Comments Indicate Engagement
Many of us make a living being online. We attract visitors to our website and provide them with some great content via our blog. One of the metrics that you can measure to see what impact you have with your site is by measuring a form of engagement—how many comments you get on your website.
When someone leaves a comment on your site, you know that they are engaged with you! They found your blog post / article, they read it, and (more importantly), they took the time to type out a comment. It’s a great form of flattery when someone stops what they are doing in order to communicate with you and tell you they like your site!
Unfortunately, there are some comments we simply do not want.
In the past, we only had to worry about junk mail being delivered to our front door by the mailman. In today’s world, we now get junk mail, or spam, in our digital email inbox. And as a site owner we now get “spam comments” left on our website. While we like to receive comments, getting spam comments becomes a chore to clean up.
Let’s then take a look at some simple and easy solutions to ward off these intruders.
Login For Comments
There are several ways in which one can block these comments. The simplest way to prevent spam from flooding your blog is to restrict comments only to registered users. If someone has not taken the time to register themselves as a user on the site, they will not be able to leave a comment.
While this may be good to block the spammers, it is a big inconvenience for real visitors to have to go through a whole registration process, just to leave a comment for you.
Limiting Time For Posting Comments
Another tactic you can use is to limit comments to a specific number of days for a blog post. After that period of time, no more comments are allowed for the post. If you set the default number of days to 14, your site will turn off the comments on posts after 14 days; no more spam comments can be posted by automated bots (or real visitors for that case).
Again, when you have a popular blog post that is evergreen and timely, closing comments after 14 days may be very restricting! While this is an option, I am not a big fan of it!
There are many plugins available that are compatible with WordPress. You can install a free anti-spam plugin for an additional layer of spam control by using a “captcha” code. With comment captchas, visitors have to enter a series of characters and/or numbers before their comment can be posted to your site.
This can help eliminate spam posted via automated bots since those captchas can only be entered by humans.
Akismet is one of the most popular spam filtering plugin which is available for WordPress blogs (it comes with WordPress, it just needs to be enabled). This plugin is an effective spam watchdog.
If you have installed a method of blocking spammers, you have significantly reduced the number of fake comments.
The next step is for you is to validate that the comments left on your site are, in fact, real! I have seen many blogs that have comments that ‘look’ like comments, but in actuality are spam comments.
Why do people leave these comments? One of the reasons people leave comments is so they can get back links.
As Wilkipedia states,
“Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one of the most important factors for determining that website’s search engine ranking, popularity and importance.”
Google’s description of its PageRank system, for instance, notes that ‘Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B.'”
Since Google likes the links, spammers want to get them out there. One of the ‘easiest’ ways to get those links is by leaving ‘comments’ along with the website they are ‘promoting’. As the spammers get more sophisticated, so do their comments.
When comments do not relate to anything specifically in the content of the post, delete them…especially if the URL supplied is suspect. Real visitors will recognize that these are fake comments and become disillusioned when these see them on your website.
While we love to get comments on our website, we want to make sure they are legitimate. Save some time by blocking fake comments and take the time to review the rest to make sure they are real. This will help enhance the overall experience that visitors to your website will have.
Plugins / Links Discussed:
- Akismet: https://akismet.com
- Google reCaptcha: https://www.google.com/recaptcha/intro/invisible.html
- Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Backlink