Cup of Copy: Spotting Spammers

There is a bunch of garbage on the Internet today, in both video and written format. I judge your video and written content on a daily basis due to my vast surfing of the Internet that my job requires. Fake content in video often includes staged happenings that are supposed to be real life. Fake content in writing can be much harder to spot with the untrained eye.

Here’s a list to spot check to see whether the writer is creating garbage on the behalf of a client or writing something that they enjoy talking about on a consistent basis.

computer virus alert sign, vector illustration

Frequency of Posts

Many of the higher tiered sites have editorial schedules that they make their ongoing contributors adhere to so there aren’t any random guest posts to fill the holes. A person with a weekly or monthly column on a site automatically increases their authority on a certain topic in my eyes.

I generally go through a couple of their posts to see if they’re just a link builder or an author with something to say. Many times, if the author is consistently contributing quality content, a link or two on behalf of a company won’t matter much to a site. The creation of good content each month is worth its weight in gold to many site owners.

Volume of Posts

If somebody is a “freelance” writer and has contributed almost every day of the week, I begin to question the legitimacy of this writer. Either this writer hasn’t reached out to other sites, has a lot of free time, or is being compensated by somebody other than the site to write this content.

Any of the three makes me question the authority of the writer. Either the writer is not of the highest of quality so they cannot write for other sites, they are a team of writers being paid for their posts, or they put out low quality content at an alarming rate.

Quality Versus Quantity

This goes back to the previous points. Quality and depth is the most important part of judging whether an author is spam or an authoritative figure. Oftentimes, highest quality articles take years of experience or days of research to come into full form. This is not saying that an author can’t knock out a few quality articles a week, but most authors know they aren’t going to hit a home-run every swing with their writing.

Author Bio

This is one of the most telling points about whether a writer is just a spammer or high quality author. If an author is published in print or has some type of book in the area that they are writing on, then I consider them a solid authority on the subject.

Even if the author has a small website that he or she publishes their thoughts on their niche on, I consider them to have some authority. The author bios that have anchor text laden links that go back to product pages are the ones that I immediately label as a link builder/spammer.

Links in Content

Links in content are used and needed to enhance the reader’s experience in an article. Unusual links are the first clues that get my spammer senses tingling. If the link is somewhat unrelated and naturally doesn’t fit into the article, even in my personal life I tend to exit the article because I know it was written with different motives than just entertaining and informing.

shutterstock_99217310

Post-Publish Activity

Engaging with readers via social media and the comments section is a big indicator of an authoritative writer. The writer will respond to both positive and negative comments equally. This is because the writer is writing about something they know and are passionate about.

Somebody disagreeing or encouraging their work deserves a response whether the comments are positive or negative. A writer with authority on a subject oftentimes has a bit of a following on social media outlets. Tweeting out their own stories and the stories of peers is a great way for them to gain clout in their industry and is a surefire way to see if they are an authority on a subject.

All in all, there isn’t any formula to knowing whether a person is a genuine authority on a subject; however, these eye tests make it easier to look for the telltale signs of spammers.

About the author

Tommy Wyher