Blogging Tips / Comments and commenting / PageRank / Search engine optimization / search engine rankings

Bloggers Clean Up Your Comments

berryHow do you feel about self serving fakes and pretenders online, who employ opportunistic means to drive traffic to their blog?

How does approving and posting their comments on your site affect it?

Comments that reveal the motivation for submitting them is driving traffic back to the commenters’ own sites are comments that aren’t worthy of your approval. Approving dumb comments and/or hollow no value comments and or pingback and trackback spam makes you look like dumb blogger, because doing so

  • devalues your authority in your niche;
  • devalues your site content;
  • devalues your site’s ranking in the SERPs (search engine page results).

Rule of thumb: Moderate comments. Delete hollow comments that make you and your look dumb and mark only spam as spam.

Read also: Trackback and Pingback Spam: What to do?

Blogging tip: Set aside 20 minutes every week to “clean-up” your comments in older posts. Start deleting dumb, no-value and low-value comments, and pingback and trackback spam by working forward from your earliest published post to your most recently published post.

See here for more Blogs are About Comments and Commenting.

65 thoughts on “Bloggers Clean Up Your Comments

  1. timethief … I hope you’re feeling much better now. It’s always comforting to see your posts. I didn’t realize ping backs were a problem. I will go back and check those. Also, I’ll look for any ‘hollow’ comments. I really think that Akismet – and me – have rooted out any spammers. Did you say not to delete the spam and let Akismet take care of it? Or, were you only referring to spam that Akismet did not catch – that should be marked as spam and left to perish on its own in the spam file.

    BTW, I did succeed in getting two blog followers removed from my blog. Their photos and/or blog names were quite ‘unseemly’ and I explained to WordPress that I had a family blog. They were taken care of. ;-)

    • Aksimet is a learning engine. If you get spam that slips by Akismet then mark it as spam (do not delete it) and over time Akismet will learn it’s spam. On the spam that Akismet catches on it takes only seconds to click “empty spam” and you don’t even have to click “empty spam” if you don’t want to. Akismet will maintain comments it has caught for 30 days from the time they were received, and then it will delete the comment automatically.

  2. Did you realize that if you stare into that coffee cup (your new header) long enough, you can actually smell the coffee?? No? It’s just me? I see… : )

    Great to see a post on this subject. Yes, when we first start blogging, we’re so hungry for comments, we’re ready to approve most anything. Then one day, we see the junk, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. There is an element of humor in the misspellings and bad grammar, but it’s humor I can live without!! : )

  3. I always laugh when I read some blogs and see the comments that look like they were written by a computer or someone who doesn’t speak English. Why do bloggers approve these comments? I’ve even seen them respond to some of them.

    I just moved my blog to a new domain, self hosted etc. I’m going through over 500 posts to edit and apply all I’ve learned over the past two years. I think I’ve weeded out the spammers, but will check again as I go through my process.

    Hope you are feeling better.

  4. As a new blogger I really appreciated this post. I have been reading blogs I comment on but I have not been paying attention to how my comment and language I choose to use may help or hinder another blogger’s efforts. To be frank, it didn’t occur to me that commenting was a way to increase my own traffic. I have been just trying to see what other people have done with their sites. :) Thanks, again!

    • Hi Terri,
      Thanks for your comment. Blogging effectively involves a steep learning curve. Many new bloggers aren’t aware of the machinations some will employ to get traffic back to their blogs. There are like button spammers who have commercial sites and as they have a Gravatar account they are free to click the like buttons on our posts to get traffic back to their sites. There are pingback and trackback spammers and there are those who submit hollow comments for the same purpose. There are link droppers too. Learning how to sort the authentic comments from the bogus ones takes time. That’s why it’s not surprising to find that in our early days we may have approved some so-called comments that ought to be trashed or sent to spam.

  5. Good reminder. I do moderate all comments, only way I’ve found to control what’s coming through – that and going into dashboard and deleting spam.

    • Hi Mary,
      I think you mean that you mark spam Akismet misses as spam. Deleting spam is not a good thing to do. Mark any spam Akismet misses as spam so Akismet learns to sequester it. If you delete it then Akismet learns nothing.

  6. I’m not a fan of hollow comments. And, as you well know, I do encourage discussion and thoughtful comments. I don’t care if it goes off topic either, it’s what makes blogging with wordpress so interesting. Akismet clears 99% of the rubbish, both spam and hollow comments, so I don’t feel the need for moderation. Anything Akismet feels is borderline gets marked for approval aka usually dumped.

    I check out blogs of new commenters to see who or what they are, and try and work out why they landed. If they are relatively innocent, they get a thank you. They don’t come back usually.

    I’ve taken some comments off when one particular person has started arguing and throwing insults. Thoughtless insulting arguments make your blog look bad too and prevent other people commenting. I don’t care that I’m not encouraging free speech and indulging in censorship, that’s the nature of blogging. I do care that commenters n my blog feel free to express their opinion, preferably based remotely on a little knowledge, but they shouldn’t have to read a playground spat.

    • Hi there,
      I find that Akismet works very well when it comes to apprehending and sequestering spam. Your point on how approving thoughtless and insulting comments also makes a blogger look dumb and their blog look bad is an excellent one. Like you I’m a fierce defender of freedom of speech and I stand against censorship, however, personal attacks are not acceptable and I will not approve such comments. I send them to the trash and I’m clear about that in my commenting policy Anyone who cannot passionately defend their position without stooping to attacking others isn’t a welcome member of my blogging community.

  7. Thank you for confirming that selecting the moderation option was the right one. So far, Askimet has done a great job for me, and only let 2 spam comments through, which I picked up. I have had wonderful conversations (yes, I do mean conversations) with other bloggers, that have had interesting meanders, either through their commenting on my blog, or me on theirs.

    • Hi Fiona,
      I`m happy to read that you are doing well when it comes to participating in great conversations. wouldn`t dream of not moderating comments. I didn`t when I first began a decade ago but I got smart very quickly.

    • Hi Don,
      Thanks. I’m okay but I have to be watchful. I have to do a whole lot less than what I’m used to taking on. The transition has been “bumpy”. I’m fighting off depression by recognizing that it’s rooted in ego driven angry why me feelings. Ugh! And, I`m doing things I truly like to do to lift my spirits.

  8. Hmm.. I’m sometimes not sure how to respond to short comments that are the equivalent of “good post”. I know that there are times where I read something great but have nothing to add, but just feel the urge to congratulate the blogger, but I guess that’s what likes are for.

    • Hi Issac,
      I have always struggled with being “conversational”. I visit many blogs like your own , I read what bright minds have produced and I have noting to add. My like on a like button means I truly appreciated not only the post content but the thoughtfulness that led to the creation and publication of the post.

      P.S. I am an Ursula Le Guin fan and have enjoyed reading your posts. Like you I select The Dispossessed as one of my favourite novels of all time.

      • Yes, I use the like feature with a similar mindset – to offer it as a sincere token of thanks for thoughtful work.

        Always good to discover another Le Guin fan. Thank you for reading!

        P.S – Really like your site’s colour scheme and header. Works well.

    • You`re right Chris. I have found myself snorting and chuckling at some of them, but normally I can detect opportunistic pseudo-comments by usernames and just the first sentence and they are gone.

  9. Very interesting post. Just this week I noticed some spammy comments that Akismet didn’t catch. But I’ve never considered “hollow comments.” Actually, though, now that I think about it, I did have one of those a few weeks ago. I never approved it … It just felt wrong to do so. Eventually I trashed it. Glad I made the right call.

  10. I hadn’t thought about going back to the beginning (7 years ago) and deleting spammy comments. It’s not like I didn’t carefully read every one, but I ‘m sure there was a time when I fell for some fake compliments because any comment or visitor was welcome.

    • Hi there,
      Going back and taking a close look at post content and comment content is quite a revelatory experience. I cringed when I saw some mistakes I made way back when in both the text in posts and in the comments I had approved.

  11. Interesting post. I didn’t understand what was going on at first and was flattered that someone was commenting on my blog but through my association with you and your blog I got savvy. I can spot a bogus comment now from 500 yards and I don’t acknowledge them. I think the language is computer generated? but at first I just thought it was a new friend with limited English. English is of course not everyone’s first language and having had a go at Japanese myself when I traveled in Japan, I REALLY applaud anyone who has a go at another language. I hope you feel well dear Timethief and” Anata ni kōun” (good luck) :-D <3

    • Hello there,
      It`s so good to hear from you always. We all began in the dark (so to speak) and then learned when other experienced bloggers shone the light for us.

    • Hi there,
      I feel so bad when I cannot reply to comments at the time I approve them. My time is in high demand at this time of year and now I have medical appointments to keep too. Whenever I get behind I try to forgive myself because I have enough stress already, without creating the kind of angst that comes from feeling guilty about resting when I need to rest.

  12. Since I have comment moderation enabled, they never make it through in the first place…I always hit the spam button. I just wish there was a way to do the same thing with followers! It was never a problem until I was freshly pressed, and then suddenly every spam site starts following. I sure wish I could dis-follow my fake followers!

  13. Right from the beginning, I’ve consigned the sort of comment to which you refer to oblivion. It’s not like they’re hard to spot – in general the praise is far too fulsome and usually entirely irrelevant, indicating that they haven’t even read the post they’re “commenting” on.

    Their aim is simply to get their own blog or website in front of a new audience.

    Having said that, I got two just today which were utterly devoid of meaning – written in English but for all the sense they made might as well have been in a foreign language. They didn’t even have links to the senders’ blogs/websites. They were still dumped.

  14. I get your point TT. I try not to comment these days unless I understand the topic and have a genuine opinion (right or wrong) to contribute. My pet peeve, though is when I find I have collected another follower but don’t know what it is that the follower likes about my blog as not a single comment has been made. I don’t think you can delete followers.

  15. Glad to see you are posting again. Nothing drives me away faster than a blog that has spam comments (I also like a blog to have some form of an About page so I can quickly get their drift). Askimet does a decent job but one or two a week get through the spam filter and I have to flag them.

    One of the many things I learned from you is that on a good blog the comments/responses can be as interesting as the original post that generated them.

  16. I’m very lucky, in that all my comments are quite nice and I appreciate them all. I get the very odd one with a ping-back and I can tell they haven’t even read the post. Is this is more of a problem for ‘big bloggers’ as I call them?! ;)
    Hope you’re doing well :)

  17. I tend to make fun of them . . . an opportunity to flex my writing muscles, work on the art of the put-down, and if especially egregious, really derailing their intent.

    But . . . yeah, it’s annoying getting comments whose sole purpose is to advertise a product, service, or site. I typically edit the URL to something else.

    On the other hand, I don’t get that many comments, so I’m happy to interact with nearly everyone (only ever had one nasty troll).

    • Hi there,
      I apologize for the delayed response. It`s another medical testing week for me.

      I don`t choose to approve comments from opportunists advertising their wares or services for sale. I trash them but if you think your approach does not have any negative effects on your site then carry on.

      • Sorry to hear about the continued tests. May the outcome match the best expectations.

        As for the comments, it’s a game. I take the opportunity to write responses that are humorous and entertaining, and I’ve gotten positive comments about them. I do trash them if they do not provide the opportunity for merriment.

        As for negative effects, there are very few people who read all the comments. I know this because I do read most of the comments on the sites I subscribe to, and it is obvious few people do (for example, they repeat questions that were already answered in another comment).

        It’s a little different on helpful sites like yours, as people are more likely to comb through responses for additional information. On this and similar sites the comments are a more integral part of the browsing experience, and they hence get more eyes on them.

        If my blog ever gets as popular as yours, first I will go nuts, and then be more rigid in my comment policy. I might even have to come up with one.

        • By the way, there is no need to answer my comments. I know it’s an effort, and most of my stuff is fluff.

          There are other more serious comments that deserve your attention. I will not be offended or taken aback in the least if mine are treated with the same casualness in which they were offered.

        • @ Disperser

          Don’t forget if people have comment mod on, then a commenter may well make the same point as someone else, because the previous one hasn’t been published. It doesn’t mean they haven’t read it, it may not have been there to read.

          TT and I agree on many things, but comment mod drives me up the wall! But I respect those who choose it, however as mine is a discussion blog, people do read the preceding comments and chat away. Comment mod doesn’t work for that.

          Off topic: I loved your header and your blog and your views :) I figured we wouldn’t get along though. The gun thing, you know…

          • @roughseasinthemed
            You are a right about my position on comment moderation. I do not provide a blog for the purposes of allowing others to engage in any off topic rambling. I provide a blog for the purpose of encouraging only on topic discussions because off topic rambling on my blog and in my offline drives me up the wall. You are free to click over to disperser’s blog and get into an off topic ramble there if you’d like to, and that’s what I am now inviting you to do now in the most kindly way possible.

            What follows is being said in a kindly way. I like you and I like roughseasinthemed too, but I do want any lengthy off topic comment exchanges at all on my blog so I won’t continue approving any.

          • Do as I say and not as I do?

            The problem with policies is that few people read them. Or they forget them. I hope this is sufficiently on topic.

            I am happy with off topic, you are not. Although it then begs the question, how do I say I like your new theme, I hope you are better? Or don’t I?

            Maybe a line about no off-topic discussion or between other commenters may be helpful?

          • Do as I say and not as I do?

            A brief off topic I like your new theme comment is okay but this lengthy exchange I participated in here made me uncomfortable.

            Maybe a line about no off-topic discussion or between other commenters may be helpful?

            That’s a good idea. I’ll think about how to address that. Maybe every time I make a theme change I can publish a post solely dedicated to gaining reader response to the change.

Comments are closed.