What is comment spam?
Comments are integral part of any blog.It makes your blog interactive.Visitors can share their views about your blog.You can reply to their queries.This noble task is misused by few people commonly referred as comment spammer.
Comment spammers use bots to leave comment on your website.The comments are not relevant to your post content.They embed links to their website or offensive content in their comments.Such comments are known as spam comments.
Reason of comment spam
Links have dominated search engine algorithm for long.They were very important factor in initial days and still are important factor.Links from different sites to your website does help you in search engine ranking.This was one of the driving force behind comment spam.
People use bots to leave comments on your website and in turn hope to get link back from your website.Many webmasters in their initial period unaware of this also try to manually leave spam comments on your website.
Comment Spam, SEO , User experience
Every webmaster should stop comment spam on their website.Comment spam can be very dangerous for your website.It impacts your website SEO and user experience.It lessens value of your website on whole.
Impact on SEO
As we discussed above spam comments have links embedded in them.Links can point to bad website.Bad website word is used to denote sites with offensive content.Nowadays most links in comments are nofollow links by default.WordPress adds nofollow to all links in comment section.
But despite adding nofollow to these links it is on safer site to remove these links from your website.Google may not like these links on your website and in turn punish your website.Linking to bad sites is one of the worst thing in eyes of search engines.
Impact on visitors
Apart from SEO it also hampers your visitor experience.Good commentators on your website might get turned off seeing offensive and meaningless comments on your website.This gives them impression that this website is not moderated.This does hampers your chances of getting social media shares and likes.It also hampers your chances of getting subscription and adding them to your Facebook fan page or Twitter.
WordPress comment spam plugins
WordPress has rich store of comment spam plugin.These plugins also help you protect your website from trackback plugin.Most of the plugins are free and can downloaded from WordPress.org.I have tried few of them on my site.I will be evaluating WordPress comment spam plugin based on below parameters
- Ease of use and configuration
- User experience (your visitor)
- Impact on load time of website (JS and CSS file loaded by plugin)
- Efficiency of plugin in handling spam
- Impact on database on your website
Below is comparison of WordPress comment spam plugins based on my experience with them.You can find the comparison table at end of post.
Akismet is spam control plugin from creator of WordPress.This plugin is installed by default.It is free for personal use but has monthly fees for other uses.I tried this plugin on this very blog for sometime initially.The best part was user does not notice anything.The plugin works in background and does good job indeed.
But some of the spam comments were not caught by this plugin.Also you get huge number of comments in your spam folder.This created an issue if I was on vacation for few days.This was the reason I thought to replace this plugin and look for an alternative.
Spam free WordPress
Spam free WordPress was second plugin I tried on this website.There were two reasons for trying this plugin.First it was downloaded quite lot number of times.Second author claims 100% automatic spam blocks with zero false positive.
This plugin does work well.But there is some issues with it.You often have to customize your theme file to make it work.I can recall modifying Wptouch plugin theme files to make it work with this plugin.I do not know if same incompatibility issues are still there.
The good thing about it is your spam folder will not have lots of entries as in case with Akismet.
This was the third plugin tried by me.I liked this plugin due to below reasons
- You can do spam checks on login form.It helps you safeguard your login form.
- It is simple to configure.No key is required to activate it as in case with Akismet.
- It does not present user with tough captcha to solve.Instead ot presents simple mathematical problems.
- Your spam folder will not have large number of entries so you can go to long period vacation.
I used this plugin for quite sometime and is happy with it.The only thing I did not like about it that it loads additional CSS file and images.I have customized the plugin to disable loading of these resources.The plugin worked fine.
It is one plugin which recently caught my attention.The author claims that this plugin is invisible to user.So user does not have to solve problem as in case with Captcha plugin.The best things about this plugin is
- No comments in spam folder.
- User does not have to solve any maths or captcha to post their comments.
Other Captcha based plugins
I am not in favor of using captcha based plugins for spam control.Sometimes visitors are presented with tough captchas to solve and this does turn them off.I myself remembered not going for comment after failing to solve captcha once.
|Parameters||Akismet||Spam free WordPress||Captcha||Anti Spam|
|Ease of configuration||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|User experience||Yes||No||not much||Yes|
|Impact on load time||Yes but on server||not much||no (easy customization)||Yes|
|Efficiency of plugin||Good||Good||Good||Good|
|Impact on database||Yes||No||No||No|
I am currently using Captcha plugin (third number in above list).It is math based simple captcha and does blocks spams efficiently.It also does not load any CSS file or JS file (needs customization) it also helps in page load time.I really do not like loading excess resources unless it is very important.
Which WordPress plugin you are using for spam control? Feel free to share your views and this post.