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The Ultimate Guide to WordPress Spam

If you are a blogger and have your own blog, you may be well-aware of spammers. Sometimes people, but mostly robots, these spammers post comments containing links leading to their respective websites on your blog’s comment section. While some people think the only way to get rid of spammers is to disable commenting, this won’t do you any good as they will continue to post comments even when their comments will not appear.

If you let this to continue to happen on your blogs, there will be a time that your website will stop appearing in the search results of any search engine. This will result in decreased or even no traffic to your blog, defeating the entire purpose of running a blogging website. However, you don’t need to worry, as there are many tools available today that can be used to avoid spam.

Before I tell you how you can keep your website safe from spamming, let’s go through some basics first.

What are the Different Types of Spammers?

There are broadly two types of spammers:

  • Human: Spamming content posted by an actual human being.
  • Automated: Spamming content is posted via a script capable of registering an account to a website.

Automated Spambot

Here are some common actions that an automated spambot generally does:

  • The post usually has a single or several links leading to a website’s landing page. There are can be short or lengthy text in the post, which may be easily seen.
  • It also has a description at the end either of the website or the forum profile of the spammer.
  • It may post replies on old topics.
  • It may post short or irrelevant replies on different topics or copy and paste an existing reply while slipping in a link with it.
  • It may post off-topic replies
  • It may post a reply in a completely different language than everyone is talking in.
  • The display name or the username may be the link or name of the website.

The good part is automated spambots are very easy to identify, and can be handled with the help of popular plugins that I have shared in this guide.

Human Spammer

Here are some common actions that a human spammer generally carries out:

  • They may easily get past a majority of the spam checks.
  • They may post replies to odd, random topics.
  • They may post infrequently.
  • They could have a Gravatar.
  • They may post on-topic replies.

Human spammers are generally difficult to spot and distinguish from among other users replying on forums or blogs. However, you can pinpoint human spammers by their actions, replies containing spamming content, and their profile.

Different Types of Spam in WordPress

If you have been blogging or participating in discussions on forums for long, you may be readily able to identify spam whenever you see it. They are generally odd posts with links and sales messages that are irrelevant, which you are not interested in and most likely be annoying to you. But with spammers getting smarter, especially the human ones, you may get fooled without knowing what hit you.

Here I have explained some common types of spam in WordPress that you may encounter on your blog or in a forum.

1. Splogs

This term comes from two well-known words: spam and blog. When there are registrations enabled on a multisite network, a spammer can easily register with a website and use up resources and bandwidth to post affiliate links and other forms of spam to irrelevant blog topics. Most of the times, they are crafted in such a way that they look like a genuine post, but in reality, they are not.

2. Comment Spam

This is the most common type of spam that is done in the comments section of a website. Generally, spam comments are filled with links or just one link leading to a site containing malicious content, like viruses and malware. These links may also lead to sales pages for knock-off designer clothes, pharmaceutical drugs, accessories, and other goods.

3. Pingback Spam

When a site posts the link of one of your posts in their blog, a notification is sent automatically to you. For this to work, you and the other site must have pingbacks enabled for receiving notifications from one another. Since they don’t include any excerpt, they are safer and results in fewer spamming activities.

4. Trackback Spam

When a site posts the link of one of your posts in their blog, a notification can be manually sent to you, which show up on your website as a comment. This is known as a trackback, and for this, an excerpt needs to be included. Just like pingback, both websites need to have trackback enabled. While this is meant to show that the other site is sharing your content and want to establish a sense of community, it is one of the tricks of spammers.

WordPress Plugins for Managing Spam

Here are several WordPress plugins that you can use to keep your website or blog safe from spam:

1. Akismet

WordPress has a built-in plugin, known as Akismet. If the version you are using doesn’t have this plugin, you can manually find and install it on your website. It is one of the best plugins available for controlling and managing spam. So make sure you install it if your WP blog is not already equipped with it, to keep spam from causing problems for you

2. Math Comment Spam

When you use Math Comment Spam with the Akismet plugin, it gives optimal results. It works by asking the user to answer a simple math question before they can post a comment on your blog or website. This is most effective against automated spambots as they are unable to solve the question.

3. Spam Karma 2

This plugin is specifically designed to fight off spammers in WP blogs. It uses tried and tested methods to help the blog owner to prevent spamming activities. For instance, the plugin will consign a certain depending on the age of a post, mailing address, and others. This score is used to put a rating on the post – the higher the score, the fewer the chances of the post being a spam.

4. RECAPTCHA

One of the most widely used plugins that most websites today have for protection against spam is reCAPTCHA. It is very effective against automated spambots and also discourages human spammers. It is the most recommended WP plugin in this list.

Conclusion

Spam is irritating and nerve wrecking. But you can take preventive measures to fight it off. Install one of the above plugins on your WordPress blog or website, and put a permanent ban on spam to make your life and that of your visitors easy.

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