Comment Spam – The “No Follow” saga
Over 2 weeks ago, Google took the lead in an Internet-wide effort to curb comment spam particularly among blogs. Comment spam are comments left by certain spineless webmasters that add nothing of value to the post in discussion. E.g. visit my poker site which I’ve been getting almost daily lately. For my newsletter subscribers who’ve read my Trackback Explained report, you’ll understand better why this drastic measure was taken. For those who haven’t, well in a nutshell, by leaving comments or trackbacks with links back to your site on other people’s blogs you’re in effect ‘tricking’ search engines to look like you have a lot of sites linking to you. Those who read my report will also know, spamming is something I’ve emphasized as an absolute no-no.
Google’s suggestion was to get blog application developers to include a ‘tag’ into their comment links and that tag looks like this:
<a href=”http://www.site.com”></a> to <a href=”http://www.site.com” rel=”nofollow”></a>
this will signal to the robots not to follow and therefore give those sites a higher pagerank because of the number of links in. I’m not going to get into the discussion whether this is good, there are countless of discussions about that all over the internet, just do a search for nofollow and you’ll see. What does it mean to us marketers who are responsibly using this comment or trackback in the hopes of promoting our website? Do we stop commenting on other people’s blog completely even though we have something valuable to contribute? I think no.
Us marketers live for search engines. For good reason since they do bring a big chunk of visitors who can be converted to sales however, we shouldn’t forget people buy our products not search engines. Search engines help it yes of course. But if you continue to give valuable insight and contribute to other people’s blog, people will sooner or later come to see you as knowledgeable about a particular subject. So, don’t forget the readers. Search engines may not give you credit anymore but people can and do.
p/s: Many people don’t really understand what the nofollow will do to their blogs and think that this is a magic cure. I’ve seen many posts online where bloggers think just because they have the nofollow tag in their comments they are ‘safe’ from spam. Sorry it won’t stop spam at all. It isn’t a plug that stops people from commenting good or bad it simply tells search robots not to follow the link. So yes you will still get spam in your comments! If you really want to stop comment spam, disable comments altogether or, use the features available in your blogging application e.g. in WordPress I get an email each time a comment is left and I can choose to allow or delete. I think this works a lot better because personally, I don’t care whether search engines follow my commentor’s links or not especially if they are contributing, I just don’t want irrelevant comments period.
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