How To Prevent Comment Spam With Googles No Follow Attribute

By: Danny Wirken

Putting up and maintaining a weblog of your own could be done for free or built into your paid domain site. Either way, whatever you put up on your blog becomes accessible to practically anyone on the World Wide Web. Your blog has the potential to gain many regular followers and once-in-a-while visitors, given that you deliver content that is relevant and interesting, making it an excellent medium for advertisement or promoting products, services, or other websites relevant to its general area of discussion. Thus, it is a reason for companies paying blog owners to publish their ads on their blog sites.

What happens, though, if a certain company or enterprising individual tries to get onto your blog through the comments page with an active link to their site? That's what's called comment spam, and a business enterprise can be the least of your worries when it comes to this underhanded way of getting Google search ranks up. Enterprising entities do this not merely to promote the site to those who access that particular comments page, but more importantly to increase their ranking in search pages to that the site will stay on top of the search return page.

Another version of comment spamming involves a website owner who only copies the content of his or her site from a different website that ranks high on the Google search page. That way, this dishonest site owner doesn't have to work as hard, to promote the site and gain a considerable following. The good news is that, finding out if one's site content has been copied, has become very easy, as copy detection programs can be found online. Now, let's go back to the links problem.

Fortunately for blogs and sites that allow trackbacks and comments from others, Google has announced their development of a way to decrease the occurrence of comment spam. It's a feature known as the "nofollow" attribute, which allows site owners to add an additional attribute in the form rel="follow" to any href code active link. This added part of a href link commands Google spiders to disregard a link that leads outside of the host site. The objective of this new development is to keep those who abuse open Internet sites from reaping the benefits of their misdeed.

While distressed blog owners may rejoice at this good news, some may opt to weigh the pros and cons of this new feature. To a business owner, a positive implication of using the no follow attribute is that, he or she will be able to avoid freeloaders trying to ride on his own site's Google ranking. Google's new tag can offer you an increased control on the effect of a link posted in your site by someone else without your prior permission. This has the potential to increase the possibility of that someone moving on to trying other possibilities that will increase traffic for their website. When issuing comment spam loses its benefit, then the spammer can hopefully try other things that are potentially laden with honesty, for a change.

Also, the new development will help strengthen the notion that bloggers and site moderators must make an effort to ensure that links that lead to their site will not disappoint, and their content are beneficial to the users of that particular site hosting the link. In addition, site owners must try to focus on outstanding and read-worthy content that will have enough impact to the online community that other sites will want to provide a link to their site by their own choice.

Perhaps the only Internet users who will find this new attribute disadvantageous are those who have become accustomed to using comment spam as a means to promote their own site. However, it should instead be a challenge for them in putting up worthwhile content for their site, such that Internet users will be searching for their site by name, and not clicking on its link by accident. For best results, have the service add the nofollow attribute to links that other users themselves created, such as those within their comment, and the link attached to the name of user who wrote the comment. Other areas where the attribute can be used include visitor statistic sections, guestbooks, and referrer lists.

Among the first weblog software creators that signed up for this service are LiveJournal, Blogger, Wordpress, Flickr, and MSN Spaces. Users of these blog services and others need not do anything themselves. The free blog host only needs to keep the attribute version updated to ensure its full effect.

This concept of having better control over outgoing links isn't all new, however. Forward-thinking programmers have been able to devise ways to prevent search engine spiders from detecting outgoing links for quite a while. Yet this new Google tag gives power to the common website owner over his or her site's outgoing links.
Some may have doubts on the effectiveness of this new service. One notion is that this will not be fully efficient unless it becomes a default option for bloggers and webmasters. Perhaps it also does not help that there are skeptics, not to mention dishonest users that will try to get past this obstacle and even devise a tougher-to-beat approach to comment spamming and link campaigns.

In addition, those who do gain in search engine ranking through referral links by those who really, wholeheartedly support their site have the most to lose. The possibility of search page rankings being a thing of the past presents itself in this scenario. Then again, it would not hurt to pose a challenge to those whose sites and products have yet to gain popularity. Perhaps businesses need to make a habit of improving, and have faith that those Internet users, who know exactly what they are looking for on the web, will find them eventually and be satisfied with what they have to offer. Besides, the really great ideas are the one that stand the test of time.

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