If you are trying to figure out how to get rid of spam comments on WordPress, it may be useful to get a clear idea about the comment element first. A blog post is usually carefully optimized for search engines. Comments disrupt that optimization. And yet, hardly any blogger would want to get rid of this valuable element of social interaction. In other words, bloggers prefer reader feedback even at the cost of SEO. It is especially unfortunate then, that comments are so frequently abused by spammers.
Spam comments are mostly created by bots, and they do not always distinguish between dofollow and nofollow blogs. Even if you have restricted dofollow links in the comments section, you will still have dozens, even hundreds of spam comments. These may not benefit spammers in terms of backlinks, but they sure will create a mess on your post page, both in terms of SEO, and how the page appears to your viewers.
There are broadly two categories of spam which are both shown as ‘comments’ on WordPress posts: ones that are made through the comment form, and those that are created through trackback and pingback. In case of the comment form, the problem is complicated by the fact that the usual methods of captcha and image verification will not stop human spammers. They do not invariably stop sophisticated bots either. The good news is that with some manual tweaking and at least one plug-in installed, the number of spam comments may be reduced drastically if not eliminated altogether.
How to stop trackback spam on WordPress
The first method is simple and uses the WordPress Dashboard. Go to Settings > Discussion and when you are on the Discussion Settings page, view the options under ‘Default article settings’ and uncheck ‘Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks.) ‘. The only problem with this method is that you still have old posts that are vulnerable. You have to disable trackback on every single one of them now, and that may not be practicable if you have too many posts.
The second method requires you to log into your Cpanel. Usually, the url is yourwebsite.com/cpanel. Once you are there, go to phpMyadmin, open the database of your site / blog and on the tab that shows ‘SQL’, run the following query: ‘UPDATE *posts SET ping_status=”closed”; – where the asterisk represents the prefix of your blog database. The usual prefix is ‘wp_’. This takes care of trackback spam once and for all.
How to get rid of spam comments on WordPress using Discussion Settings
1. You can always stop people from commenting after a certain period of time. However, this is not recommended because it does not address the issue while commenting is still enabled, and you miss out on the chance that a new and lively discussion might begin on an old post.
2. The number of links in comments may be restricted since spammers will always use links; – not a foolproof option and you will have to manually moderate, but it gets some results.
3. Another useful measure is to check the option that says, before a comment is published, a ‘Comment author must have a previously approved comment ‘. Again, this requires manual checking on your part with regard to the first approved comment of every user.
4. You could blacklist certain keywords so that comments with such keywords will be treated as spam. You can also blacklist IP address, email and URL if you wish. This works, but requires a lot of effort on your part.
5. Probably the best option is to enable comments only after registration with name and email. There are various plug-ins available to ensure validity of emails while registration or to enable logging in with Social ID providers such as Facebook and Twitter. This not only removes spam (spammers are less likely to register or log in) but gains you either an email list or a certain degree of social media exposure as well.
Finally, there are plug-ins to stop spam, and they work equally well with human and mechanical spammers. Of these, Akismet is probably the best known. With Akismet, all you have to do is install the plug-in following the instructions, and update when there is an update notification. If you adopt at least some of these steps (which should include Akismet installation), hopefully, you will have learned how to get rid of spam comments in WordPress, and ensured a better blogging experience for yourself and your readers.
Kevin Michaels is an online manager for Right Lawyers – who are experienced in family law legal definitions. He is passionate about studying online marketing industry and sharing informative tips.