Everyone hates spam. And bloggers probably hate it even more than the average webmaster. But can there be positive benefits to spam?
Yes, I believe there can actually be positive benefits to spam, but before I tell you why, let’s identify the different types of spam you’ll likely find on a blog:
- Friendly, dumb spam – First, there is the innocent friendly person who just drops by to say hi and leaves a quick message. The message may or may not have anything at all to do with your post, but it’s written in a friendly manner and it’s obvious the only reason the person is leaving a comment is so they can get a backlink.
- I’m Your Biggest Fan Spam – Another type of spam comment you’ll find is the person who immediately tells you they love your blog. They’ll compliment on the great info, without being specific of course, and proceed to make a nuisance of themselves by linking to their five or six websites. None of the links usually relate to what you are doing on your blog, but they may. The one defining characteristic of this type of spam is the promise to subscribe to your RSS feed. Yippee!
- Porn Spam - You’ll know it when you see it. It’s unmistakable.
- Useless Non-Porn Spam – OK, it isn’t porn but it may as well be. The spammer wants you to buy his viagra subscription, download your PC kit, take out an insurance plan, or fill in the blank. The point is, they’re marketing something and it’s nothing you have an interest in or need for. Worse yet, it doesn’t even relate to what you are doing on your blog. Bastards!
- Asshole Trackback Comment – The asshole trackback comment is simply a bot that lifted your own content and linked back to you. Visit the page and you’ll see an ad, AdSense block, or maybe even a link that points to another website. But nothing else (except for a paragraph of your own blog post, and sometimes these assholes go so far as to lift your entire blog post). In a nutshell, this asshole is using your content to market his business. Oh, the nerve of that guy!
- The Decent Comment Spam – This is perhaps the best kind of spam you’ll find. The spammer actually goes through the trouble of leaving a real comment. The intent is to obviously get a link back to their website, but this time the comment is written by a real live human being – no bot. This comment is very likely related to your content as the spammer actually addresses something in it. The reason you know it’s spam is because in the name block she wrote a keyword phrase instead of her name. But her comment was the most intelligent response to your blog post yet. Kisses and hugs.
Now, all of these are spam comments, but can you identify the ones which might actually benefit you? If you guessed that last comment then you’d be dead on the money. As long as the spammer is using keywords that are important to you and that match the content in your blog post then it’s OK to approve the comment. Yes, they’ll get a back link and you may actually send traffic to download a useless e-book, but the optimized comment will actually benefit the whole blog post and could help it to rise in search rankings. Get enough comments on that blog post and it will do well.
This principle also applies to the friendly, dumb spam and the I’m-Your-Biggest-Fan Spam. As long as the comments are optimized content then they should be fine. If you need to edit out links that don’t belong, feel free. But keep the content that contains keywords. They’ll help you. And if that asshole guy complains that you edited his comment just tell him he’s lucky you even approved it. But be nice enough to thank him for helping you optimize your content.