We all know that search engines do not like spam comments and love to penalize those that have them but have you seen the impact of their penalizations before? Scary proof included.
Spam comments will get your blog penalized. Here’s the scary proof!
SEOgadget was hit by a few nasty spam comments (shown down below) on June 3rd 2009 but those behind the blog didn’t know anything about them since they rely upon Akismet and it is supposed to filter out spam. Yes, this is a classic case of an Akismet fail whale (made famous by Twitter).
One of SEOgadget’s authors (Richard Baxter) stumbled upon those spam comments after discovering 4.52% decrease in traffic in the first half of June 2009. It seems that Google has penalized SEOgadget and the blog has lost precious traffic from Google. Just take a look at the following scary screenshot (page-level stats)! That’s a massive drop in traffic!
SEOgadget did the right thing, they removed those spam comments on June 15th and traffic flowed back to the blog a day after the removal (look at that spike on the above screenshot). Take note that SEOgadget did not submit reconsideration requests to Google. The whole thing was on auto-pilot! That’s really fast and it really shows that Google is watching our every little steps! Whoa!
I learned a lot from SEOgadget’s experience and the whole thing worries me deep inside and I have this mysterious question (the same question is bugging SEOgadget) lingering in my mind right now. What really triggers SEOgadget’s penalization?
Spam comments, the ‘nofollow’ links of spam comment authors (bear in mind that we have mass confusions on PageRank Sculpting at the moment) or both?
This blog apparently has been penalized for the very same reason but I haven’t done anything to fix it (example: removal of spam comments) yet. Google seems to have a new algorithm these days and I need time to crunch all the details. Google Webmaster Central is not really helpful right now, looks like I’ll be reading Matt Cutt’s posts in the next few days.