Akismet is among the longest Plugin to reign as the comments spam blocker for WordPress sites. And as we all know, spammers (whether human or automated) love WordPress as much as bloggers do. So to say, the answer to whether you’ll need a spam blocker is an understatement.
As I’ve mentioned, Akismet has long reigned as the best spam blocker for WordPress sites. But, is this plugin still the best contender in the realm of spam blocking services? That’s is one of the questions I’ll answer you in this article. As well as how this plugin can benefit your website in terms of security.
By all means, no one likes receiving spammy email messages or reading spammy comments online. And we all know that spam is a nuisance. And that’s why there’s a sufficient reason to block it. But, do you really need to block comment spam on your site?
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Of course, the simple answer is an emphatic “Yes!”, and not just because spam is irritating. For example, if hackers create new user accounts on your website and add spammy hyperlinks to your site, you could be penalized by Google.
Bearing in mind, comment spam falls into this category as well. And if your website is indexed and found to be spammy, it might be assessed negatively. Whereby, a negative assessment of your website can cause it to be removed from Google’s search results.
So, in order to keep your site accessible, it’s simply good practice to monitor your website and correct any malicious attacks. This is where spam blockers like Akismet come into play.
What is a Comment Spam?
Basically, comment spam — also called a spomment, is a portmanteau of the words ‘spam’ and ‘comment’. These are typically characterized by the presence of replies that are irrelevant to the blog entry. Along with a link that leads to the commenter’s website.
And in the realm of SEO Marketing, the use of comment spam is considered a “Black Hat SEO” technique. Used to try and improve a site’s link popularity and anchor text. However, there are many ways for webmasters to combat blog spam.
Such as the WordPress blog site plugins (e.g. Challenge, Referrer Bouncer, and now Akismet which I’ll base my case on). By far, these WordPress plugins are able to block most types of spam comments.
Not forgetting, the search engines also have a ‘nofollow’ initiative for the same reason. The ‘nofollow’ initiative lets webmasters tell search engine robots not to give credit to links in blog comments. However, this only prevents comments if spambots are set up to ignore “nofollow blogs.”
And just incase many spamming scripts are not very refined. Although in the long run, it could lead to fewer spam comments if it makes the technique less effective on a global scale.
What is Akismet?
Akismet is a spam filtering service that filters spam from comments, trackbacks, and contact form messages. The filter works by combining information about spam captured on all participating sites. And then using those spam rules to block future spam.
For your information, Akismet was first launched in 2005 and is offered by Automattic — the company behind the world’s topmost CMS — WordPress.com. And when activated, it filters spam from a website based on information gathered from all websites on which the plugin is activated.
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In addition, spam is filtered from contact forms and comments sections. More often, every WordPress installation comes with two plugins pre-installed. One of them is Akismet, which is definitely on my blueprint list of must-have WordPress plugins.
On the contrary, even though Akismet comes pre-installed, it is not activated by default. Therefore, you’ll have to take some extra steps to activate it as explained in this article — by the WPBeginner. But, if you’re a well-established web developer, you can head straight to the plugin download page to get the installation file directly.
To install Akismet, follow these quick steps:
- Log in to your WordPress site as the administrator.
- In the left-hand pane, click Plugins.
- Under Akismet, click Activate.
- Click Activate your Akismet account, and then click Create a new Akismet key.
- Follow the instructions to create a key.
- Head back to the WordPress plugins page after your confirmation e-mail message.
- Under Akismet, click Settings and then click I already have a key.
- In the Akismet API Key text box, paste the API key that you received in the e-mail message.
- Click Save Changes.
- To configure Akismet, click Settings under Akismet.
Why do I recommend Akismet?
Simply, because Akismet is a default WordPress site comment spam filtering service. The name Akismet comes from Automattic and Kismet.
Eventually, Akismet catches blog comment and pingback spam using their algorithms. This algorithm learns from its mistakes and from the actions taken by participating websites. For example, when a number of websites start reporting similar-looking content as spam.
As such, Akismet will then learn to identify that kind of content as Spam in the future. Keeping in mind, on popular websites, the number of spam comments could get as high as 85%. And this means out of every 100 comments only 15 are legitimate.
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Of course, Yes! Comment moderation is a time-consuming task, and Akismet can save you hours. Akismet will catch spam comments before it lands in your moderation queue as pending. Allowing you to focus your energy on moderating comments by real users.
Additionally, it checks your comments and contact form submissions against its global database of spam. Preventing your site from publishing malicious content. So, with that knowledge, you can always review the comment spam it catches on your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
The key features of Akismet include:
- Automatically checks all comments and filters out the ones that look like spam.
- Each comment has a status history, so you can easily see which comments were caught or cleared by Akismet and which were spammed or unspammed by a moderator.
- URLs are shown in the comment body to reveal hidden or misleading links.
- Moderators can see the number of approved comments for each user.
- A discard feature that outright blocks the worst spam, saving you disk space and site speed up.
Please Note: An API Key is made from Akismet.com after activation. And although the API Keys are free for personal blogs, paid subscriptions are also available. For businesses and commercial sites too. That said, from this article, you can read and learn more about how to get API Key for Akismet.
And in nutshell, when operating a website, activating a spam blocker is an essential plugin. Without an anti-spam plugin, your website could be overtaken by malicious attacks, causing your site ranking to plummet and possibly become undetectable altogether until you make the necessary updates.
Why you should use it
One of the best ways to create a popular website is to interact with your audience. Allowing comments on your site is the perfect way to communicate and get feedback from your audience. The unfortunate reality is that according to current estimates, about 85% of all blog comments are spam.
Without Akismet, you would have to spend a ton of time sorting through all of your comments before you get to the actual legitimate ones. Not only is that time consuming, but it takes time away from allowing you to actually respond to comments in a thoughtful way. That was the point in allowing comments on your site in the first place!
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The bottom line is that Akismet is a powerful, time-saving solution! There are also more other reasons why you should use this WordPress plugin. For instance, publishing comment spam makes it look like you’re not paying attention to your own site.
In addition to that, you don’t want to risk your users clicking on a link that was posted within a spam comment. And if at all, Google may actually punish you for the links that spammers put in your comments. So, in order to be even more clear, it’s important if you’ll give it a try and then share your experiences.
What is Ghost and Referral Spam Traffic?
In addition to your website comments spam solution guide above, a new trend of ghost referral spam is screwing up your Google Analytics data.
And, in case you’ve noticed, are you not fed up of seeing these spammy sites. Like darodar, semalt, floating-share-buttons.com, and www.event-tracking.com in your list of referrers?
Well, if that’s the case then, it seems that you’re not alone! At the moment, referral spam is the bain of most webmasters and has been getting steadily worse over the past year. Obviously, meaning that you’re making money for someone somewhere without even realizing it.
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What I can say is that spam has quite evolved. And it’s not just an inbox and search engine problem anymore. Just like how spammers will bend to the lowest denominator to try to squeeze into your email inbox. It has found its way on Google Analytics.
What’s more, they can still really skew your analytics numbers. Including key stats like bounce rate and other engagement metrics. And the kicker? These agents of Voldemort work fast. Real fast. So, if you’re making big content marketing investments based on these numbers, it’s important that they’re as accurate as they can be.
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Not only are the numbers of hits from spam increasing every day, but so are the sources that have to be blacklisted and eliminated. So, with that in mind, in this article, you can read and learn more about referral spam and how you can prevent it by Alex Dealy — from ahrefs.com.
All in all, if you’ll need more help regarding this topic or even more of our blog articles you can Contact Us and let us provide more answers. You can also share your additional thoughts and questions in the comments section.
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