Avoid Bad Links in Blog Comments

When you’re running a blog, you have to take responsibility for and exercise control over the content posted in to your comment section.  Any links and even the text contained in a comment can have dramatic effects on how not just surfers view your site, but also with how search engines rank and value your page for its respective keywords.

If you’re using nofollow on all user-submitted links, you may not have to worry about how the search spiders respond to your links, but the quality of your endorsements will still be important for how much your readers respect and value your opinions – and how much they trust your site.

Broken Links

These are the most common user-end mistake that can hurt the SEO and reliability of your blog post.  I see a lot of people who don’t own websites that still try to fill the site field.  They’ll often write in “none” or repeat their email address, so the live page ends up showing links like http://none  and http://newbie@aol.com.

These kinds of broken links will annoy your users and the search engine spiders, too.  No one likes being sent somewhere other than where they expected to go:  especially when the place they end up is just a 404 or browser/protocol error.

Bad Anchors

This one really isn’t a huge deal, but it is also a pretty common mistake made by blog commenters who don’t run their own websites.  Many times, visitors will fill in the URL field with the homepage of the blog they’re commenting on, but they will use their real name and that name ends up being the anchor text.  Now, like I mentioned, this probably isn’t a huge deal and it probably won’t hurt the experience of your other users.  What it will do, however, is give you an internal link with the wrong anchor text.  This might dilute the effect of your anchors if it happens to often.

Bad Neighborhood Links

Links to sites with bad reputations are probably the worst kind of comment link you can get – and its the most common form of non-accidental bad links.  If a site has suffered a major domain-wide penalty in the search engines, there is probably a good reason why you don’t want to send your visitors there.  There’s a good chance of malicious software being installed, or it might just be a useless site primarily fueled by spammy advertising methods.

Either way, allowing these comment links to stay published will only make your own site look bad – like its a part of the bad neighborhood, too.

So how can you recognize these bad neighborhoods?  This bad neighborhood link-checking tool can help, but it is also a little bit too sensitive in my opinion (if you’re unsure, it is better to be safe than sorry.)

Bad links are the most common source of comment-based SEO problems, but they aren’t the only one.  In the next post, I’ll explain another more subtle attack I’ve discovered today that all bloggers and webmasters should be aware of.

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