What is Spam and How Can We Avoid it?
If you are a website owner and your website offers a Blog or News section, pages or even just a simple contact form, you have probably been on the receiving end of Spam. Sometimes it isn’t very noticeable but at it’s worst it can be very time consuming to manage and even potentially harmful.
You may get one or two a week or hundreds a day, but here are some things that might help see what is actually Website Spam and also what a website owner can do to help combat it. The solutions are mostly free but like anything, sometimes it pays to get the professionals to help depending on how well you manage your site and how much time you have.
Always Approve Comments
It goes without saying that you need to vet comments before they go live, but if they can currently appear to the public without your intervention you need to change this setting immediately; easily done from most Blogs in the settings menu.
Don’t Be Tempted…
Don’t be tempted to leave any generic looking Spam comments in just to make it look busier. People will tend to recognise them and it will deter real people from leaving real comments.
Bad for SEO
Spam will almost certainly contain bad links, and if they are harmful Google may punish you. Delete them as soon as you can.
Is Spam Easy to Spot?
Look out for words and phrases that bear no resemblance to your content or Blog. Most are easy to see; links to buy counterfeit goods or links to improve your SEO are always prominent. Look for bad grammar, generic comments like “I loved reading your post it was very good” as well as spelling mistakes as these are also common.
Check the email addresses registered with the post – if they are not valid or look suspect this is a tell tale sign. If you are really tempted you can try emailing them thanking them for the comment and ask them a question; if the email bounces back, there’s your answer!
If a comment seems really generic you could try copying it and pasting it into Google – and if you see it word for word on other Blogs you know its Spam!
So What Can We Do?
Easy steps for the Website / Blog owner are things like the Keyword and IP address ban section. You can also ban links being allowed in any posts. So if you are constantly bombarded with links to buy a particular product, or text repeats a word or phrase that has nothing to do with your site, enter it into the ‘comments black list’ settings.
You can also use this to enter an IP address that you want to ban.
Tools & Programmes
If you feel that your Blogs are just for news and to share them you prefer to use Social Media then you can turn comments off completely. If you want to keep comments active either seek our advice or the advice of the website provider on how to edit the settings accordingly.
You may also want to consider a paid subscription services such as Akismet. It does carry a small fee but can be effective. There are also other Free tools that can cut it down, and they can be installed to most websites by your website provider.
These can be added to general comments, and a lot of people use them on Contact Forms. If you find a large amount of Spam is coming through the Contact Form a simple Captcha Code box can added which requires an additional intervention. This could be a word or a simple sum where the user has to add the ? in something like “5+?? =7”.
As long as they are decent looking and fit the website design and theme they should not put off a genuine user.
Website Spamming & Services
If you want our advice or need us to take some action to combat the time and effort you are having to spend to deal with Spam, get in touch with us today.