Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Cheryl L Yancey on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, May 24, 2018).

Baclinks in comment section

I`m getting a lot of comments on one of the sites I monitor. It`s a small business site with a blog. The comments are all coherent, well phrased English, and relevant to the topic. However ALL of them have URL`s that are related to the blog`s niche. (For example... let`s say it`s a website/blog about plumbing. So all the commenters list their website as some plumbing company - always out of the original site`s service area - in the URL field when signing up to comment. Many of them leave legit emails as well, because their Gravitars show up.
I`m currently using the standard WP commenting system, which asks for a name, email and optional URL. Any of the comments that are blatant and damaging spam are dealt with by either a spam plugin or manually (by me).
So it`s pretty obvious the commenters are using the comment section on the site I`m monitoring to build links back to their website(s).
What do you do when this happens to your website? I`m not sure of the etiquette or best-practices for how to handle this. From an outsider`s perspective, the comments don`t look bad... but I`m second-guessing what I should be doing with these comments.

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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions G+ community.

  • Alan Bleiweiss: If a comment is a valid comment, as a stand-alone entity in response to a blog post, and offers value to the topic discussion, I remove the URL and approve it, unless even the "name" is bullshit keywords. In that scenario, or if the comment is bullshit, I delete it entirely. If I see a pattern to comments, I mark them as spam.
  • Cheryl L Yancey: Thanks Alan. That`s what I typically do, but I was a bit concerned that I was breaking some kind of best-practices or SEO etiquette or something.
  • Jim Munro: Welcome Cheryl. :) We don`t normally run polls here as most of the people you really want to hear from won`t use them but, since you`ve obviously put so much effort into this one, it will stay. Next time, please consider asking a standard question. I reckon you`ll get better, more-informative responses.
  • Cheryl L Yancey: Thanks for the feedback. I don`t usually post polls, but I thought that, in this case, it would show that I`ve done my homework on action items. I don`t like to show up to a group like this and appear to have not done some footwork first. (Guess I forgot the group-etiquette part in this case though!) Sorry for the inconvenience, but I appreciate you letting the poll stay. I`ll keep this in mind for next time. :)
  • Rebecca Lehmann: 1) If you can disable links in comments, do it.2) I voted delete, but I totally get why you might want to keep the comments themselves on a smaller site, UGC done right can be a good thing. Personally, I figure if they`re only in it for the link, then it doesn`t matter how well written it is, they aren`t actually there to contribute, so fuck `em. I see no reason to give my time to spammers.
  • Rob Woods: I second this. For almost all sites, unless the comments are truly people interacting and helping each other, asking legit questions about the content, etc. moderating comments isn`t worth the time it takes. If you are building a community and can moderate like say Moz, comments are great. If all you are doing is publishing content and not building a community, I say turn them off.
  • Randy Milanovic: I pretty much delete any link spam. There can be legit links though.

View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, Thursday, May 24, 2018).

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