How not to comment

I’ve written quite a lot about how useful blog commenting is for building links to your own site, and establishing a presence in your niche. But there’s a downside to this too, particularly if you support the dofollow movement. Recently I’ve noticed a big upsurge in the number of spammy comments I’ve been getting. Because I moderate comments they don’t make it onto the site, but even deleting them wastes my time.

Types of junk comments

These junk comments tend to fall into one of three categories:

  1. true spam – actually this is the least part of the problem because Akismet does such a good job filtering it out. Still, the odd one does slip through.
  2. auto-generated nonsense – keyword-laden, computer-generated garbage. No matter how many times you read these, they still don’t make sense. People promote these tools as the answer to your link-building needs – well, I beg to differ! For example:

    An Alexa site widget on a web site can improve the site’s traffic ranking and enthusiastically shared their success stories to others through their blogs… Alexa toolbar users worldwide and from other “diverse traffic data sources”…

    In some cases I guess these nonsensical comments are actually left by real people who can’t express themselves very well – either way they’re getting deleted though. If I can’t understand what it says, my readers won’t be able to either.

  3. generic human-generated nonsense – these often take the form of insincere flattery, for example:

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    Wow, thanks! Unfortunately when you keep receiving variations on this, or even the exact same comment over and over, you start to wonder about the sincerity being expressed here!

Don’t over-optimise

I guess the take-home message here is: don’t try to over-optimise your commenting strategy. Sure, you may be able to leave hundreds of comments using these methods, but how many of them actually stick? Far better, in my opinion, to leave a few hand-crafted, thoughtful comments that actually stick and enhance your reputation.

Part of the problem here is that people believe the hype that they can get the benefits without putting in the work – whatever the activity. While this approach might benefit those pushing the comment-generation tools, I don’t believe it’s beneficial to the average blogger, or to the wider blogosphere.


You can use blog commenting to great effect for building your site’s reputation, as long as you leave useful comments that contribute to the discussion. But abuse it at your own risk! You will do far more damage to your reputation than good by posting auto-generated or repetitive generic comments, and will almost certainly be tagged as a spammer. Don’t say you weren’t warned!

For the rest of you – those that leave good comments that do add to the discussion – thank you! It’s actually refreshing to receive your useful input (and of course you have nothing to worry about!)

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45 Responses to “How not to comment”

  1. Gravatar of Mark Ramos 1 Mark Ramos

    I completely agree that spam heavy comments are easy to spot and a complete waste of time to spend deleting. I don’t think that people have really gotten the clue how little effect this type of action has on their business since they are getting constantly deleted. Boo.

  2. Gravatar of Miami Web Design 2 Miami Web Design

    Blog Commenting is the good methods to build links and getting traffic but Lot of spam force the blog owner to switch the blog back to no-follow . which is not good for sincere blog readers

  3. Gravatar of Mikael 3 Mikael

    And now you have scared everyone off :) No seriously I know what it is like and that is why I also moderate all comments on most of my blogs. I’ve also seen an increase in the 3. version you mention but because it is so obviously a “standard” message I’ll delete them as well.

  4. Gravatar of Doughboy Pools 4 Doughboy Pools

    ‘A few, hand crafted thoughtful comments’ is good advice. Commenting shouldn’t be carried our purely for the sake of link-building IMHO. Ideally comments should add something to the post or the comment conversation. I wonder what you will do with this one… ;-)

  5. Gravatar of Samantha Smith 5 Samantha Smith

    On my blog i tend to block the IP address after receiving more than 3 spam posts. It is true , that some of them tend to fall into “spam” category, though they are not. It is hard to draw the line , when we are dealing with time constraints. I guess deleted posts that were not actually spam, but a standard virtual “etiquette” are part of the collateral damage, in our war against the actual spammers

  6. Gravatar of Samantha 6 Samantha

    haha… your point about generic human-generated nonsense is pretty darn funny. but hey, if you support the dofollow movement, it is natural that spam is going to come your way. and i hope you won’t regard this comment as spam will you? :)

  7. Gravatar of Yasinta 7 Yasinta

    I agree. Spam commenting should be banned. I also look for backlink and traffic, but I choose which articles I read before commenting, so I am not a spam, lol… I just try to do it ethically. If spammers aren’t easily approved, then my “hard” work of reading articles is appreciated. Thank you

  8. Gravatar of Yasinta 8 Yasinta

    I also agree about keeping my reputation, lol.. That’s important for me, I dunno why. My blogger friends say why care for that? I just don’t want to be remembered badly. I choose articles I can understand, read them (at least half of them if it’s too long, but I have to get the point), and then comment. No easy way to get what we want, especially for long term.

  9. Gravatar of Neostead 9 Neostead

    You’re right, this is a headache. What they’re counting on is people who might not have a chance to moderate regularly and it’s way too time-consuming (and boring) to moderate each comment individually, rather than just select all and approve. These types of comments at least have the appearance of being legit – it’s not total ungrammatical nonsense, so they’re banking on some owners laziness – or desperation for a comment.

  10. Gravatar of Wheretolink 10 Wheretolink

    The main point is contribution to the website. Then again that can work both way for quality links. No one likes the spammers, but the fact remains we are bent on getting traffic to our websites. And that will never change. We just have to take it one comment at a time.

  11. Gravatar of Free electronic resources 11 Free electronic resources

    Just my opinion, I prefer to use article submission methods to find the link back, because to comment on every blog you do not need a little time for these. But, do it! ;-)

  12. Gravatar of Planet Buzz – Man 12 Planet Buzz – Man

    Back in the day I used to have a few forums and I would have to go through hundreds of spam members every day and delete them until I finally turned the HTML attribute off. Of course this burdened the real members of my forum. Then I started blogging and although I monitor every comment and approve or disapprove them daily, I still end up drugging through 200 to 300 spam comments a day just to get to the one real person kind enough to leave a real comment. I have to agree with you that BOT’s suck and people need to stop waiting their money on them. They don’t work and they are annoying. Although If you consider the source, anybody that lazy and shallow minded to use an automated piece of junk to do their work for them, would be stupid enough to waste money on it.

  13. Gravatar of Manop 13 Manop

    Great article for spam commenting. I do love the fact that “people believe the hype that they can get the benefits without putting in the work”.

    There are two sides fighting each other. I got 318,000,000 result from keyword “auto comment”, and got 38,800,000 from anti spam comment. You have an idea who’s gonna win this, right.

  14. Gravatar of eFile Federal Taxes 14 eFile Federal Taxes

    It’s interesting when you actually run a blog and read enough comments that detecting spam and mindless flattery becomes second nature. There are a number of people in my family that have new blogs and they have the hardest time knowing if someone is real or a spammer. I guess it’s an acquired skill.

  15. Gravatar of Banner Stands 15 Banner Stands

    Wise words of wisdom. I’m new to blogging, this has helped alot. Over optimised blogs aren’t personal comments. I read blogs because I like the conversational tone (people aren’t trying to sell me things!).

  16. Gravatar of Penguin Kribo 16 Penguin Kribo

    I Hope I’d never post any comment like those type of junk comments..
    lately I have found many “generic human-generated nonsense” on my another is nonsense…they even don’t read the post… junk…Hate junk comments!

  17. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 17 Rodney Smith

    Planet Buzz Man: you are so right!

  18. Gravatar of S Porter 18 S Porter

    I’ve started getting a lot of #3 but the interesting part is that they are now including the name of my blog and even part of the post. They seem real until I get 2 or 3 of them on different posts that are exactly the same! It’s taking more and more time to filter them out… especially for something thats just a hobby.

  19. Gravatar of Decorative Throw Pillows 19 Decorative Throw Pillows

    I think that most people commenting for SEO purposes forget the underlying reason that bloggers have “dofollow” links — it helps them rank higher by having more legit content related to their original post. If you’re not going to write something that will help the blogger accomplish that goal, they’re going to get overwhelmed and make their blog “nofollow”. And in the end, this doesn’t help anyone!

  20. Gravatar of Carl 20 Carl

    I agree it is difficult dealing with spam posts as well. It takes a probably 20% of my time on my blog, which just takes a way from my time to create quality content for my readers.

  21. Gravatar of Falcon Marketing 21 Falcon Marketing

    Interesting take, I’m seeing all three categories on my blog as well. Especially #3, at the beginning I was thinking wow this is great people are really enjoying what I am writing. But as more and more of them came along I caught the drift. Regardless of that, if their website they linked to is relevant, I will add that comment to the mix.

    I am seriously considering enabling dofollow on my blog comments as well, because I believe if someone adds something valuable to my blog, they should be rewarded!

    I also find like 90% of the autogenerated spam is coming from .ru


  22. Gravatar of Searching101 22 Searching101

    Chances are that if you have the free time to be able to download, configure and administrate such blog commenting tools and tricks, then you also have time just to read blogs and write out exactly what you think. If you type what you think, then you should genuinely be able to pull out some nicely crafted and worthwhile comments rather than just MSN-typical phrases such as “lol” or “nice one” etc.

  23. Gravatar of Buat Duit Online 23 Buat Duit Online

    I think it’s important to provide some feedback on the author post in every comment. It shows that you have actually read the post and your feedback might actually provide the blog owner a new topic to write on.

  24. Gravatar of Technology Blog 24 Technology Blog

    I think that SEOs do tend to over optimize their comments, and they tend to trash other people’s blogs through their commenting practices. I have had to deal with many of the same issues you’ve identified here, and it’s a crying shame that this has happened. This is why Google and other search engines had to crack down on this sort of link building practices.

  25. Gravatar of Rick @ SIP Trunking 25 Rick @ SIP Trunking

    Hi Rodney, great commentary. I wrestle with this issue as well. If the article is compelling where I wish to respond, often I will draft my response and edited it before submitting for moderation. I know the majority will not take the time but I view it as a discourtesy to read an article that the author has dedicated an inordinate amount of effort to produce, it’s respectful to give thought to his/her piece. In reality this can’t be done consistently, so the only solution is to be very discriminate with what you’re willing to respond to.

  26. Gravatar of Webdesign Limburg 26 Webdesign Limburg

    You know what it is, people are trying to comment for SEO reasons and hey…. that’s how the Internet works these days. But I totally agree with all the automated bullshit, and the generic messages that are being copied and paste all over.

    But what’s against a good comment that contributes to the blog post? As long as it shows that the sender has read your blog post it’s a good reply isn’t it? And you might even get a couple of new followers if your content is good.

  27. Gravatar of Party Rentals 27 Party Rentals

    Most of people doing comment posting for getting backlink and good PR backlink but few of know communication with blogger and reply on post. people wanted to do as much as maximum comment posting some times by such activity honest blog reader get harmed by blogger, but spam protector plug-in like Akismet prevented blogger and break on fake commentator.

  28. Gravatar of Glucose Meter 28 Glucose Meter

    “I’ve written quite a lot about how useful blog commenting is for building links to your own site, and establishing a presence in your niche. But there’s a downside to this too, particularly if you support the dofollow movement. Recently I’ve noticed a big upsurge in the number of spammy comments I’ve been getting.”

    Those who are doing link building have to keep in mind that there are other options to choose from aside from commenting. An article submission, for instance, is one. This is a very nice method of link building because it allows link builders to effectively promote their sites. Joining forums is also one of the effective ways. Aside from these, you can also use PPC tool to generate traffic to your site.

  29. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 29 Rodney Smith

    Omar: good on you – just stay on top of the moderation!

  30. Gravatar of How to deal with 30 How to deal with

    “Because I moderate comments they don’t make it onto the site, but even deleting them wastes my time.”

    Commenting does help generate feedback and popularity. It’s unfortunate people have used it to only waste time.

  31. Gravatar of accident claim advice 31 accident claim advice

    some people posting comment for getting link only,we should read post and comment on that for communicate with blogger b’coz they are post blog for getting feedback and reading post is also provide some valuable information.

  32. Gravatar of Technology Zone 32 Technology Zone

    If Google had better ways to index pages and rank them then no one would look for ways like commenting to get backlinks.
    Ofcourse nothing can stop the spammers. They are always there.

  33. Gravatar of Hamming 33 Hamming

    If your blog is dofollow, it’s being targeted by spammers, especially when the blog has high page rank. To me, I found that reading blog posts make me up-to-date and know what I never known before. Thanks for your hard work making this blog very clean of spam.

  34. Gravatar of Liza 34 Liza

    I have to admit, if I wasn’t going through a list of dofollow blogs, I wouldn’t have run across yours. But now that I’m here, I assure you that I’m commenting of my own accord and NOT self promotion! Ok, that’s a lie – I’m commenting a BIT for self promotion :P . But I can assure you, “I added you to my Google reader and will come back again!”


  35. Gravatar of Fast food coupons. 35 Fast food coupons.

    I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

    ;-) :-P

    Just kidding .. Seriously of you add a few lines relevant to the Article in hand most Webmasters would keep the Comment . At it takes is a few lines of wisdom

  36. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 36 Rodney Smith

    Liza: Aw shucks, now you’re just sucking up!

    Seriously though, there’s almost always an element of self-promotion involved in commenting, and that’s OK as long as you add value to the discussion. Thanks for stopping by.

  37. Gravatar of Veta 37 Veta

    If this was a nofollow blog I wouldn’t be sitting here trying to find a way to put make my comment sound 100% natural. Geez, thanks A LOT for the pressure. :P

  38. Gravatar of Rodney Smith 38 Rodney Smith

    Veta: yeah well, no-one said it was going to be easy!

  39. Gravatar of Noclegi Gory Stolowe 39 Noclegi Gory Stolowe

    Yes, those kind of comments could be annoying. I understand people who want to put them on blogs – it’s just easy way of filling all empty places that could be filled. The other way is that those posts have no sense at all. As far as I’m not a fan of that behavior I can understand them – just want some money without working too hard. But if they only knew how much hard work blog author must put to make his site really popular they would probably loose their hats. Sometimes all of those internet-marketing issues look so easy, but it is just a mirage. Web marketing is a tough work and also spammers should know that!

  40. Gravatar of Online homework help 40 Online homework help

    commenting on the blogs… can really boost your SERPs undoubtedly… but the things that must be properly taken care of here is the reading of the content.. of,course i won’t appreciate a comment on my blog that don’t have anything related to my post… you have raised the valid dont’s which i think the people should understand as early as possible…

  41. Gravatar of Yuba City Photographer 41 Yuba City Photographer

    I agree completely. I get the same nonsense on my blog and cant stand it. I can understand what they are doing though due to the fact that the more that you put your name out there the more traffic you receive which reflects on your profit.

  42. Gravatar of Rick @ Digital Camera Cases 42 Rick @ Digital Camera Cases

    Technology Zone states “If Google had better ways to index pages and rank them then no one would look for ways like commenting to get backlinks. Of course nothing can stop the spammers. They are always there.” Still that sliver of dedicated bloggers looking to elevate online discourse exists. Let’s hope their efforts count for something.

  43. Gravatar of Weightlossvalue 43 Weightlossvalue

    Many new system designed to fight Spammer, but in the end only make our world becomes more difficult. So, don’t be a spammer in any form. I also moderate all comments on my blogs. You’re right that this is a waste of useful time.

  44. Gravatar of make a will 44 make a will

    I think there are far more nofollow blogs out there now than dofollow, so the dofollow blogs seem to get a concentration of spam. If every blog was dofollow then it wouldn’t be as noticeable. I’m sure I picked up recently somewhere that Google could be changing their methods shortly..further details escape me.

  45. Gravatar of Improve Your House 45 Improve Your House

    This is a really good blog, I’ve just found it but wow! Keep up the good work… sorry, couldn’t resist…

    Spammers ruin a good thing – we all want quality over quantity everytime. Typically, if you can’t add anything new, exciting, fresh, or distinctive to a blog then my rule of thumb is don’t even try.

    Point 3 is a definite- I see it increasing constantly!

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