Monday, April 14, 2014

War on Guest Blogging : Google VS The World

War on Guest Blogging : Google VS The World front
Matt Cutts, Google's Head of Spam recently took a bold step, claiming Guest Posts as a link building exercise thereby branding them as spam. Now the ball is in his court and he doesn't seem to mind penalizing many websites which resorted to Guest Blogging as an SEO exercise. 

He wrote a clear article on 'Why Guest Blogging is becoming worse'. He first gives an example of an unsolicited email asking permission to write an article for Matt's blog and then asking him to "do-follow a link or two". Finally Matt claims, quite rightly so, That often a beautiful and authentic SEO trend starts which is later duplicated by millions of people and this finally morphs into something grotesque.

After hearing this, many might recoil with horror. 

The Research

However, he later doles out some exceptions to Google’s wrath. He in his blog specifically mentions that high quality multi-author Blogs need not worry. To get to know about the topic better, I resorted to reading the comments section of the page. 

A person claimed that many of what Google had done made the lives of average site owners difficult, at this moment I thought to myself, the drastic step taken by Google actually helped small site owners. 

Larger site owners with exclusive contacts and deeper pockets often had reach towards content and SEO techniques from desperate people willing to share in exchange of some quality inbound links, A luxury ill afforded by people with lesser web presence. 

Matt's Response

Through Google’s guidelines (including the ones of blogger), deserving people with extraordinary stories and commendable content shall come into picture. Someone posted that, it looks as if Google is running our websites; it seems as if it is an intrusion into personal decisions. Matt's response too deserved applause, when he said that webmasters have always had the freedom to do whatever they chose. Same should be applicable to Google. It should be able to tweak its algorithm to provide quality user experience. As they always say, there are plenty of fish in the sea; you must remember that just Google has changed its algorithm and not the others. 

If you really want your page to be displayed in its search results, you will have to change with the trend (Never be a Potato Blogger). But with 69% of Search engine share hogged up by Google, It is tough to find other fishes in the sea. Another Question comes up, why now? Why didn't he tell sooner? Actually he has been posting videos depicting the wrong usage of guest blogging and its conversion into a link building SEO exercise. But, when the water went over the head, he had to take some serious steps.

What was really hilarious was when one comment highlighted a Guest Post hosted by Matt himself! Who later explained that he knew the guest pretty well and could vouch for her. But then again a Google algorithm can never determine if the webmaster vouches for the guest. All in all it is really a grey area. 

Still clarity can only be sought by keeping in mind the following points,

Create/implement a really tight filter on which guest posts to accept. In short publish only the best of Guest posts. came up with a Really weird strategy, asking publishers to not label Guest posts as "Guest Post". Empirical evidence for its working is not available but this still makes sense.

Determine if the Guest post written is for your users or for the search engine. Does it rely on making relationships or bringing back traffic?

MoreIf you still need clarity to know if a guest post is spammy, you can have a look at a previous article of ours which outlined 7 Ways to find if a Guest Post is bad.

7 ways to check if a Guest Post is bad

So the obvious question, Is Guest Blogging Really DEAD?

The answer though really contentious, can be "no". Many comments at Matt's blog too agree and certain really influential (like Search Engine Journal or Marketing Land) websites too accede that Guest blogging isn't dead. If it was, Google would have announced a new update with another endangered animal name. Just the spammy ones or the ones which actually rely on guest blogging to bring traffic. Or rely on Paid links/Articles to create content and links.


To get further clarity, I posted a question at Google webmaster forums on whether interviews too come under Guest Post Category (Considering Codemakit conducts interviews with prominent and influential personalities). 

The people there were really helpful and after arguing for quite a long time, they succeeded in influencing my thoughts. One of the contributors that really inspired me explained it like this, 
Quote 2
Quote 1
Is the link there for users, or search engines? If the link is there for users, you can no-follow the link and users will never know, they will still click on it if it useful for them and provide traffic to the outgoing site. If the links are for search engines, it's an unnatural link and you could be penalized for it.

Hear Hear,
War on Guest Blogging : Google VS The World MohitChar

Monday, April 7, 2014

7 Ways to check if a guest post is bad

7 Ways to check if a guest post is bad Front
Matt Cutts in his recent post took out all his artillery and beat down on Guest posts warning or so to say cautioning publishers and webmasters to stop using Guest posts as a link building exercise (Though he Himself used it). The Article was a real marvel but what it lacked were clear instructions. 

He reminded web owners that the websites with high quality guest articles would be exempt. But, there is no tangibility towards High Quality. 

What if the article is of better quality or of good quality? So here are some instructions for webmasters to determine if they should allow a guest post on their blog or not.

FirstTight Filter

First enforce a really tight filter on which guest posts to accept. 
In short publish only the best of Guest posts. When you target the best, you might not come under Matt's Purview.

SecondThink and Label came up with a really weird strategy, asking publishers to not label Guest posts as "Guest Post". Empirical evidence for its working is not available but logically, it still makes sense.

ThirdArticle or the Link

Any Webmaster aiming to be one of the top players of the internet world knows that External links and Internal Links play a pivotal role in determining the PageRank of the website
So site owners write guest posts for high page rank websites. Not for the information but for the links. But does the article you receive rely on making relationships or bringing back traffic? 

FourthBall-park a topic, 

If yours is not a personal blog, it is understood that the articles posted would be pertaining to a single topic or revolve around a topic. If tomorrow you receive a mail saying how awesome your site is or how amazed they are with your blog and would like to add something to it, ask them what they are writing on. If it’s a topic away from yours, decline respectfully.


This one is an understood one, If someone offers you some text for publication you would first check if it has not been plagiarized (You know there are some pretty good blogs around there). Simple steps to check are taking a snippet and Google it. For a more detailed method you can check out this Duplicate Content tool.

SixthCheck the content, 

The information sent by them should be synonymous with your website's content. It should cater to Google's Quality Guidelines. If you use blogger, it should be conducive to Blogger's content policy. All the more it should not try to pull visitors away from your website (Might be selfish). It should not promote itself; rather it should just provide quality information. Grammatical and semantic errors should also be checked.

SeventhThe Thumb Rule,

One comment at Matt's Blog always inspires me. It said, "Before you agree to post some one's article on your blog, try and answer this question, Was the article written for your readers or for a search engine". I feel this point will always help you when you're confused.

This was all about.
7 Ways to check if a guest post is bad MohitChar

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Guide to Creating Awesome E-Book Covers

A content based website like a blog is always dependent on its readers for fame. Such websites strive for quality and try to provide as much new knowledge as possible. But alas, webmasters can only do this much. 

This is where having an eBook comes in handy. Some distinct advantages of an eBook are often forgotten by people. In this article we'll first talk why do webmasters need eBooks on their website and secondly some of the best E-Book covers and what you could learn from them.

Why E-Books?

Lets first discuss, why would a webmaster/ owner/ blogger ever need an E-Book. 
Is the website not enough?
  1. An eBook is never crawled by a Google bot. So in short you could write anything and everything in an eBook. You can badmouth others, you can give away links that you could never ever host on your website, hell you could even plagiarize from your competitors, take their images, text etc. But a worthy and ethical person would never do that, (and believe me, only the people in the latter category succeed). 
  2. Another reason for hosting eBooks or pdf materials at websites is that psychologically people are happy to download an eBook because they feel a sense of superiority as well as achievement as they downloaded a material that was not readily available on the internet. A sense of attachment starts towards the eBook and hence the website too.
  3. Another reason for websites to use eBooks is because they stand out in the world of bloggers and web enthusiasts, the race towards unique content and quality material has never been tougher, hence an eBook that would set them apart.
  4. Though an eBook is a less popular method of disseminating information than an embedded video, it still is an effective method for targeting visitors and converting them into a regularly visiting/loyal readers.
  5. Finally, E-Books are currently one of the niches where marketing geeks have just stepped into. E book websites like bookboon is speculated to earn a lot by just allotting some space in their eBooks for advertisements. So you can earn from eBooks too!

Famous E-Book Covers..

Now that we're talking about eBook, we must also know that no body would read an eBook if it does not look interesting. So here are some examples of famous eBooks and what their cover designers did to attract visitors.

The first example could be Bookboon, just because of its sheer size and output that the website provides. It has a really simple yet elegant way of creating their covers. Almost all books hosted on bookboon have the same cover page template. Orange background, Really large text "Bookboon" and simple space in between displaying a really simple image relevant to the contents of the eBook. All in all, a really nice but average type of eBook cover.

Let us take another type of cover for our discussion. Let us take "Access to Information Act, Canada" for the same. Keeping the content aside, one must first acknowledge how color combination can set a really different mood. Complete Front page is of a single color, lined with matching colors. But as is evident, The document is a part of series. Hence the book number in huge font and the book title as well as other information in smaller fonts (However, It looks microscopic related to the number itself, but who are we to judge)

For many books color isn't that important, psychologically too black as a color denotes completeness and creates a sense of awe in the mind of readers. Check out, for example the book E2, written by Pam Grout. Based on its content, Pam had to choose the cover image as something between awkwardly mathematical or unrealistic photoshoped abstract, So he chose something in between. If your content is something like this, you too can experiment.

Same is the case with the Fiction, "Hunger Games", The ebook's frontpage dwlves on human psychology that often humans judge a book by its cover, and as expected the cover goes perfectly well with the book. Complete black background with golden words and an insignia at the center, preping its readers for a journey into the unknown.

E-books do not always use monochromatic backgrounds or Orange and red stripes to woo their readers. Some, like "The essential Guide to customs and culture, Ireland" also use images as the front page. You know a really detailed and colorful image can go a long way in attracting readers. Also, since its an eBook, one does not have to pay extra for printing such high resolution images. But images like these can become the perfect way for Authors to showcase their book. Take this for examples willfully placed the word Ireland  on the shores depicted in the image. In short, the images do not look awkwardly hanging in the air but look properly supported (in this case on sandy beaches). You too can try, this out, However you much choose your background image carefully for the effect to look authentic.

But as a website, you cannot afford to have an image like the above on your webpage. It simply does not go with the content. So you create something much simpler, something that you could change with the flick of your hand. Copyblogger's ebook front pages are popular in this matter. The front page is usually red with simple images at the back as if it has nothing to hide. Then it has a small strip at the bottom for the website name.

If you do not have enough images and you are releasing eBooks in a row, you can take you inspiration from United Nations Human Rights (UNHRC) eBook. It is less minimalist from the information Act document discussed above, as it provides much more information than its counterparts. One look at the eBook and you know its contents. If you too hate highly minimalist front pages, you should go for this. Replete with images, logos and text, It can be called as a really comprehensive front page.

This was all about,

Monday, March 17, 2014

Do Pages with questions as title receive more clicks (Part 2)

Do Pages with questions as title receive more clicks (Part 2)
This article is the complete study conducted by codemakit Website Research. If you feel that the contents are too technical for you, you may want to read the simplified summary presented at part I of the article first. Based on the data obtained from 190 Web Pages and their page views, the following observations were found.

The data available were the number of views, and the date of publication of page. Since the pages were linearly published (i.e. one page after another), the difference of the number of days were found and Cumulative number of days were found. Cumulative number of days helped in determining the number of days a webpage was present on the website as published. As a page's page views and the number of published days are directly proportional. 

Do Pages with questions as title receive more headline

The Data Set

The complete Data Set containing information in pdf for all the blog posts is available for perusal here. To probe this even further, Consider Page A has 200 page views and Page B has 20. This cannot be called as the complete indicator of the actual worth of the page, As Page A might have been published a year ago and Page B just a week ago. Hence a balanced base is needed to determine whether a webpage is performing well or not.

V/D ratio was found out. The V/D ratio is the ratio of the number of page views per unit cumulative day. The ratio is a perfect indicator of the number of how well did the page do in terms of garnering visitors. Using V/D ratio the index for page A would be (200 page views/365 days) and for page B as (20 page views /7 days). The ratio for Page A comes to be 0.548 and for Page B comes to be 2.85. The page A which at first looked better in comparison to Page B, now doesn't look worthy at all. Hence a normalized base would help in determining the true worth of a page.

Do Pages with questions as title receive more headline Large Graph

Types of Webpages

The complete analysis was done using V/D ratio. Graphically, V/D = 0.2 was obtained as the value to be used for determining if a webpage performed well or not. Complete Data was divided into three parts 

1. The lesser ones,
Now all Web Pages which had a V/D ratio less than 0.2 can be safely said to perform worse than its counterparts. Hence all Web Pages with a V/D ratio less than 0.2 come under its purview. There were 53 lesser ones.

2. The Greater Ones
Just like the name suggests, all the Web Pages with a V/D ratio more than 0.2 were called as the greater ones or the ones that performed better. There were 123 Greater ones.

3. The questions
Each webpage which contains a question in its title text is a question type webpage. There existed 63 question type Web Pages on the said website.

How did we arrive at V/D=0.2 ?

Note. It must first be understood how the value of 0.2 was obtained. The complete analysis being a really simple one, It was thought that the sample could be plotted on the graph based on its frequency. The graph was then created taking V/D ratio on the abscissa and the frequency at ordinate. 

Do Pages with questions as title receive more headline Graph 1

The resultant graph was a sharp bell shaped curve. The sharpness was due to excessive variations among the sample group with different number of Web Pages having inordinate differences in their V/D ratios. Hence, The Graph was then magnified at its peak in the hopes of arriving at the dividing value. This graphically came near 0.2.

Do Pages with questions as title receive more headline Graph 2

Do Pages with questions as title receive more headline Graph 3

The Observations

Summarily, It was found that, The Webpages with questions as their title text that performed poorly was 21.21%. However, The Webpages/Articles/Blog Post with questions as their title text which performed poorly was just 21.21%. In Short, if you put your title text as a question for any webpage, you have 50% more chances of making it more famous. 

Greater Ones Lesser Ones
Total Number of WebPages 123 66
Number of Webpages with Questions 39 14
Percentage of Webpages with questions 31.71 21.21

Disclaimer for the study, 

It is however pertinent to note that, the study took 197 webpages and had to exclude some to maintain the sample's integrity. The study was conducted on a single type of website with a single Page Rank and hence same results cannot be expected for any other.

The study could be extended to cover other types of websites too. These could be analysed and results displayed. Also, one must understand that the criterion for determining if a webpage performed good or poor, was created based on the overall performance of the website itself. Hence, there exists a need for determining independent criteria for websites of different types, page ranks and visitor interaction.

Also, you can bring people to your webpage, but making them stay there is wholly dependent on how you present the content. Bounce rate isn't too irrelevant you know.

Is the Study too technical for you?

For a much simpler version of this study you can visit the part I of the series

If you still have doubts or would like to share your own story, comment below, we'll be happy to answer.

This was all about,
Do pages with questions as title receive more clicks MohitChar

Do Pages with questions as title receive more clicks (Part 1)

There exists a very contended view that, If you write an article with a question as its headline or title, it will receive more clicks and the webpage as a whole would be more successful. 

codemakit in the past has published material on improving the readership of any blog like, using specific publishing schedule, controlling Spam, creating apps, organising your blog content etc.

Though some are of the opinion that it plays no part in determining the popularity of an article. However, Online marketing experts disagree, Several studies claim an increase of 100% (Though there are several more probable methods of doubling your website traffic) traffic to the website, i.e. "Double Your Traffic!", some claim a modest 10% increase.

The truth isn't inaccessible, its just hidden. Gregory Ciotti, who oversees marketing at Help Scout and is the founder at Sparring Mind, believes, there exists an information Gap Theory based on a paper by George Loewenstein, on "The psychology of Curiosity: A Review and Reinterpretation

The Online marketing geniuses often claim that once a person glances on the headline, She/he frames their question as per the one displayed. For example, You need to know how to plant a eucalyptus tree in your backyard. You put the search term as "Plant a big eucalyptus tree". Suppose you stumble upon the headline, "How do you plant a large tree", though the queries are different enough, you must understand that the person finds it irresistible not to merge the two and experience that Aha! moment where you feel "That is just the damn thing I was searching for! How cool is that, I must check this out!"

Codemakit Website Research performed a study and analyzed Web Pages to answer this question. Since the study can prove to be too technical for some, It has been included in the second part of the article.

In the study, We took 197 Web Pages and collected just two information from them, Their number of Page views and the number of days they had been public on the web. We divided the complete set into three parts. 
  1. One was the Greater ones or the ones that performed really great. 
  2. Second was the lesser ones, i.e. those that did not perform up to the mark. 
  3. Third set consisted of those which contained questions as their headlines. 

You can take a look at part II of the article if you want to know how did we divide the articles/blog posts into good and bad (complete Data Set containing information in pdf format for is available for perusal here). Once that was achieved, We analyzed and are now presenting our findings. 

Read carefully, The Web Pages which performed really good had 31% of them as questions. However, The ones that performed really bad had 21% as questions. In short your webpage has 50% more chances of performing good if it has a question as its title/ headline. 

For more information on the study you can visit the part II of the series. If you still have doubts or would like to share your own story, comment below, we'll be happy to answer.

But, Don't you wanna know how did we arrive at this conclusion?

Check out the second part of the series

Also, tell us how much better did your website perform?

This was all about,

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Simple Steps to stay safe online

Simple Steps to stay safe online
With the advent and increased participation in hacking and phishing attempts, one must be sure to be safe. A busy blogger (obviously not a potato blogger) or a workaholic designer or an innocent professional who thinks that the web is safe enough is obviously and blatantly mistaken. The terms Online Privacy, cookies and IPs are being popular day by day. celebrates world privacy day on 28th January too. So one must learn to retain their information and stop it from falling into the hands of bad guys. What do you do? Obviously a request on your Facebook page or personal blog will not deter the shady guys wearing a sly grin. (Notably this actually worked against spammers at codemakit when they were informed about Nofollow attribute.. digress..). So one must employ a better and sometimes more sophisticated way of hiding your personal data.

Why do we need to hide our data?

The answer can be very well explained to you through a rhetorical question. "Why do you keep your bank passbooks and checkbooks safely? Or why do you keep your credit cards, super safe?" Simply because there are chances of such things being misused and in most cases against you!
Let us take a really simple case, many people use their middle names or nick names or their combinations as passwords, a quick look by a cyber criminal on your Facebook/twitter page will reveal phenomenal details about you. A cyber criminal with a grudge against you (Now that's something you would not want) will skim through social networking sites and try accessing your email account through such passwords, eventually if he/she gets through, you will have a lot to worry about, as most online accounts have a facility of resetting passwords

The criminal can go to your account enter your email address and click "Forgot password". Now the website on receiving such request will innocently reset the password and send a new one to your mail. Only catch is that the cyber criminal has access to your email address. He/she can wreak all kinds of havoc on your life by messing with your online persona. Usually the popular ones include accessing your social network and posting a vulgar video or an obscene picture or a hilarious yet defaming comment about yourself like "I am coming out of the closet now!" or some other less subtle messages. But the ones which do not make the headlines are the sudden loss of a large amount of money from a bank account. Even less reported are the cases of Blackmail.

The Steps for staying safe online

In Order to Avoid hassles and to stay super safe, outlined are a few steps that your must follow to keep yourself safe online. remember better safe than sorry! So lets go through the process once.
mail(temporary,junk) browser(incognito,deletion) surf(privacy settings, proxy servers)

Take Charge of your Accounts and Email

1. Keep your accounts close!

You might have many accounts at various websites, but do you know how to keep them safe. How to prevent your login information from a previous article where some offline methods are discussed to store your Usernames and Passwords.

2. But your Email closer!

First and foremost just as the above example depicted, You must first take control of your email. Conventional emails offer simple username password security out of which username is always known to people. You just rely on your password to keep your account safe. The password might be really long and extremely convoluted but in the end it is just a combination of characters (You would be shocked if you find how simply websites store usernames and passwords).
If you are using Gmail (If you're not See a complete list of features of Gmail) kindly opt for Google's two step protection. You will have to provide your mobile number for the same and if you're logging-in from an unknown computer, you will receive a code from Google as a text message which forms the second step of protection. Without entering the code you cannot go further. Some email service providers also provide an arrangement for two passwords, which is not as effective as Google but it does the job doesn't it?

3. Use Disposable/temporary email

Sometimes people need to provide email address for web content. Websites are often found begging and sometimes strutting while asking for your email address. In simple words, I have an eBook, You have an email address, lets exchange! (codemakit too asks for email address for its SEO and Content Guide ebook) but don't get us wrong. there is an inherent theory behind asking email addresses, Often websites with quality content are targeted by their competitors who employ hackers/helpers in large numbers to harm the website. An email authentication or just the provision of an email often helps curb this menance. But if you do not want to give your personal email address to a website you do not trust, you can either check out the website certifications, you can use a temporary one. here is a list of
Temporary mail providers

1. Guerrilla Mail is know to scramble the address too. It Updates the inbox in every 10 seconds and exists for about 12-15 minutes after which it vanishes.

2. The 10 minute mail obviously exists for 10 minutes and then disapears. Until then you will recieve mails to your temporary inbox.

3. Get airmail has one blatant advantage over every one of its competitors, there is no time-limit to your inbox. The mail will remain valid indefinitely until and unless you close your browser.

4. Yop mail is one of the most trusted providers among its competitors. You can even name your own email which would look more authentic than a bunch of randomly generated numbers.

But websites have their own ways to check. so sometimes the method does not work (maybe 5-10%) If you do not want such hassles of visiting the site again or creating a new one every time you need something, It is better You create a permanent mail which will hold all your junk emails. This mail must have really simple username with an even simpler password which can be recalled any time you need. Even if it is hacked, It will be the hacker's loss and not yours.

Take Charge of your Browser

There are cases when you need to employ security tactics at the root of internet surfing, i.e. the browser, It is the application which actually transforms your request and returns with a webpage. So, how fo you safeguard your browser?

1. Delete your traces

Firstly, your browsing history, stored cookies, passwords(important ones), and other information that the browser has stored for your luxury; in one word; DELETE. The above elements stored ina  browser are one of the richest source of information about you. Your cookies, browsing history tell a lot more that you could ever tell in a day. Also remember to disable chrome autofill settings. A regular deletion of such information will provide you an assurance of "My browser has nothing you can steal, (The Mojojojo Laugh)". 

2. Browse Incognito

Secondly If you're really cautious, You must operate your browser in the famed incognito mode. Nearly every browser offers an incognito mode where none of your personal data or browsing activity will be stored in the computer. So you don't have to come back and delete the stuff again. Usually the incognito mode(as Google Chrome Calls it) can be found in almost all browsers and can be activated by a shortcut key combination. Here are the list of browsers and Shortcut key combinations.

  Browser Method
  Google Chrome CTR + N
  Mozilla Firefox CTR + SHIFT + P
  Internet Explorer CTR + SHIFT + P
  Safari Settings - Private Browsing
  Opera CTR + SHIFT + N

3. Virtual Private Settings

You Can even surf cautiously. For places where you cannot afford to make a mistake, you can use a proxy server, where you hide yourself and then browse it is comparable to wearing an armor and going to war.
Geeks are often known to use VPN or Virtual private networks, a discussion of these methods is beyond the scope of the article. However you may find information at PCWorld or at Howtogeek. Information on IP Masking can be found at whatismyipaddress.

And Finally, Surf Safe

Another thing you can do to prevent your information from falling into the hands of smirking black hats is by setting your privacy policy at the other end, i.e. the websites you use like facebook, quora, twitter (list would have stopped at 5 miles). Go there, click on settings and find out privacy settings. Change them to your personal accord. Just five minutes once is enough to spare you the hassle of a lifetime. More the methods you employ, the safer you feel, the next time you surf on a website.

Note. If missed a step or if you know any better method, just post it in the comments section.

Do you feel safe now?
Simple Steps to stay safe online MohitChar

Monday, March 3, 2014

How did a sentence reduce Spam comments by half

How did a sentence reduce comments by half (Controlling Spam)
Comments are by far the most important and the most useful social media engagement technique used in blogs. A comment has the ability to spark a discussion and give a new meaning altogether to the article. 

A comment can motivate the author and can also act as a critic thereby controlling the quality of the articles proceeding. But there is a downside to commenting scenario. Most blogs do not allow anonymous commenting; this is because of the extra time and energy they will have to spend in moderating the comments if they allow. So they ask the reader to login or register with the website to post a comment. Or they would ask the visitor to leave their email id, which is again no cool for the reader. A casual reader who wants to show his appreciation for the exemplary work done by the author, cannot do so if he/she is pestered by the site before leaving a comment. True comment is always extempore. 

An ideal situation is that the reader goes through the complete article and reaches the end. After reading the article he is tempted to post a comment. He just writes it and posts it. The comment is published and the user is happy. Such is the case with anonymous posting.

The Case Study,

The following is a case study on how a simple method was enough to stop spammers and give more readers to the blog as a side effect.

Codemakit had some problems in the past regarding lower comments. As is evident, low or no comments give ‘low quality’ jibes to the readers. So to increase the comments and increase the social interaction at the website, codemakit started anonymous comment. In short anyone who knew how to read and write could write just about anything in the comment box. The first day, codemakit received 24 comments all of which were basically spam. The number reached 57 on the third day and was not stopping. The only thing standing between a spam comment and unsuspecting readers was the blogger’s comment filter which did its best in keeping spammers at bay.

It was sufficiently clear, why websites do not keep anonymous comments. It was becoming simply impossible to keep up with such large numbers. The process of comment moderation took more than an hour daily, which ate up the time required in the maintenance of the website. Each and every comment had to be read properly before coming to any conclusion. Some were straightaway spam which could not be filtered by blogger’s systems whereas some were cloaked up pretty good and some were even funny. But there was a plus side, the true or legitimate comments increased to five on the third day.

As the days crept on, it was becoming increasingly difficult to moderate comments in such huge numbers. From SEO’s perspective, if a particular article has a PageRank of suppose 3, then this will be distributed to each and every link hosted on the page. So in short codemakit was leaking PageRank to the hyperlinks in the comments. 

Controlling Spam codemakit Study Solution 1One solution to the SEO problem was to hire personnel for filtering spam, which was expensive. Also you cannot post an ad on a newspaper or a website saying, "Wanted, an enthusiastic and intelligent individual for sorting spam at my petty little blog! I'll pay you in installments :-)"

Controlling Spam codemakit Study Solution 2
Solution Two, Another solution was to hire a freelancer, which was too convoluted solution for such a simple problem. The blog at that time was a one person project which obviously didn't need another person just to sort spams.

Controlling Spam codemakit Study Solution 3Solution Three, Last solution was attaching a nofollow attribute to the complete comments section, thereby taking off the load of moderating by the author

The third solution was finally implemented. So the SEO problem was resolved (i.e. the rankings of the website will not be affected due to the low quality links in the comments section. But another problem on the softer side was too large to be overlooked. What will happen to the image of the blog when readers see fifteen to twenty comments, most of which are spam? This will affect the image of webmaster and the blog. 

The Process

So the second problem which floated was that comment moderation was still needed. One unique solution was to display a custom message instead of the default ‘Thanks for your comments’, another message was planned thinking if spammers are warned that their tactics will not work here, may be they'll stop.

‘Spammers Kindly remember, any hyperlink in the comments will not be indexed by search Engines because of NoFollow attribute.

The message was specially crafted keeping in mind the mentality of spammers. Since blogger does not allow any hyperlink in the message section. The URL of the methodology of adding NoFollow attribute was also added. Another important thing included in the particular webpage was a proof that Nofollow was added to the comments section with the help of a Firefox add-on.

The Results

Controlling Spam codemakit Study Week TableIt was thought that spammers who once add a spam comment would be greeted with the particular message and this would deter them from adding any more comments. But, the particular solution did more than what was expected. The comments reduced to just the legitimate ones and since the message was displayed, there was not a single spam comment on the webpage. The Number of true or legitimate comments actually increased and so did the total number of comments.

Another side effect of the message being displayed was an unusual increase in the visitors of the website. It is not wrong to say that nearly each and every visitor of the NoFollow Webpage within 3 to 4 days were all spammers. The webpage which received 200 visitors in 15 days received 2300 visitors in just 2 days.

Controlling Spam codemakit Study

The following are the screenshots of the anomalies observed on the site.

Controlling Spam codemakit Study using MapThe particular article on adding a NoFollow attribute became famous overnight, garnering 3075 followers in just 3 days. It even surpassed the previous most read articles like remove youtube logo from embedded videos and Animated Flash Tag Cloud or even the article on Faults in your SEO and how to rectify it. The peak observed was pretty amazing as the site had never encountered such amount of traffic before. The following is a screenshot from blogger dashboard.

Controlling Spam codemakit Study Graph
So in a nutshell the complete procedure did more good than expected and can be used by webmasters for their respective websites. Try this and post your anonymous comments. I'm sure we'll be thrilled to receive your results.

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Controlling Spam codemakit Study MohitChar