Comment spam is the reality of life on the internet and every blogger’s worst nightmare. Your comments section gives you a convenient way to engage with your website’s readers and followers but this also means you are going to have to deal with spam and by that I mean a lot of it.
While there is no way to eliminate spam from your blog for good, you can always slow it down and hide it from your viewers with a few extra modifications or an anti spam plugin.
So today we are going to talk about the who, what and why behind these spam comments. And also the how to stop them.
What's comment spam?
That is an inside look of what it is to have a comment section. There’s no way to completely stop it, you just have to deal with it.
Comment spam is basically unrelated and automated content posted by spam bots that usually contain meaningless paragraphs with links to highly X rated content which can be quite disturbing.
Why comment, spam?
It’s the backlink they are looking for. The backlink is what spammers are aiming for. All they want is to place a link in your blog back to their site so they write a quick comment and place the backlink and posts. Ta-da you’ve got even more spam. Congratulations!
Who comments spam?
These are automated comments usually using a script and a bot. There is usually no direct human involvement in these comments. So check your spam for some identical comments you are bound to find some.
2) Manual Comments
This is obviously the people. They are hired to comment on various sites. The quality of these comments can vary but they will always include a backlink.
3) Trackbacks and Pingbacks
Trackbacks and pingbacks are methods for alerting blogs that you have linked to them. … Trackbacks – must be created manually, and send an excerpt of the content. Pingbacks – are automated and don’t send any content.
Although trackbacks and pingbacks allow you to communicate through blogs, they are most likely to be abused by bots which would again include a spammy backlink. Therefore, you should normally disable pingbacks and trackbacks, and only enable them if you are sure you want to use them.
It affects your blog !
Your readers won’t be able to have a proper conversation on your blog when they have to talk through the spam posted there.
Your site looks unprofessional due to all the malicious content in your comment section.
Loss of search engine ranking: Google targets bad links and if affect your ranking.
Risk to your readers: If your audience includes a good amount of children under the age of 18 then these links might become a potential risk.
Speed: This also affects your site’s speed. A lot of comments can slow down your site a lot.
Most of these comments contain harmful links that are meant to mislead users into disclosing sensitive information about themselves and their friends. *screams*
Make it stop.
There’s 5 ways on how you can stop spam comments.
These are super easy and you can attempt any of these even if you are a beginner.
Limit the links
As we talked about earlier the link is what the spammers gravitate towards so why not permit the number of links per comment. Sure, this restriction may also affect your potential readers and followers but at least it will slow down the spam and that’s going to be worth it.
To do this Settings → Discussion and look for the comment moderation section.
You can enter any number here, any comment with that amount of links will be heald for moderation. You can even reduce it to 0 if you want to.
Hold the comments up for moderation
Comment moderation is manually approving the comments one by one and taking control over what comments appear on your site and what doesn’t. If you have the time to spare go for it.
To do this Settings → Discussion and look for the before a comment appears section.
By ticking the checkbox (as done above) your comments will stay out of the other viewer’s sight till they are reviewed by you. It’s up to you to decide if you want to keep it or trash it out completely.
Disable comments entirely.
This is the simplest thing you can do. Just disable the comments.
Pros : No spam at all *yay*
Cons : You won’t be able to build engagement and following or keep a conversation with your followers.
Use a different comment system
Something like Disqus. They are external commenting systems so when you get a comment they would definitely have gone through a spam detector so you wouldn’t have to worry about spam.
But hold up there are some cons.
People are less likely to comment on them because they don’t look good and I agree because the system would be all over your blog. Plus, if the company shuts down one day you’re going to lose all your data. *gasp*
Use an antispam plugin
Highly recommended. You’ll have total control over your data even if it means you are going to have to go through the comments and make sure not all of them are spam.
Now finding the best Anti-Spam plugin might be a problem. So let’s check out some of my favourite ones. (I’ve tried all of these out and I guarantee you, they do the job)
This plugin is installed by default in WordPress blogs , and is free to use for personal bloggers (with a commercial monthly subscription set at $8.33 per month (with an annual plan), and enterprise solutions available at just over $41 per month).
But legitimate comments too could get flagged spam by Akismet. But overall this works the best.
Price: It’s a free plugin.
Anti Spam Bee
This is what I use in my blog. Overall I’m loving it. This plugin uses the ‘honey pot’ technique to trap bots invisibly. This blocks automated and targeted spam.
Price: It’s all free.
Titan Anti Spam
Titan uses invisible re-captcha, so those spambots have no way of spamming you any more. Although this plugin stops any spam comments there’s no protection for the other forms across your website.
Using this plugin with another plugin is advised. However the pro version does a great job.
Price: Free but includes a pro plan.
To sum it all up
There’s no direct way to stop spam unless you disable comments altogether. But it can be done. So don’t let the spam bring you down.
Make sure you give this post a read to find out even more plugins that would help you with your blog.