Steve Rubel points to a rumored announcement of a system of blocking Google’s bots reading your comments – thereby taking the incentive for comment spammers to leave comments.
‘But since then several bloggers have reported that Winer was testing a new Google linking mechanism that might put an end to blog comment spam by omitting all links from its PageRank calculations that have a rel=”nofollow” attribute tag. This would change the economics behind why people comment spam popular blogs – to boost their Google search rank. If this is true, it would certainly be welcome. Stay tuned.’
I’m all in favor of any such system – but suspect that if it is left up to bloggers to insert the code into their own templates that it will only ever be used by a certain percentage of the blogosphere and as a result there will always be some incentive for comment spammers to continue on their merry spamming ways. Maybe if such a system were to be included in all future releases of the big blogging systems it would help combat the problem more. Bring it on though I say – I’m sick of the morning ritual of cleansing my blogs from the filth.
Of course there will be a cost of blocking Google from Comments also. A cost to legitimate bloggers who interact with other legitimate bloggers. In the same way that spammers comments will no longer promote them in Google – legitimate bloggers will lose backlinks from comments and slip in their Google rankings. Search engine ranking is very dependent upon backlinks to your blog – if many of us were to review our backlinks we’d find that a lot of them come from our own comments. I do not leave comments for this purpose – comments for me are about connecting with other bloggers and exchanging ideas – however a side benefit of doing so is the way it increases profile in Google. I leave around 10 comments per day on others blogs – over two years of blogging this is over 6000 links to my sites. If these were to disappear I wonder what impact it would have. I suspect that if this system were to be implemented on past comments that many bloggers would see a corresponding slip in their SERPs. I guess there is a cost to every gain in life.