by John Eberhard

If you have a blog, one thing you’re almost certain to run into these days is “comment spam.” These are comments that are posted to your blog posts that are generic in nature, meaning they could have posted that same comment on any blog in the world, and the comment is posted only so the person could also post his web site address. It is a rather cheesy form of link building. The person is trying to improve the SEO of their web site by creating a link back to it.

While I am totally in favor of link building as an important activity that raises your search engine rankings and increases traffic, I am not in favor of comment spam.

The whole idea behind blogs and especially the feature of allowing others to comment on a blog post is to start a conversation. And the etiquette of commenting on a blog is supposed to be that you post a comment if you have something of value to add to the conversation.

You can tell comment spammers because their comments tend to be things like “Love your blog,” “This is a fantastic blog, can’t believe I have found it,” or “I really agree with your article here.” While I’ll admit that these types of comments are better than “Your blog really sucks,” they are purposely generic (not related to your post) and so they don’t further the conversation in any way. You will usually not find any part of the comment that specifically mentions you blog post or the content of the blog post. And terrible spelling and grammatical errors are the norm for some reason.

Here’s what Typepad says about comment spam:

“Spam comments are unsolicited and anonymous, and often contain links or offers. TypePad AntiSpam catches most spam; however, if you do receive one, please mark it as spam immediately.”

There are software programs that facilitate this type of comment spam, i.e. help people post comments on lots of blogs.

I supervise several blogs and these types of comments have really increased lately, and I had one client email me this past week asking what to do with these comments.

First of all, I recommend setting up your blog so that you can moderate blog comments, meaning you will get an email when someone leaves a comment, and it will not appear on the blog until you log in to your blog and approve it.

Second, make a decision yourself on how you want to handle comment spam. You don’t necessarily need to delete these comments, as most of them are complimentary at least (or they are complimentary of some blog somewhere anyway).

The sheer proliferation of these types of spam comments on the blogs I am supervising has caused me to decide to delete them all. So I look for whether or not the comment is totally generic, meaning it does not mention anything in my article and the same comment could have been posted on a hundred other blogs (and probably was). With any comment that does relate to my article or does mention specific things about the article, I publish it.

There are plugins for WordPress that assist with the handling of comment spam, but I have not checked any of them out yet.

A blog is a powerful vehicle for getting your message out and driving traffic. And it is fun to see people responding to your articles and posts, and to see how what you write has an effect on people and helps them. Comment spam, however, is an annoying thing that you just have to put up with and deal with at this point.