Are you spamming your own blog? What to do about Google's comment spam policy

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Are You Spamming Your Own Blog?

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Are you spamming your own blog? What to do about Google's comment spam policy from www.anyonita-nibbles.com

 

Welcome to the Blogging Crash Course! 

Helping you grow your blog into the powerhouse you know it can be!
Are you spamming your own blog? What to do about Google's comment spam policyThe Golden Rules of Guest Posting from www.anyonita-nibbles.com
Last week, we looked at the golden rules of guest posting. This week, we're deviating from the schedule and are going to discuss comment spam.


Don't skip over this post, guys! It's vitally important and relevant especially if you host link parties or reply to all of the comments on your blog.

We're going to discuss what Google deems as user-generated spam, what their new regulations regarding spam mean for your blog and how to protect yourself.

I've had a Google Alert set up to monitor this topic for quite a while now and in the last few weeks, the momentum has really picked up. Now's the time to share what I've found with you.

In the blogosphere, we all strive to please the Google gods. They run a tight ship over at Google HQ and that trickles down to all of us, whether we want it to or not. Google has recently made some changes to its algorithm regarding how they view and treat comments on blogs that we all need to be aware of.

In a nutshell, comments that do not add value to your post are considered spam. It's not necessarily what is being said in the comment but how it is being said that concerns Google and raises their red flag.

Here's a brief example, for you. These types of comments are likely to be triggered by Google's spam monitor:
Yummy! 

This looks good!


These types of comments are better because they contain detail and valuable information:

Yum yum YUM! Nutella AND nesquick?! Incredible combination! Pinning these now to my 'It's a Sunny Summer' board. Enjoy the Manchester weather - my family have all been raving about it too - visiting at the end of July, I wonder if it will still be hot!? :-D

Mmmm, these look so good! Perfect for these hot days, though we're in the 90's here most days. 70's sounds beautiful right about now.:) Pinned these; my boys would love them. Thanks so much for linking up to Inspire Me Wednesday! Featuring you in this week's issue.

As you can see from the examples, both sets of comments say pretty much the same thing. But the second lot is better because there's details and relevant information specific to the post the comments appeared on. The first two comments could apply to any post on a food blog. The devil's in the details ... so's Google.

Under Google's reformed policy, those first two comments could be considered spam and a number of spammy comments would result in your blog losing its Google rankings that you tried so desperately to secure. For more information on what Google doesn't want, check out this post.

How to protect your blog and what to do about Google's comment policy:

  1. Don't publish generic comments (like those first two) and make it a general rule of thumb not to publish comments that are three words or less. Unfortunately, this includes the "You're welcome" comments many of us leave after someone thanks us for hosting a link party. :( While it's good manners, Google could consider it spamming your own blog.

    Last week, I noticed that same of my "you're welcome" comments had been put in my spam folder! So I did a bit more research into why and this new comment policy is the culprit. Unfortunately, I've had to go through my entire comment log and remove every instance of these two word comments and other three-word comments that could be effecting my blog negatively.
  2. Don't allow anonymous comments on your blog. Although it may seem a bit harsh, this is a great way to ensure the people leaving comments have some sort of credibility and can't hide  behind the guise of anonymity.
  3. Turn on comment moderation. No one likes captchas, but if you're not using one, your blog is vulnerable to spam. Using a comment system like Disqus or Comment Luv helps ensure that spam is kept to a minimum without forcing your visitors to use a captcha. Alternatively, and best for Blogger users, G+ comments do the same but also link up your post's G+ activity with your comments.
  4. Disallow HTML links in your comments. There are a number of ways you can do this on Blogger: first off, Blogger automatically treats anchor text links in comments as no-follow links. This means links that look like this won't get followed by the search engine bot and won't negatively effect your blog's rank. Links like this: www.anyonita-nibbles.com don't really matter and if you must leave a link, do it this way instead.

    If you use G+ or your comments (which I highly recommend) I assume it treats all anchor text links as no follow as well, although I'm not 100% sure. G+ allows anchor text links, so this requires a bit more looking into.
  5. What this means for Anyonita Nibbles

    In light of this discovery, I've drastically changed my commenting style and policy. Anyonita Nibbles will no longer publish or leave generic comments on this or any other blog. As a result, I'll be stricter about what comments get published on my blog. I've also implemented the G+ comment widget on my blog so anonymous comments will no longer be accepted.

    I've also removed the content from all of my old comments that were three words or less. Going forward, I will still accept the lovely "Thank you for hosting this link party" comments on my blog, because I fear too strict regulation regarding comments would destroy the friendly community link parties build. However, I will not be replying "You're welcome" to these types of comments. Please do not take offense. 
     I hope you all have found this topic insightful. Well, I'm no industry expert, I'll try to answer any questions you may have. Please feel free to comment below! What are your thoughts on Google's reformed comment spam policy? 

10 comments:

  1. Thanks Anyonita, I never knew half of this. I have also been reading your other blogging tips and I have to admit I am guilty of some of them. I don't know what's best, as the 'rules' always seem to be changing. I normally always leave a link back to my blog in the comments, but I have just read on another blog that this should be a big no-no, as some blogs block comments with links in them, meaning that my comment never even gets seen.

    Natasha x

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    1. Hey Natasha,
      Yes, it can be quite confusing & annoying because what Google allows today they might not like when the next algorithm update is released. My general rule of thumb is to do what makes you feel comfortable. After all, blogging is a personal thing and your blog is a reflection of your. When it comes to links in comments, I really don't mind. I like when people leave a helpful comment and then include a link to their blog because it makes it easier for me to find them! :) The only comments I block are spam-type comments when people say something generic like "Wow! Great post! Come visit my blog: linklinklink". Those types of comments can easily be copied & pasted on hundreds of posts. They don't add any value--they don't encourage any type of communication between readers and they just take up space. You can tell with those comments that people are just leaving them to get their link out and I don't think that's fair. My blog isn't a place for people to use to get linkbacks for the sake of it. I want to have conversations with my readers and to get to know them, not for them to use me and my readers. :) Hope this helps!

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  2. Hi Anyonita, I stumbled upon your blog through Brittnei's blog and I'm happy to have read your input! I learned so much so thank you!!! :) I used to leave a link when I comment on blogs when blog owners say to leave a link so they can visit back, I don't do it anymore though..

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! :) Glad that you foundi t helpful, too!

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  3. Thanks so much for all of these blogging tips posts, Anyonita. They're so helpful!

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  4. Thanks Anyonita - yet another of your really useful posts. I do generally try and leave a decent comment as it's hardly worth writing otherwise. I do object to people using Google+ for their comments though as I am unable to comment with this and it's really frustrating. I've been mulling over using comment moderation rather than capcha for a while and this has given me the impetus to try it out.

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    1. Hi Choclette,
      I agree, if you're not going to leave a decent comment, what's the point? I LOVED G+ comments but suddenly, they just stopped working on my blog. I uninstalled and installed them again but they just didn't work. I contacted Google for troubleshooting options and as is often the case, never heard anything back, so I've had to result to normal blogger comments. :( Of course, that meant all the G+ comments I had disappeared. So if you're going to make the change, be very careful this is what you want to do! It was nice not to have to worry about the captcha and for comments and I didn't have to spend time moderating comments, but like you said, so many people who aren't on G+ weren't able to leave a comment and that was really frustrating. I feel like it's a lose-lose situation. If you install G+ comments, there's no going back, unless you're okay with losing all the comments gained when you had G+ and you alienate people who don't have G+. If you don't install it, you're stuck with moderating and spam. *sigh* Wish there was a happy medium!

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  5. OMG I am doing it all wrong! I do not moderate my comments and I sometimes reply with you're welcome only. I should set aside time to clean my bog. I am at a pitiful 0 score. :(

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  6. This information was very helpful. I had been wondering about comments that include a URL link. (Links like this: www.anyonita-nibbles.com don't really matter and if you must leave a link, do it this way instead.)
    I'm not quite clear what you are saying. Are you saying that if I allow someone to include the blog address to their blog, it won't affect negatively?

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    1. Only if you're using G+ comments because they automatically make all links no follow. I couldn't find anything to suggest that Blogger comments have been updated with this function, so if you're using Blogger is keep moderating them. If you use an external party like CommentLuv or Disqus, you'll want to check with them on their policy :)

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