Getting loads of comments on a blog, or on any webpage can be gold for a business.
It shows people are showing up to your website ready to engage with your content.
Having more engaged users means you’ll get more links to your site as other people try and direct their network to your content, with means you’ll get more traffic and, with the right traffic, will make more sales or generate more leads.
But website comments can be a double edged sword, and as helpful as the right kind of engaged comments can be, spam comments can do just as much damage.
Especially when spam comments contain damaging links that will hurt your SEO.
A spam link is any link to your page that is irrelevant, points to or from a trashy website and has ill-fitted anchor text.
Basically you don’t want them.
But managing comments on a webpage can be a full time job if you don’t have a bit of help.
Luckily, WordPress comes with a few built in tools that can help, namely the Akismet plugin, which comes preinstalled on your WordPress website and is designed to help you fight off spam comments.
There are a few other ways you can manage spam comments to help preserve the quality of comments on your pages:
In settings on your WordPress dashboard, go to Discussion and you’ll see an option called Before a comment appears.
Under this tag, are two boxes which allow comments to be approved manually before appearing on your website (although remember this means you’ll have to have someone dedicated to this task).
The other option is to create a “previously approved” list, which means anyone whose comments have been previously approved by you or a moderator, will appear automatically without you having to approve them everytime.
Just be sure you’re comfortable with this.
Use reCAPTCHA verification
You’ll probably have seen those boxes that appear when you’re doing something on a website asking you to verify your name and asking if you’re a robot or not.
These are known as reCAPTCHA, and are used to stop spam bots from flooding websites with comments or action that will slow it down or damage it’s search potential.
If you’re worried about spam bots, you can download a reCAPTCHA plugin from WordPress.
Remove URL and HTML in comments
If you’re worried about spam links appearing in comments then you can remove the URL or HTML tab from comments.
This won’t stop people commenting, and there is a chance they post a link directly into their comment, but it will remove the need for a URL or link before someone can comment.
Turn comments off for old posts
One thing some people will do when trying to spam your website, is wait for a comment to get past a certain published time, and then comment on it.
The logic is, as you move onto new posts, you’re paying less attention to the comments section on older posts and you won’t notice if they spam the comment section of that older post – especially if you haven’t set any limits on moderation.
What you can do, is set a time limit that will stop people adding new comments to posts after a certain period of time – like 30 days, for example.
Turn comments off altogether
The final option, is to remove the ability to add comments for users at all.
When it comes to comments, you should ask yourself how important they are to your website.
Unless you’re a publisher, do you really need people to be able to comment directly on your posts?
Remember, no matter what options you choose you will have to have some responsibility for moderating comments.
If your website becomes known as a place where people regularly spam comments or, worse, make aggressive comments towards other users, you run the risk of significantly damaging your business’ reputation.
Paginating comments on your WordPress website
Having read all the above, you might think comments aren’t worth the trouble.
But having an audience engaged and willing to leave comments is a good thing for your content.
It can help guide what kind of content people like and is popular, so you can create more of it and continue growing your audience.
But again, having lots of comments on a page can slow the page down, which isn’t good for SEO.
Which is why you should paginate your comments, to stop them slowing down your most popular website pages.
Just go to Settings and under the Discussion tab you’ll see an option that allows you to break comments down into a certain number per page.
So, instead of having a single page of 100 comments (which could slow your website down) you can break it down into 2 pages of 50 comments, or 10 pages of 10 comments per page.
Doing this means that each of the “pages” is treated as different pages by search engines when loading the page, so they’re not trying to load as much content in one go.
Which means the pages will load quicker, which will help with your SEO, and user experience.
One thing to note about paginating your comments, is that it is possible (because you’re creating multiple pages) that your original post could be seen as duplicate content – which obviously damages your SEO.
Most SEO plugins that let you paginate the comment section automatically add a canonical tag to your original post (making sure search engines understand that is the page it should be focusing on ranking).
However it’s worth checking on that original page that the canonical tag is set (it’s just a box tick) to make sure everything works and is set up properly.
Get a free SEO audit and start seeing better results
Have you got a WordPress or Ecommerce website and just aren’t seeing the results you want?
Are you lagging behind in the race for search, lost on Page 2 while the competition scoops up your customers?
You can get a free SEO audit of your website direct from one of our SEO consultants.
We’ll deep dive into your website, figure out what you’re doing right and give you a roadmap to fix what isn’t working.
We can even help you fix the problems if you want to partner with us – or fix it yourself if you have the resources.
The audit is free, and there’s no obligation on you to sign anything with us once you’ve got it.
So what do you have to lose?