Does Your Website Include a Spam Magnet?
Some topics are more prone to spam than others. Respectable companies working with these topics have some disadvantages: they find it harder to get links, easier to get slapped with penalties, slower to increase page rank, and much quicker to get trapped by spam filters.What’s more, your website will act like a spam magnet, drawing spam comments in even larger numbers than the rest of us experience.
If you work in one of these areas — nutritional supplements, for example, or bankruptcy law — then you know what I’m talking about.
Even if you don’t work in one of these fields, you can inadvertently create a spam magnet on your website. And if you do work in one of those areas, you can reduce the spam magnet tendencies.
I was reminded of this when I was writing a blog post for one of our clients, a doctor. The post was researched, written, polished, and ready to post except for the picture. In a hurry to get to a meeting, I quickly grabbed a stock image that seemed appropriate for my subject — low blood sugar.I had just been writing about the symptoms of hypoglycemia, including headaches and anxiety, and I thought the man in the photo looked like he might be suffering from that.
You can see the screenshot of the blog post above. What you can’t see in the screenshot is the title of the image: “financial crisis.” The shot below shows the HTML — the computer language — for the blog post, with the title of the photo circled.
Spam comments don’t generally come from human beings. They usually come from computer robots — or at best from human beings using automatic tools. Those tools were tracking down blog posts allowing comments which contained phrases like “financial crisis.” The title of a photo in your blog post isn’t usually visible on the screen, but it shows up to search engines and other robots.
When I saw lots of spam comments showing up on this post, I went back and discovered my error. It’s easy to correct it, and since I keep good track of the blog, it was corrected quickly.
If you’re not keeping track of your website, you might have spam magnets all over your website, infested (to mix metaphors) with spam.Not only does that encourage more spam, but it can also make your website look spammy to the search engines — even if it isn’t.
What should you do about this?
- Avoid it as much as possible by keeping spam magnet phrases out of your website. If you own a completely respectable shoe store and you want to offer a great sale on winter footwear, make sure you don’t use the phrase “cheap Ugg boots.” If you watch for that already in your own writing, be sure to check areas you don’t control, like the titles of stock photos or meta keywords added by your designer.
- Look for spam magnets. When, as in this case, it’s on a blog post, you’ll notice high levels of spam comments there and then you can inspect its code and find the problem. Check the code of your home page, too, if you think you may have a problem. Clean them up as soon as you find them.
A questionable phrase somewhere on your website and a spam comment or two won’t undermine all your SEO efforts. If the problem expands, though — and with a spam magnet, it can — you can have real problems. Track ‘em down and clean ‘em up.