If you run a WordPress website, chances are you’ve gotten frustrated over the amount of spam you’ve received via comments and other methods at least once before. As awesome as WordPress is, spam is often a dark cloud which looms over it. But it’s not just WordPress comment spam, we’re talking spam in your email, your forums, and your contact form. While comment spam on WordPress is often instantly recognizable, sometimes it can be a little less obvious, with a slightly more personalized message: Great article! Now check out my website..
Not only is it personally irritating, spam can also be harmful to your website, leaving you with unforeseen consequences if left unchecked. Whether it be driving users away from your comment section or damaging your SEO ranking, it’s time to make stopping spammers a mission of yours. But how? In this post we’re going to examine WordPress spam in more detail and provide some tips on how you can manage and prevent spam on your blog in the future!
The 3 Types Of Spam
There are three main types of WordPress spam you should be familiar with.
1. Spambots – Generally speaking, spambots are automated computer programs that carry out repetitive tasks with zero human interaction. The downside for spammers is that these can be very easy to spot. When it comes to your WordPress blog, spambots are responsible for posting those automatic comments that flood your website.
2. Trackbacks & Pingbacks – Similar to email spam, blog spam has its own goal – to acquire backlinks. Although a high-quality backlink is deemed important by Google as a ranking signal, it’s more or less defined as a link from one website to another. Trackbacks and pingbacks, though, defeat the purpose of backlinks, so links get published on your website which point back to other websites which are often irrelevant and not worth clicking on.
3. Manual Commenting – Just as the name suggests, this is when people actually sit and post comments on your website. While the content can sometimes be laughable, this can really do a number on your website. A manual comment almost always includes a link that goes back to the authors website.
How To Prevent WordPress Spam
I hate to be the one to tell you this, but comment spam is unavoidable. Still, you can do something called ‘moderate’ your comments by using the built-in tools WordPress offers. How? First, make sure you’ve turned on comment moderation. This means you will need to approve any and all comments before they ever get posted to your website. Don’t have time to sit and review every single comment that comes in? You can easily set some boundaries in your WordPress Dashboard (Settings > Discussion) based on several factors, such as:
Blacklist commenters if they’ve previously posted spam.
Disable trackbacks and pingbacks.
Flag a comment as spam based on the number of links it contains.
Only allow users that are registered to post a comment.
Another great tip is to use CAPTCHA on your WordPress forms, which stops spambots in their tracks. CAPTCHA refers to short visual puzzles that only humans can solve. It doesn’t cost anything for individual users who run small websites to use the service, so I highly recommend you look more into it. Plugins like reCaptcha will let you add CAPTCHA anywhere you want on your blog, whether that’s the comment section or contact forms.