Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Spam Negatively Affects Blogs and Websites

by M. J. Joachim

Remembering the days of wondering why Mom thought it was a good idea to punish us by serving SPAM for dinner is enough for me. The very mention of the word sends shivers up my spine, and that’s not because I’m sitting next to an open window, on a cold rainy day. No, it’s because there’s something about that slimy, illformed, processed meat stuff they call SPAM. Mom thought it was an easy, no fuss meal to prepare, while the rest of us thought she caught at least one or two of her eight kids in an inexcusable offense. Either that or she was hoping Dad might leave her. SPAM and meatloaf were not meals to serve if she ever wanted points with Dad. Them were fighting meals, the kind that told us all point blank, we were in the dog house big time.

No wonder the word spam derived from such a negative connotation, complete with abhorrent imagery, the likes few foods would dare to see. Today spam is a synonym for grotesque, detestable, unwanted and intrusive messaging on the Internet, inappropriate messages that affect our web work more than many of us might realize. According to Kissmetrics, a marketing optimizing firm, comment spam is listed in the top 25 reasons Google might penalize our sites. “Most commenting systems have an automated spam detecting system, but some comments still make it through. Keep a close eye on the comments you’re getting. Also, don’t let spam build up; if you don’t have time to moderate it, switch commenting off entirely.”

Spam comments include backlinks to questionable, trashy, spammy websites. By leaving comments with links to their own sites, spammers drain activity from yours, even if these comments remain in your spam folder and go unpublished. The mere fact that there’s a link somewhere on your blog or website is all it takes to lose status in the Internet world, because crawlers don’t differentiate between good and bad comments, and they don’t look to see if these same comments have piled up in your spam folder, remaining unpublished and forgotten.

According to Inkthings Marketplace, “Spammers try to target some poorly secured commenting system in order to get more and more backlinks.” This means it’s up to blog and website owners to diligently monitor their own sites. Spammers are tech savvy, capable of creating their own crawlers to see which sites to target, thereby having an easy time targeting any site that isn’t spam proof or on high alert, another reason why it is important to check your spam folders everyday and delete all canned comments that will likely negatively affect your work.

Of primary importance is deleting all spam comments, because spammers will link to as many of your posts and pages as they can, and even if their comments go unpublished, they’re still linked there, siphoning juice from your site. Comment moderation is a must if you want to monitor and protect yourself from spammers. Responding to comments in a timely manner, publishing them or deleting them as soon as possible, goes a long way in the prevention of spam comments being crawled on your site, ultimately reducing your chance of being penalized by Google for having too many ill-fitted backlinks, resulting in negative search engine ranks, slower web loading times, error codes, malware, viruses and more. 

spam |spamnounirrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients.• unwanted or intrusive advertising on the Internet: [ as modifier ] :  an autogenerated spam website.(Spam) trademark canned meat product made mainly from ham.verb [ with obj. ] send the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet.DERIVATIVES spammer nounORIGIN 1930s: apparently from sp(iced h)am.
There are three main words you need to become familiar with when identifying and controlling spam on your blog or website: comments, pingbacks and trackbacks

Comments are the platform used to infiltrate your blog or website with spam. They are the battlefield, place of engagement and ultimately the source of infection on your blog or website.

Pingbacks generate links from your site to spammer sites. They literally infiltrate your site with backlinks, referring visitors of your site to theirs. Even if people don’t click on their links, these links get crawled and have the potential of distributing traffic away from your site, by the mere fact that they are present on your domain.

Trackbacks are when bloggers or website owners link to your blog or website in theirs, and notify you of their activity. They are the physical aspect of backlinks, whereas pingbacks are the automated version.

As much as it sounds fun, inviting and social, all this link sharing can easily lead to no good for you and your blog or website. Clean comments, I’m referring to comments without pingbacks, trackbacks and erroneous links, are the only comments you should allow on your blog or website. Security must be a priority, making sure that your content is superior and your visitors respect the work you produce, without adding pingbacks and trackbacks in the comments, because ping backs and trackbacks can and should be considered spam. They should be deleted, even if they are posted by your blogging friends. True blogging friends wouldn’t leave links in their comments, because you’ve developed a relationship with them, and they know pingbacks and trackbacks are bad for your blog or website.

There’s a homework assignment in all of this. Go through all your posts and delete any and all comments with pingbacks and trackbacks on your blog or website. Give it a few days and see if your stats don’t improve. Then, remain diligent keeping comment moderation on, checking and deleting comments in your spam folder at least once per day, or more if you can, and don’t leave links in your comments on other people’s blogs or websites. Referrals are fine, if you want to let others know you have a relevant post or article to share, but keep the links to yourself.

In the interest of clean blogging and better stats, this is M. J. wishing you success in all your Internet undertakings.

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