If your website has a blog or a public forum, where users can voice their comments/suggestions, there are great chances that spammers will try to abuse your website by posting un-wanted content and links through Comment fields. Google recently has come up with advice on what you should do to avoid user generated spam on your website:
- Enhance the security of your Blog:
Secure your website forum by keeping your forum and blog software updated and patched. Spammers take advantage of security issues in older versions. For that reason, it is important that you keep your software up-to-date.
- Use CAPTCHAs to block robots
Normally, spamming is created by automatic robots. A CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is added in forms so that users have to prove that they are human beings before posting something on your site. This is done by asking the user to manually do some activities like filling blanks based on simple math calculations, recognizing patterns etc. One of the most popular CAPTCHA service is Google’s reCAPTCHA.
- Block suspicious behavior and check the top posters
Set time limits between posts and block excessive traffic from individual IP addresses. There are other activities that distinguish automated bots from human beings. Most forum platforms offer configurations that automatically block suspicious behavior. If a new user has an excessive amount of posts, it’s a good idea to check these posts to make sure that they are not spam messages.
- Disable some types of comments
You can also think of disabling comments on old blog posts. No user will ever visit posts which are more than 1 year old. Hence very old entries shouldn’t have a functioinality of posting a comment by users. Spammers will have 1 less way of hacking your site.
- Always use the moderation feature of your CMS blog or forum
A new user’s post should never be automatically posted on the website. For example, users might be required to have a certain right before they can post their comments. Only a registered user should have the rights to post comments. Anonymous posting shouldn’t be allowed at all. Posts from new users should require approval, moderation by the Admin, before they are publicly visible. Most CMS based blog and forum platforms like WordPress, Blogspot offers these features.
- Blacklist obviously spam terms
If you find out that many spam entries on your site contain the same words, block these words. Most forums and blog tools offer features that enable you to automatically mark posts with particular words as spam.
- Always use the rel=nofollow attribute for links in where the users have added some data
As a thumb rule, any blog tool will automatically add the rel=nofollow attribute to user generated links. This functionality will stop the spammers from targeting your site by their own generated links.
- Use anti-spam plugins
In addition to the above, anti-spam plugins can help you to keep your blog and forums spam-free. One of the popular anti-spam service which offers plugins for many blog and forum systems like WordPress is Akismet. Automatic and user-generated spam will definitely have a negative effect on your web pages’ ranking on Google. If you targetting a high ranking for your website on Google or any other search engine, your web pages should have the original content and good links.
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