For some time now, the most popular posts in the sidebar list have been put there by spam.
But the Popularity Contest plugin still counts each spam comment as a vote for the popularity of a post. So the popular posts are those that are most keyword targeted by spam bots.
I’ve zeroed out the weight comments play in popularity, but the spam bots are still officially visiting the post pages, so they still tend to rank highly based on traffic alone.
I may need to look into the Bad Behavior plugin, which is supposed to prevent spam bots from hitting the blog at all.
Has anyone else encountered this same issue?