How to spot a spammer

by Tolovaj

Rubbing shoulders with company of spammers can only hurt you. If you want to publish on free blogs, check for spammers first!

Using free blogging services has many benefits, but several downsides as well. One of them is they can be used by anybody. Some of the blogs are just pure spam, so it's always better to see if you are dealing with a legitimate blog or spammers' paradise.

Here are 10 telltale signs of a spammer on a free blogging service:

1. Weird language

When a free weblog service is abused for link building, it's in most instances outsourced to countries with low labor cost. This not means bad English as mine as a non-native speaker's English or even very bad English as by somebody who doesn't care at all English, but extremely bad as having a kid writing in very different language then translate it with Google translate and finally spun it (the same article is processed with a piece of software which changes certain words with synonyms, changes order of sentences adds some random lines from Wikipedia etc., what means the same article instantly makes hundreds of similar, yet 'original' variations).

example of spun content

2. Short and boring looking posts

While spammers in the beginning of 21st century rarely used more than 80 or 150 words per post, they are now more inclined to 500, 800 or even 1000 words. But even if they use so many words, their posts are not well formatted, often made of one paragraph only, hard to read for a human being, with a theme offered by a service as a default theme, without subtitles, bullet points left or right alignments etc.

If such spammer posted more than one post, they are all of the same length and visual apperance, like they were made by a template.

3. Targeted keyword in strategic places

There is an exact keyword like 'best denver seo services' or something like that in the title, URL of the post, a couple of times in the text, possibly once bolded, once underlined and once italicised.


4. The whole blog has only one (!) entry.

Spammers are cheap and they don't have time to build a blog in a natural way with numerous posts and interlinks among these posts. They don't link to posts of other bloggers or to authoritative references like online encyclopedias or government documents.

Spammer's post(s) looks like an island (or a few lonely islands)

5. The whole blog has three (!) entries

This is a sign of an advanced spammer. Such spammer takes more (but not much more) than cheapest spammers and posts three times, in most cases less than 24 hours apart. These posts also interlink to each other, there's a link to a targeted site (typically home or sales page), a link to other entry on the targeted major site (typically about or one the articles, if the site has any) and two or three links to 

authoritative sites from the same niche, which already have good reputation in the eyes of search engines.

Somebody who would like to target something related to link building would very likely include a link to the post by Backlinko or MOZ or somebody else who is highly valued in this category.

6. Very poor graphics or multimedia

Spun content doesn't include images which have numerous limitations: copyright issues, reformatting, compression ratio, tagging, etc. Pictures are very time consuming and it is next to impossible to find a spammer who uses more than one image or link to youtube video per post. In most cases, they post only text without anything else.

Let's see for yourself:

In a post like the one above hundreds of hours have been clearly invested. It could be made by a fan or a maniac, but never by a spammer.

Do you use free blogging services? Do you pay attention to spammers who publish there?


7. No interaction with other users of the same or another blog service.

A spammer is a hard worker and doesn't have time for social interaction. There will be no comments on his posts, he'll never leave comments or likes on others' (with an exception of blogs with comment LUV widget, but these are only on self-hosted blogs) and he'll never link to other bloggers from his post of a blogroll.

8. Some very limited interaction with other bloggers

This is a sign of an advanced spammer who leaves some generic comments like "Great post. Thank you." only to build so-called Tier 2 links to his post on the free blogging service. Such post is more likely indexed by search engines and has at least some social proof what makes it look better in the eyes of search engines. The intention of this spammer is not to build authority on the post or even drive traffic to it, but solely to improve the chances of indexing it.

In some cases, automatization is used for posting comments.


9. No or poor presence on social networks

When a post is published, owner naturally wants to promote it. Some do that by visiting friendly bloggers from the same niche, others by posting a link to their work on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks where spamming is not tolerated. Well, the spammer doesn't have time for first, neither a face for the other, so he goes for pinging services instead.

10. URL of the post is linked from numerous web-based analytical tools

This is often a sign of SEO agency which checks how many of their links are indexed and sends a report to the customer who ordered 'high original content'. You can check that by one of the links checking tools available online. They'll never list a complete list of links to the certain URL but will very likely present a very clear picture of link building efforts of a certain spammer.

Updated: 02/21/2018, Tolovaj
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Tolovaj on 07/19/2023

Long post or comment typically gets more attention from web bots and give the commenator better chances to be noticed (his link included) - by people and bots.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/12/2023

The first paragraph to your second subheading, Short and boring looking posts, explains that "While spammers in the beginning of 21st century rarely used more than 80 or 150 words per post, they are now more inclined to 500, 800 or even 1000 words."

What impels that increased verbiage? Is it a bad thing or a good thing? Perhaps going from too concise would be the former and to more informative the latter?

Tolovaj on 03/02/2018

Yes, we should, blackpanielgallery. They are always present danger. Thanks for stopping by.

blackspanielgallery on 02/26/2018

We must all watch for spammers. They can ruin a site rapidly. Thanks for writing.

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