9 tips on how to effectively protect your site from outbound spam links.

Which website operator doesn’t know: The unloved, automatically generated spam messages in the comment areas. Not only are this deterred new and returning visitors, but search engines also receive false signals from this user-generated spam. As part of Search Engine Optimization , it is important  to avoid creating such harmful links as much as possible.

The search giant Google is well aware of this problem and is therefore describing possible countermeasures in its blog. Of course, we don’t want to withhold these suggestions from you.

1. Keep your software up to date.

Sure: this takes time, but the regular installation of updates and security patches is essential for all types of blogs, bulletin boards or content management systems to protect against spam. Older versions are often no longer supported by software manufacturers and should be replaced accordingly.

2. Use CAPTCHAs.

CAPTCHAs require actions from the user that clearly identify them as human. In this way, automated scripts can no longer place harmful spam messages, since they are effectively denied access, even if this YouTube video tries to prove the opposite . (Attention, irony!).

3. Block suspicious activity.

Many forums such as phpBB or myBB offer the option of regulating the time interval between posting and subsequent posting. In addition, you can use external plug-ins to prevent excessive traffic from certain IP addresses and / or proxies if this data traffic clearly does not correspond to human behavior but is apparently caused by bots.

4. Check your top users daily (!).

You should take a closer look at recently added users with an unnaturally high posting frequency. A bot could have gained access and dump unwanted spam in your forum.

5. Consider the targeted deactivation of postings.

For example, it can make sense to deactivate older, rarely or completely unused threads in order to offer as little attack surface as possible to possible abuse by spammers.

6. Use moderation functions.

Many forum systems offer you as an admin the function of allowing users to post links only after they have achieved a certain reputation; Another option would be that links first have to be approved by moderators. These functions should definitely be used. If possible, the standard deactivation of anonymous postings also makes sense. You can also specifically appoint trustworthy users to be moderators in order to distribute the workload of monitoring forum activities.

7. Use blacklists.

Obvious spam, such as the offering of illegal streaming services or pharmaceutical products, should be blacklisted directly. The use of corresponding built-in features and plug-ins from third-party manufacturers are useful for identifying such links.

8. Use the “nofollow” attribute.

Links in the comment areas should be set to “nofollow” by default. Many blogging sites such as Blogger offer this functionality out of the box. In this way you do not offer spammers any possibility of targeting your page from the outset.

9. Use automated systems to prevent spam.

Systems like Akismet offer plug-ins for many blog and forum systems. They are easy to install and the spam protection is largely automated.

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