Social media has been a great gift to marketing: it’s now easier than ever for customers and users to engage with brands and vice-versa. But heightened accessibility between brand and user is a double-edged sword, as spammers can piggyback off your content by posting unwanted links and spam in your comments.
It goes without saying that such comments can hinder your brand’s reputation and the overall health of the community you’re trying to foster. This means it’s essential that you devise a strategy to remove spam to keep your brand’s integrity.
Remove Spam or Sacrifice SEO
Comments left by users can influence your overall SEO, for good or ill. Essentially, an active community sharing useful information with one another indicates a high-quality website to users, as well as Google. Google will look at your comments in conjunction with the content your site provides; if users are providing their own valuable content in response to your posts, it helps your website’s quality overall. Even more, an active community encourages new users to jump in and contribute as well.
Google may sometimes even feature user-generated comments directly within its search results, which means especially good comments can entice users to check out your website. Therefore, you should cultivate your community to provide these beneficial, insightful comments—which means deleting spam as it appears.
Just as a comment section can help a website’s SEO, a spam-saturated section can demote or even remove your page from Google’s search results. One way to deal with unwanted links is to use nofollow tags. Nofollow tags tell Google not to follow certain links—ie, unwanted links left in your comments—which means they won’t contribute to your site’s PageRank. This also means you aren’t letting the link targets take advantage of your website’s standing through backlinks. But while nofollow tags are a great safeguard to protect your SEO from spammers, they won’t remove spam or keep it from being posted.
Stopping Spam Doesn’t Mean Sacrificing Community
Many community managers and content producers will close and do away with comment sections completely. This nuclear option is not the right solution! As we’ve explained above, comments can be a great boon to your website’s SEO, and fostering community will help users feel involved and keep in touch with your brand. While it may seem tough at first to remove ads, links and unwanted comments, it’s not worth sacrificing your entire community to do so. Closing your brand from comments can also lead to distrust from users who may feel as though you’re actively censoring against criticism.
Some websites and brands won’t publish individual comments until they’ve been approved by a moderator. This may seem like a good solution to stop spam (and it’s one you’ll find on many sites), but it has two big problems. First, requiring approval slows down and stifles discussion in your comments section; by the time a user’s comment has been approved and responses have been published, they’ve long left the page. Second, a lot of time is wasted by employing someone to read through every comment to ensure they meet community guidelines.
One great step in the right direction is to empower your community to self-moderate. Allow readers to upvote or downvote comments to reflect their contribution to the overall discussion. You can also allow users to flag specific comments as spam or abuse. Be careful, though: while these systems are effective, they can also be abused by trolls or users with an agenda.
But remember, doing nothing isn’t an option, either: spam and abusive language can only deter users from commenting and interacting with your brand. So what’s a community manager to do?
Remove Spam the Smart Way
The unfortunate truth is that spam isn’t ever going to stop—every time you remove ads, links and other unwanted posts from your comments, new ones will emerge somewhere down the line. If it seems like removing persistent spam is too much for a single person (or a small team of people) to deal with, that’s because it often is.
Thankfully, many social media and blogging platforms have smart moderation tools that help you stop ads and spam automatically. Smart Moderation is an award-winning service that goes one step beyond by using AI to remove any unwanted comment within just one minute of posting, which means you can remove ads, profanity, spam and more 24 hours a day, seven days a week—without having to do any extra work on your part. Rather than your having to generate blacklists, Smart Moderation learns and adapts to your needs organically.
Simple and automatic spam removal allows you to ensure a safe space for users to discuss your brand or content, and allows you to take the time to focus on and engage with the discussion that happens around it. Give Smart Moderation a try and see for yourself how fast it works to delete spam—your readers and customers will thank you for it!
Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.