Anyone who has been around the web for a while will have seen the rise in Web2.0 style sites with user generated content. This concept is a superb arrangement for all parties as the site owner gets free content, and the writer gets a platform to air their views. Everything in the garden is rosy, until the big old spammer arrives with his dirty tricks.
If it wasn’t for Akismet and my manual editing of comments here on this blog, many of my readers would have bigger appendages ‘down below’ shiny new watches(shiny for a while), a cupboard full of triangular blue pills, and would be corresponding with a 5’4 blonde beauty from Russia who is really 44 years of age and called Malcolm and living in Hull. Oh and they would also be planning on moving to Russia to live with Malcolm (AKA the blonde beauty) as soon as they get their money from the Nigerian dead oil minister deal and their Internet Lottery winnings (best £5000 they ever spent).
OK back to the real world. Google have just published a beginners post dealing with spam, but as ever there are a couple of Easter eggs in the content.
Google start off with their usual (fallen deaf ears) statement of how it spoils the we b:-
FACT: Abusing comment fields of innocent sites is a bad and risky way of getting links to your site. If you choose to do so, you are tarnishing other people’s hard work and lowering the quality of the web, transforming a potentially good resource of additional information into a list of nonsense keywords.
After this little white hat warning however, Google start hinting at some deeper stuff. with this statement:-
If you used this approach in the past and you want to solve this issue, you should have a look at your incoming links in Webmaster Tools. To do so, go to the Your site on the web section and click on Links to your site. If you see suspicious links coming from blogs or other platforms allowing comments, you should check these URLs. If you see a spammy link you created, try to delete it, else contact the webmaster to ask to remove the link. Once you’ve cleared the spammy inbound links you made, you can file a reconsideration request.
The bit in red is my addition, but hey, get what it is saying right there. if your site has spammy links, then it might have been penalised? I mean if not, then why the recommendation to file a reconsideration, UNLESS of course Google consider these links to be a potential to harm a site. This re-enforces something that many of us have been saying for quite a while, and that is the spurious ‘almost nothing a competitor can do to harm your rankings’ in the Google webmaster advice area.
Almost Nothing = Something
The above statement is the way I and others have always read things. if there is almost nothing a competitor can do to hurt you, then by default there has to be something! This has been known as Google Bowling to SEO’s, whereby you bowl your competition over by wrecking their ‘link graph’ (as google refer to it in their article), I prefer to call it a link profile or link footprint as to me that makes more sense.
Comment spam is a PITA, it ruins everything that is good about the web, but it makes people rich, and once again we see what appears to be babies going down the water shoot with some hot soapy water thanks to the google algorithm struggling to cope with abuse of their citation based algorithm.
Question now is how can we ensure it is not OUR babies that get flushed away?