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Google to Kill Blog Comment Spam?

Posted By Darren Rowse 18th of January 2005 Blogging Tools and Services 0 Comments

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.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
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  • What about nofollow abuse? I used to work for a pretty popular tech information network and the one thing they were in CONSTANT search of was ways to keep all the PR points to themselves. They developed campaigns where readers could link to them, but links that went to other pages had to go through a PHP script that in essence stripped any links of PR that might be passed down. (And I’m not talking about spammers or forum posters, I’m talking about links that writers and editors put on the site for the sake of their stories, like technical whitepapers, or online resources. Links didn’t go from point A to point B with maybe a target=”top”, links went from point A to a script which redirected from A to A.1, to A.2, to A.3… then finally to point B.) Could websites simply rel=nofollow everything except maybe paid/traded links? What would be the ethical consideration there, or is there one? Could the abuse of rel=nofollow be considered a type of theft?

  • ngt

    Exciting website. Thank you.

  • There’s a big difference between links from blog comments not contributing to PageRank, and links from blog comments not influencing SERPs at all. As everyone knows, low page rank pages can beat much higher page rank pages in SERPs even when both are reasonable matches in content, etc. showing that page rank is not one of the most dominant factors influencing SERPs.

    Making links from blog comments of no significance at all would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as blog comments that contain valid discussion are a relatively high quality type of content. People reading specialised blogs and commenting on them tend to be predominantly people with specialist knowledge.

    What is needed are ways of distinguishing spam comments from valid comments and eliminating the trash. Turing confirmation is perhaps the most obvious of these, and it would benefit everyone (except the spam polluters) to put into place barriers that were very difficult to circumvent for spambots, but very little hindrance for people.

  • What would happen if people started posting for their top competitors in an effort to drive them out of business????

  • Oh !! that would be a put off for some commenters .

  • What about nofollow abuse? I used to work for a pretty popular tech information network and the one thing they were in CONSTANT search of was ways to keep all the PR points to themselves,