The CTR for spam comments is actually fairly high, but where does that place your website or company in the ethical battle for a long term digital strategy?
Much of the focus for the search industry has been around building up content networks and everyone has promoted directly or had someone else directly plug their article, application or website via a comment on a blog or a post, but why do it? The point is that basically it works and will continue to work either via driving traffic, developing a level of trust via links or improving indexing of the promoters website. Rand wrote up a big open letter calling for the Google webspam team to review how they are evaluating what is spam based on a decreasing level of relevance for a number of popular terms. As for the best process for defining spam or making a broad decision that a particular method or intention is black/white or gray is not the purpose of this article its to look at why it will continue to happen.
I have been meaning to look into this matter in some more detail so by just picking 2 random but popular articles that have been published on this blog that had obvious self promotional links dropped, was it worth it for them? This site being a run on the WordPress.com blog platform so I can make it clear that all the links placed into the comments are “nofollow” so their should be no direct benefit for “link juice” or ranking benefit for you, but why does it keep happening and what is classed as spam?
Author Name Keywords
There are 3 sides to using Blogs for self benefit or promotion, the first and most common to slip through is to use the author details to place in keyword friendly names as part of the websites backlink strategy. The use of keyword friendly author names is usually heavily frowned upon by a number of popular blogs as some do follow the author URL so the link text does have relevance and a benefit for the poster. Often the author’s name is matched to the blog post but often so not relevant that the following listed below are classed as spam.
- Internet and network marketing tutorial
- Link Building
- capodimonte figurine
- limo in baltimore
- business inspiration
- iPad Frenzy – Everything Frenzy on the Apple iPad!
- 22 inch car rims
- Zone of the Dead | Playstation3 Blog
- Mrs Anti-Virus
- Get Paid for Your Opinion
- Online Casino Roulette
The next part will be that they will usually to match the author name to their website URL but often automated bots or low quality link builders often increase the chance of being flagged as spam by trying to matching the URL to a similar focused keyword domain. So the author name used for the comment would be “website designers” will be matched to “http://website-design-ers.info” which is fairly easy to spot. The author usually owns, manages, benefits or is paid to increase the traffic to the website they have listed. A number of the URLs listed below have been used in comment spam and have been flagged automatically as spam and I have not included the full website address because this post is not designed to provide them with a benefit. Often much of the comment spammers are not just link spammers but drop links to sites that contain malware, MLM schemes and mostly just not suitable for work audiences. The author websites listed below are easily classed as spam and many are low quality template websites that are mostly not suitable for this blog to be found associated with even it is just via nofollowed links.
It may not always be done with evil or spammy intention in mind and the comment maybe be manually approved after its viewed if the comment is relevant to the post. The following is a list of spam comments that have recently been posted on this blog, they are good example of the types of blog comments which are used and flagged automatically as spam:
- This was a great post, thank you very much 🙂
- thanks nice..
- Thanks for your awesome post,! More to come on Monday….
- nice work guys really impressed with your marketing style.
- Thank you for your info, Recommended to read!!! i’ll bookmark your site and hope can find more hot info for the future.
- hy man thanks for the comment on my blog ,hope will be back soon
- hi every body
- I found your article very interesting, do you still have another article? maybe we can share the article
- This is a really useful post. Thanks for the info.
- I found your article very interesting, do you still have the article with the same theme? maybe we can share the article
- nice blog and nice articel..coool ha !!
Often the comments are even less relevant, and if created by spam bots or lazy link builders just take sections of your own article and post that in the comments as if they had written something relevant and useful, this does not add value to a blog post so are classed as spam. The comment combined with the author URL is a clear sign if the comment is a spam comment or one that should be approved as it is relevant to the blog post and is suitable for visitors if they should want to visit the authors page to learn more about them.
Link Dropped in Comments
The aspect of dropping a relevant link to a related post or product is a tougher conversation to have with both blog owners, search agencies and link builders. Placing a link into a blog post still works well and can often add a relevance to a blog post where an author may have not referenced some details contained in their post, you might have seen or read a post that disputes their post or seek to create some more discussion. I don’t believe that there is a single person in the industry that can claim they have never dropped a link to one of their sites/posts/clients at one time or another, but when it moves away from relevance then it can border on being spam. If I have written a post about AdAge Power 150 failing, dropping a link to a dating site is clearly spam and is not going to be approved. Here is a short list of some of the many comments and links dropped shown in blue text that are not relevant to the blog post shown in (example) or often even spelled correctly and are regarded as spam:
(Article was written about links)
- This is a wonderful opinion. The things mentioned are great and needs to be appreciated by everyone. Auto Marketing
- I don’t generally reply to posts but I’ sure will in this case. Seriously a big thumbs up for this 1 C CLass IP hosting!
(Article was about advertising)
free advertiser to all bblogger bussnines
(Article about a marketing failure)
Nice Blog thanks ankara evden eve nakliyat Hosting
Summary of comment links
Sometimes the links match the author but often gmail accounts are used with the author’s url being squidoo.com, blogspot.com or wordpress.com sites. These are flagged automatically as spam by WordPress so its a waste of time and resources trying to get ranked #1. Often blogs automatically approve comments so you will see the same comment or link being posted under different authors name/email to try and get around spam filters but it will mostly lead to failure. Spamming in foreign languages will also be flagged as the blog author won’t automatically approve it if they don’t know what the text says.
Links dropped in comments get clicks
3 Links that were dropped into 2 posts on this blog, actually showed to give the website a decent CTR actually in aspects higher than any links that are contained within the actual post. So if you are doing article writing for the pure purpose of driving relevant website traffic to your site, it maybe more beneficial to have a decent link placed within the first few comments if you are looking for traffic, people are curious so that is why dropping links into comments works. The click-through rate for the links was actually well above what I expected which is why I wrote this blog post, 3 samples show:
- Link 1 click-thru-rate 5.88%
- Link 2 click-thru-rate 1.13%
- Link 3 click-thru-rate 0.27%
Summary of Spam Strategies
So dropping links and spamming blogs can work for some sites/projects but in the long-term it’s not sustainable or going to help your brand/site if you get flagged as a spammer. There are a number of things you can do to ensure you get more benefit when using blogs as part of your social/content strategy but this blog post is not the place you can learn about that. If you choose to go down the path of heavily spamming blogs, your problems will compound overtime and eventually even if you are not spamming a blog you will be automatically flagged for review every time by Akismet, so best not try to make things that much harder for you and play nice.