How can you differentiate between real users, spam users & bots and filter them out?
One of the biggest nuisances website owners face is dealing with the endless army of spam bots that flood the comment sections of articles, product pages, reviews, and any other page containing forms.
Dealing with spammers and spam bots can be a huge burden – the stream of spam posts and comments can completely distort how your website looks and even put off real users that would like to contribute.
But that is not the only area where they can have a negative impact.
Spam visitors skew the data regarding usage of your website, making it difficult to gain valuable insights from analytics because you cannot distinguish which users are real and which visited to spam your website.
If your website is constantly under attack by spam bots, this can set off alarms for Google and other search engines, and they might even end up punishing your website and lowering its SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings or even blacklist it.
That is a price simply too high to pay, so it is important to arm yourself with all the tools necessary to make sure that your website becomes an impenetrable fortress for spammers and spambots.
Luckily, there is a wide variety of ways for protecting your website against spammers.
Best Ways to Protect Against Spammers
Since spam bots and spammers cause problems to almost all webmasters, many tools have been designed to help make spamming more difficult, if not completely impossible.
Here are a few things you could do today to protect your website against spammers and provide a better experience for your genuine website users.
Use a CAPTCHA
CAPTCHA stands for ‘Completely Automated Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’. It is a script that prevents bots from accessing your forms while still allowing human users to get through.
You have probably run into CAPTCHA on multiple occasions when surfing the web yourself – they usually require you to either solve a simple math problem, write out some letters from an image, or just check a box on the “I’m not a robot” form.
While it may seem pretty simple to you, CAPTCHA can be very difficult to get through for most spam bots because they do not have the capacity to perform the action that they are asked to make.
Still, you should consider if you want to use CAPTCHAs everywhere as it might deter users from engaging on your website if the CAPTCHA is complicated and time consuming.
Use Akismet or Similar Tools
If you are using WordPress, you can use Akismet or other similar tools to help block and delete spam comments before they even have a chance to publish on your site.
Because spambots are getting smarter every year, it is a good idea to have a tool which is being constantly updated and able to keep up with changing capabilities of today’s spammers.
Trick Spam Bots into Revealing Themselves
Spambots can be designed to be very elusive of all your defenses against them, but at the same time, they have a lot of limitations that, if used correctly, can help you put up effective barriers almost impossible to sidestep.
One effective and simple trick you could use is adding fields to forms only visible to spam bots accessing your forms directly rather than viewing them on your site.
This way you can add “honeypot” fields in your forms that will only be filled out by bots, allowing you to block them automatically without the need for manual review.
Preventing Spam is Essential for Your Website Growth
You might think that spam bots are little more than an annoyance, but spam can have significant consequences if left unchecked.
In the end, having to constantly fight spammers means less time to focus on what really matters – thinking of new ways to improve the user experience on your website, testing out different user interface layouts, or simply improving on-site optimisation to help your website improve search engine rankings.
There are a myriad of more productive ways to spend time on your website than fighting spam bots, so it is crucial to implement effective spam prevention practices.