Comment Spam 2012, as worthless as in 2009

The posts I wrote about network sites and articles spinning reflect on the fact that the old school SEO is more than alive among webmasters, doesn’t matter that most of it has no effect, people are still doing it. The same can be said about comment spam and commenting software that is still being sold by the pound and small businesses are loving it, article syndication software, commenting software, you name it. Aside the fact that it amazes me how people can be so clueless, a really annoying fact is that people are massively using comment spam as a means of ranking their sites.

comment spam

It’s really hard on the eye when I see a great blog with great content having lousy comment administration and the likes of “buy Viagra” or “wow gold” being repeated in hundreds of comments below. Most of it I have seen on .edu and some old academic sites, which is just a confirmation that these were found through either commenting software or some lists, the older the better and with some authority the comments will make your website sky rocket, right!

Google clearly explained in 2009 why comment spam doesn’t work[1]:

“FACT: Abusing comment fields of innocent sites is a bad and risky way of getting links to your site. If you choose to do so, you are tarnishing other people’s hard work and lowering the quality of the web, transforming a potentially good resource of additional information into a list of nonsense keywords.

FACT: Comment spammers are often trying to improve their site’s organic search ranking by creating dubious inbound links to their site. Google has an understanding of the link graph of the web, and has algorithmic ways of discovering those alterations and tackling them. At best, a link spammer might spend hours doing spammy linkdrops which would count for little or nothing because Google is pretty good at devaluing these types of links. Think of all the more productive things one could do with that time and energy that would provide much more value for one’s site in the long run.”

No need to explain further, even John Mueller can’t believe it[2], but what got my attention in this article was something else besides the futility of using comment spam. At the end of the post they talk about cleaning your spam links and submitting your site for reconsideration. Now at first I thought they were just talking about the best practices when clearing your useless links, no matter what form, comment, paid etc… But the comments there went on and on asking whether comment spam can get a site penalized.

My guess is that Google used this unclear message to get as many of the webmasters reading it to remove their spam comments and links on their own, having reconsideration request hang in the air as a sign of something bad that might happen if you don’t, while I don’t believe they will penalize a site for comment spam alone, like they said in the post, they will just devalue it. After all, Google is known for giving unclear and fuzzy answers that could be interpreted in hundreds of ways, sometimes I feel like I’m reading Nostradamus prophecies, never knowing what is and what will be, and not sure whether I should believe them or not.

The bottom line is that comment spam is as alive as it was in 2009 and in 2006, live and kicking, the only difference is that it doesn’t work, or at least I hope it doesn’t, because we only have the word of Google to go on, and from what I’ve seen, some sites do rank well and their backlink profiles have only spam links to show. I guess the difference is in the number threshold, Google won’t raise a flag until a certain number or velocity is passed, so maybe there is also a way to game this type of spam activity as well.

Please share your thoughts, and please, no “great post” comments.




Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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