If your website contains a blog chances are that spammers will try to abuse your website by posting deceiving content and links. A website containing spam is at risk for Google penalties and drop in search rankings, in addition to the negative impression such content gives to your human visitors.
Following are eight steps you can take based on Google’s recommendations to protect your website from user generated spam:
1. Secure your WordPress blog by keeping it updated
Spammers take advantage of security issues in older versions of WordPress. Read more about WordPress Maintenance Tips
2. Use CAPTCHAs to block robots
Spam is usually created by automated robots. A CAPTCHA requires users to confirm that they are humans and not an automated script before posting. One popular CAPTCHA service is Google’s reCAPTCHA.
3. Block suspicious behavior and check the top posters
Setting time limits between posts and blocking excessive traffic from individual IP addresses helps reduce activities coming from automated bots. Also, if a new user has lots of posts, it’s a good idea to check to make sure that they are not spammy.
4. Disable some types of comments
It’s good practice to disable comments on old blog posts that are unlikely to receive legitimate interaction. If you are using your blog as an archive, disable comments completely .
5. Use the built-in moderation features
Requiring a name and email address from comment authors as well as requiring approval for new author comments before they’re publicly visible helps reduce blog comment spam. Also make sure that a comment with links is held for moderation so you can review it before approving. These are found under discussion settings.
6. Blacklist obviously spammy terms
If you see that many spam entries on your site contain the same words, you can block these words by adding them to the blacklist (found under discussion settings).
7. Use the rel=nofollow attribute for links in user generated content
Nofollow links will deter spammers from targeting your site as using this attribute ensures that links they post will not receive any search ranking benefit. Alternatively, you could remove links from comments before they appear publicly.
8. Use anti-spam plugins
In addition to the above, anti-spam plugins will do a lot of the work automatically to help keep your blog spam-free.