Attention to comment spam on your website

Google considers many factors when crawling your website. Even spam in comments – like Mozilla has learned the hard way...

Mozilla is a community of developers who, together with the support of Google, released several projects, among which the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird e-mail client, and more recently also the Firefox OS for smartphones. So, one might imagine that the Mozilla website is totally clean, also in the eyes of Google. And yet, the site received a manual penalty from Google. As a matter of fact, last week, the web production manager at the Mozilla.org website received a message from Google’s Quality Search Team, reporting that user generated spam had been discovered on the site and that, as a consequence, the site was hit with a manual spam penalty.

The website administrators have been troubled for a while. For them, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the site, so how could it contain spam? Eventually, it appeared that the problem was caused by the subsites that contain information on the extensions and add-ons for the Firefox browser. These subpages often come in the form of blogs, and apparently, some administrators of these blogs had ignored spam in comments. Google however, with its busy little spiders, did not disregard such spam, and penalised Mozilla straight away.

So, this is a warning to all webmasters. Because if Google hits a site such as Mozilla, which gives the impression of being flawless, it means that they will definitely not hesitate to penalise your site too, if necessary. So here’s one good piece of advice: pay attention to the comments published on your website, and make sure that you delete all the spam! For this, you can use a filter, but most importantly: let someone manage this filter and monitor comments!

In addition, in order to keep comments spam-free, you can have your visitors help you, e.g. by giving them the opportunity to mark unsolicited content or spam as such. In conclusion, you can also use “rel=nofollow” in your hyperlinks so as to inform search engines that you are not responsible for the links contained in the comments posted on your site.