Prevent and Remove Spam

"What is spam and why is it bad for my site?"

Webspam consists of web pages that are created with the intent of manipulating search engine algorithms for the purpose of unnaturally ranking a website or websites for specific keywords or search terms, often with the aim of monetary gain. More . . .

"How do I combat spam on my site in order to increase my SEO value?"

Part of being a site owner means having to perform a bit of occasional housekeeping. A consistently updated site can be a search engine’s best friend while a site that’s left abandoned can be its worst enemy. That’s why it’s important to ensure your site has not attracted spam.

Spam can exist in any application on your site that has an open form - your guestbook, blog comments, forums, etc. 

NOTE: Remember, simply uninstalling an application does not remove the content. The content itself will need to be deleted if you have spam.

Identifying Spam

What does spam look like? There are different types of spam comments but keep your eye open for these characteristics: 

  • comment makes no sense or is written in gibberish
  • random links to or references to prescription drugs or other controlled substances
  • overly complimentary and generalized
  • repetitive 
  • completely off-topic
  • same person commenting in bulk, usually on older posts

It is also important to use your own intuition when identifying spam. Some comments just don’t feel right for one reason or another. You are the site owner and you can un-publish comments at your own discretion.

Click through the following topics to learn where you can prevent and remove spam.

Members App

Member Settings

The best way to prevent spam to make sure your feedback only comes from approved contributors, like people that have to sign into your site in order to leave comments or forum posts. You can control the majority of this from within the Members App.

Once you install the Members App, go into Member Settings and scroll down to the option for “When a New Member Joins.” You will see three options:

  • Automatically accept them: Anyone who signs up with your site becomes a member
  • Accept if invited: If you invited them to join, they become a member automatically. You will need to manually approve anyone else who signs up
  • Manually accept them: Everyone who signs up with your site must be manually approved by you

Avoid choosing “automatically,” since this option is likely to attract bots. Use the “if Invited” or “Manual” option; these are people that you have verified are human.

Remove Members

If you have noticed any of your members posting spam, you can delete them at any time by clicking Manage Members from your Members App. From the Manage Members list, you can delete members by clicking the red delete option to the right of the member’s name.

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Click here for more information on the Members App. 

 

Forum Posts

Only approved members can leave forum posts, but spam can still get in if your member settings allow anyone to be automatically accepted as a member. Be sure that you are not automatically accepting members by referring to the Members App section above.

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Each forum post can be flagged for spam/abuse by other visitors to your site. If a member receives a number of flags, their membership will be automatically suspended.

You can also delete comments from your Forum when you are logged in as the site owner and administrator.

Click here for more information on the Forum App. 

Who Can Post Comments

Other apps have a Setting called “Who can post comments,” and the options will vary from app to app. However, it is generally recommended that you do not select the “anyone” option if you want to avoid spam.

You can find this option by clicking the Settings after first installing the application.

Blogs

When you first install and setup the Blog app, for example, it may be tempting to leave comments open to unregistered visitors in order to have more comments.

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It is recommended that you choose “Members” if you still want comments, but keep in mind that members can post spam too if their registration was not manually approved by you.

Click here for more information on the Blog App. 

 

Guestbook

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The “who can post” options for Guestbook are Anyone and Limited Members.

NOTE: A “limited” member is a member than can view password-protected content but cannot leave comments anywhere other than the guestbook.

Video Gallery

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Who can post comments: Anyone, Members, Disabled

Click here for more information on the Video Gallery App.

Photo Gallery

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Who can post comments:

  • Anyone
  • Limited Members
  • Members
  • Moderators
  • Administrators
  • Disabled

Click here for more information on the Photo Gallery Application.

Testimonials

"Who can post testimonials" options are

  • Anyone
  • Limited Members
  • Members
  • Moderators
  • Administrators
Delete Comments

A key difference between comments left by non-members (anyone) and comments left by members is that comments left by non-members can only be deleted. Comments left by members can be reported as spam. When a member has a number of reported comments, their account will be revoked.

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