Protecting site from User generated spam
As we all know, user generated spam can lead to quite a few issues for your site on google. It leads to your site being delisted temporarily, it leads to lower rankings due to link or content issues. It may even lead to your site being hijacked.
User generated spam (UGS) tends to be a problem for large, user-driven sites. Affected sites are usually exploited by spammers and black hats.
Google is now, essentially asking the site owner to get their own house in order. The message includes a sample URL where UGS has been detected. The penalty’s impact is removal from google’s search results. This however, is limited to the exact URL.
Sites affected by UGS often receive too many UGS messages. If that vulnerability isn’t taken care of then there chances that there will be thousands of malicious UG pages which google will take from their index in order to protect its users.
Users tend to comment on sites and leave backlinks to their site in a spammy manner. Such links created by users not only degrade user experience but also reduces the ranking and traffic.
UGS is a larger problem. The biggest user generated spam are - comment spam and forum spam.
A common example of users leaving comments on sites as backlinks to their private sites. Such links degrade the user experience on host sites while also impacting the ranking and traffic.
Google can penalize your site for having too much user generated spam.
How do you protect your site from it? Here are a few ways :
Keep your forum software updated.
Take the extra effort to keep your software up to date and pay attention to security updates. If you’re running an in-house solution, you’re more prone to this as a specialized technology provider will already have a set up for maximum security of your website. Spammers tend to take advantage of security loops in older content, bulletins and other CMSs. Are you paying enough attention to your software security?
Add CAPTCHA - CAPTCHAs are used so that users have to confirm that they aren’t robots and are indeed authentic users and not some automated script. While this may take a minute, it protects your site from damage.
Suspicious behavior must be curbed
Forums allow you to set time limits and you can find plugins for tracking excessive traffic from an individual IP address and activities common to bots. You may block any and all suspicious activity on your site with the same.
Comments don’t all have to go on
It's nice to manage your comments. Close threads that are unlikely to provide quality feedback. If left unmonitored you may have to deal with repercussions. While you can disable commenting, which is common on several platforms today it is easier to use an interactive tool that allows you control your user’s behavior. This helps you gain feedback while not being subject to spam from users.
Enable features in moderation that require users to have certain reputation before links can be posted and where comments with links require moderation. Disallow anonymous posting and make posts from new users require approval before being publicly available. Your team can help you review and approve posts. Keeping track of your new and more interactive users can help you manage any spammy behavior.
Don’t back down from blacklisting spammers
Inappropriate comments need to be blocked. Actively engaging with your audience shouldn’t have any downsides. If there are users who are frequently posting comments that are spams or inappropriate, don’t back down from blacklisting them. This will have no effect on the interactions. Instead, this will help subscribers know that comments by authentic sources are being displayed on your website and there is minimum misleading information.