I’m not sure what to make of this one. But it seems that some spam comments did have a negative effect on one guy’s search engine rankings. I’ll tell you why I think that is in just a moment.
But for now, here’s a little snippet from Chris Crum’s article:
Breaking out some Google Analytics data, Baxter shows us that one of his most popular keywords for driving traffic to his site had him ranking high in a search for that keyword until a few spammy comments about things like “hairy asian men naked,” “nude female superheroes,” and “large nipple galleries” were left on the page. Shortly after that, the page fell out of the rankings, but was re-included within 24 hours once the comments were finally deleted.
First, let’s observe that we’re not talking about ordinary spam here. We’re talking about porn spam, which is worse than your ordinary keyword-specific niche-targeted spam. If your site is about automatic widgets and you can a few spam comments like “I agree. You hit the nail on the head. I like widgets.” and “Very interesting topic. I bookmarked this site because my sister’s widget site is almost as good as yours.” then chances are those comments won’t hurt your rankings at all. They may even help it, unless – there’s always an ‘unless’ isn’t there? – the spammers link back to a warez site, porn site, or other malicious site from the comment.
I think that’s what happened in Richard Baxter’s case. His site isn’t porn related, but the spam comments that got by akismet were of that nature. Google likely sees those as a reputational threat to itself if searchers looking for information on search engine optimization see those comments on his technology blog.
So the question, Can spam comments kill your search engine rankings, is best answered as “maybe.” If those comments can lead to malicious or otherwise damaging sites for the end user then it’s huge possibility. If the links were not to porn sites, but did lead to otherwise innocent looking pages that were found out to contain downloads with malicious malware on them them Baxter likely would have had the same result. What do you think?