs or bots designed to send spam.

 

3. Enable Comment Moderation

With this feature, you can review and approve what comments are allowed to be published. This means that any incoming comments can be checked first before they are seen by other visitors.

 

4. Use Nofollow Attribute

Using the "nofollow" attribute on links in comments will signal to search engines not to follow the link. 

 

5. Prohibit the Use of Hyperlinks

You can make the comment section more secure by prohibiting the use of hyperlinks in it. By enabling this feature, visitors will not be able to link the URL for illegal promotional purposes.

 

6. Use Robots.txt and Meta Tags

Finally, you can also tell search engines not to index the comment field by using the robots.txt file or meta tags. Here are the steps:

Open the robots.txt file located in the root directory (usually public_html or www) of your web server.

Next, add a rule stating that search engines should ignore or not follow links in the comments section. 

For example: 

User-agent: *

Disallow: /comment-page/

The above rule will instruct all search engines not to follow or index pages that have "/comment-page/" in the URL.

 

How to Deal with Comment Spam

If you have already received spam in the comments column, then here are the steps that can be taken.

  • Delete the comment manually.
  • Update your website's security status and settings. 
  • Use a security plugin that can block spam comments automatically. 
  • Contact your hosting provider and report spam comments.
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