If you are a blogger and have been for any time, you know how it is to get spam in your comments section. What is the point to the spam and what exactly do they get out of it?
Well, one benefit a spammer gets is “link juice.” In other words, the more your site is linked to on other sites, the more “important” it seems in Google’s eyes. Everyone wants to be important to one of the most popular search engines on the Internet, right?
Well, spammers know and understand this principle and will spam as many sites as possible by putting links to their sites in comment sections on blogs all over the Internet. That was of course until Google came up with the “nofollow” attribute. Now, putting just a tiny bit of code in each link will eliminate any kind of benefit the link would have won in Google’s eyes.
Now WordPress has the “nofollow” attribute automatically inserted into every user generated link (ie. in comment sections, etc.). Has this totally stopped comment spam? No. It has at least taken some of the appeal out of spamming though. A spammer still likes his links in comment sections in case they’ll be clicked, but the Google “juice” is out of the picture.
The issue then comes in when you have actual people commenting on your blog without gaining any authority with Google for the links back to their sites. I already wrote about CommentLuv as a way to encourage commenting on your blog. What if you could also offer some Google “juice” to encourage commenting even more? BUT if you get rid of the “nofollow” attribute you’re opening yourself up to all kinds of spam. Well, this was true until Lucia’s Linky Love came along.
Lucia’s Linky Love does a service by making the first comments by a visitor “nofollow” BUT after commenting a specific number of times they become “dofollow”. In other words, a passing spammer won’t get any love, but a repeat commenter, which is WAY more likely to be a real person and regular reader, WILL get the love.
Let’s take a look at the features according to the:
- “Encourages good comments” – You can set how many comments a visitor needs to post before removing the “dofollow” attribute. This encourages repeat visits AND more comments by actual readers.
- “Encourages links” – Trackbacks and pingbacks will also be rewarded with “dofollow” links (links with the “nofollow” attribute removed) after a certain number of links to your blog.
- “Gives peace of mind” – If the post if older than 14 days, links will NOT be “dofollow” saving you from having to worry about “link farms” when you’re not paying attention.
- “Thwarts overly aggressive SEO types” – Have you ever seen comments from people claiming their name is something similar to “cashmere dog sweaters”? They are looking for keyword juice making searches for keywords in their niche to turn up with their site higher in the results, a classic SEO technique. Well, you can have Linky Love hold back the juice from over zealous SEO types.
- “Gives you more control over dofollow / nofollow options” – Want to allow the comment but not the “dofollow” love? Linky Love gives more options you can implement on comments giving the control to you.
In Summary, We Have Two Opposing Options – Nofollow & Dofollow:
1. Nofollow – Gives comment spammers one less reason to bombard your blog with comment spam. However, real readers don’t get the link juice they deserve.
2. Dofollow – Your faithful and wonderfully loved regular readers not only get to share their input in your comment sections, but they also get some Google juice when their blogs are linked to from within the comments. However, spammers ALSO like the link juice and will take full advantage.
BUT – there IS a third option!
3. Lucia’s Linky Love WordPress plugin – Block the link juice for the one-timers (spammers, etc.) but let it flow for repeat visitors when they regularly comment. Can you guess what my choice would be?
NOTE: The developer may not be keeping this plugin up so if issues arise you may have to deal with them yourself.
What do you think? Does the “nofollow” attribute really still matter today? If it does, what do you do about the issue? Have you tried Lucia’s Linky Love yet?