Spam comments is one of the biggest pain to a blogger and tacking them is part of our day-to-day life. I have seen many new WordPress bloggers who shifted from BlogSpot find it hard to tackle the spam comments. Most of the time it’s because of the ignorance and awareness about spam comments. Earlier, I have shared an article on how a blogger should moderate blog comments, and this particular guide is for all WordPress blogger to learn about the settings which will help them to reduce spam comments on their blog. I will mention about anti-spam blog comment plugins later in this article, but first lets look at the WordPress settings which will help you to control spam comments to a great level.
How to Configure WordPress Discussion settings to reduce spam comments:
WordPress gives you complete control on comment moderation. Spam filter will happen later, but first it’s your job to make sure that no comments should go live without moderation. Comments on your blog is valuable in many ways, such as:
- Add value to the article: A good comment will add more points and improve the overall value of your blog post.
- Trust factor: If your blog post gets good number of genuine and meaningful comments, that helps in increasing the trust factor of your blog.
- Search engine ranking: I have done testing in the past where I have removed all comments on my old posts, and that drastically reduced the ranking of my posts. Having meaningful comments will increase the keyword density and variation, and thus helps in improved ranking of your blog.
Similarly, if you are not moderating your blog comments and spam comments are going live on your blog, you are more likely to see decreased ranking and your blog might be affected by Google penguin penalty. Even if you have made the mistake of approving spam comments in the past, you should edit old posts and remove all such comments from your blog. This also includes those comments like “nice post” “Good post” which doesn’t add any value to your articles.
I was helping one of my client with her blog SEO, and I realised she had Akismet plugin installed, but her WordPress discussion settings was not properly configured. Due to this, almost 2K+ spam comments were live on her blog, and one of the major reason of her blog lower ranking. This post is inspired due to her mistake, and we will look into WordPress discussion settings which you should configure for your WordPress blog to prevent WordPress spam comments and improve the comment moderation of your blog.
To get started with it; login to your WordPress dashboard, and click on Settings > Discussion and configure them as mentioned below. Do read the details, so that you also learn what you are doing:
Default Article settings:
This is the first section of WordPress discussion settings, and here you should uncheck the second option which says “Allow link notifications from other blogs (pingbacks and trackbacks)“. Since I don’t find trackback and ping backs to be very useful in terms of adding value, I keep this option as unchecked. If you have accidentally approved trackbacks in the past, you can read this guide to delete all previously approved trackbacks.
Other comment settings:
This is another straight forward settings, where you can simply copy the settings as shown below. If you run a membership site or a site where you want only registered users to comment on your blog, yo should check the second option “
Before a comments appear:
This is the most important settings to ensure that no comments goes live without moderation. This is to ensure that you have complete control over your blog comments, and only manually approved comments should go live. I have WordPress for iOS app on my iPhone, which is very helpful to keep moderating comments while I’m away from my laptop. If you are one of those blogger who like to instantly moderate a comment, I recommend you to install WordPress App on your smartphone and moderate comments from everywhere you go.
Comment moderation and blacklist:
This section is very useful to tackle spam comments on your WordPress blog. So far, from all the above settings we have already set that no comments should go live without moderation. If you have selected the option where commentators comment will automatically approved if commentator has earlier approved comment, you can further put a spam check with comment moderation and blacklist settings. With comment moderation settings, you can put any comment for hold if it has more than “X” number of hyperlinks. Where X could be any number. In my case, I have set it up X as 1. Similarly, you can also hold a comment based on Word match. I don’t explicitly use this feature, as this causes many genuine comments to land into spam or moderation queue. For now, I have used only following words which you can see in above picture.
With above settings, you will be able to have complete control of WordPress comments moderation. This not necessarily prevent your blog from spam comments, as we need to use anti-spam comments WordPress plugins to check all comments in moderation queue for spam.
Some of the best WordPress Comments Anti-spam plugins:
Once you have set up your WordPress blog for moderating all comments, now it’s time to add measures which will automatically filter spam comments. So far, I haven’t seen a single WordPress blog anti-spam comment plugin which can prevent 100% of spam. So, be sure that some manual work is always require to ensure your blog is spam free. Now, there are numerous WordPress anti-spam plugins which you can use, but I’m naming two that I use on ShoutMeLoud:
Akismet is an official plugin by WordPress parent company Automattic and is the first plugin which you will be needing to prevent spam comments on your WordPress blog. To enable this plugin, you need to get an API key. You can read this guide to learn and understand how to acquire API key for Akismet plugin.
Growmap Anti Spambot plugin:
This is another WordPress Antispam plugin which I use along with Akismet. This plugin offers multiple option to battle comment spam on your blog. The best part is, this plugin stops automatic comment spam to a great level. You can find complete details about G.A.S.P plugin on official download page over here.
If you are being bombarded with spam comments from any particular I.P. , you can use this .htaccess method to prevent spam bombing on your blog. Along with above two plugins, I also use Wangguard plugin to prevent spam registration on my blog. This is a free plugin and one of the best I have found for preventing spam registration on WordPress blog. You need to use it only if you have allowed user registration on your blog.
This is what I use to ensure only valuable comment goes live on my blog, and if you use any other technique or want to share any other anti-spam comment WordPress plugin, let me know via comments. If you enjoyed this article, do consider sharing it with your friends on Facebook and Google plus.