6 Ways To Block Contact Form Spam Leads And Control Bot Form Fills

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Chad G. Peterson
October 13, 2023

Every marketing leader understands the importance of accurate data. When bots infiltrate your website forms, they muddy your insights and waste precious resources. For the CMOs and VPs of Marketing, managing these nuisances can be crucial.

Here are six tried-and-true strategies to ensure your forms remain spam-free.

1. Multi-step forms

Multi-step forms provide a user-friendly interface that also deters bots. Unlike single-step forms, multi-step ones break down the information-gathering process, making it easier for users but harder for bots.

Think of it as hurdles in a race. The more you have, the harder it is for bots to complete the race, but if designed right, users won’t even notice the hurdles.

Implementing multi-step forms will not only enhance user experience but will also significantly reduce bot submissions. By making forms a multi-step process, you’ll enhance user engagement and decrease spam simultaneously.

2. Geo-fencing

Geo-fencing ensures that only users from specific locations can access the form. By setting a virtual boundary, submissions outside of these geographical zones are restricted.

Imagine a local business in Chicago. They might not need form submissions from someone in Australia. Geo-fencing ensures that.

For local businesses or those targeting specific regions, geo-fencing can help fine-tune the audience and remove irrelevant submissions. If your business caters primarily to a local audience, geo-fencing is essential.

3. Google reCAPTCHA

Google reCAPTCHA is a popular tool to separate humans from bots.

It asks users to identify objects in images or simply check a box to prove they’re human. Remember the last time you were asked to identify traffic lights in a picture? That’s reCAPTCHA at work.

While it’s user-friendly, with bots evolving, some might slip through. It’s advisable to keep it updated and pair it with other methods. reCAPTCHA is a beneficial first line of defense, but ensure it’s not your only one.

4. Simple questions

Bots might be smart, but simple math or logic questions can easily trip them up.

By adding a quick question like “What’s 2 + 3?” you can stave off a majority of automated spam. It’s akin to asking someone at your door a basic question to verify their identity.

Integrate these questions into your forms to filter out automated submissions without inconveniencing genuine users.

A simple question can serve as a strong deterrent for bots, keeping your forms cleaner.

5. Disallow links

Manual spammers often include links in form submissions. By disallowing or flagging submissions with URLs, you can curb spam.

It’s like refusing to accept letters with suspicious attachments—they’re more trouble than they’re worth. Adjust your form settings to reject or flag submissions containing URLs, ensuring a higher-quality submission pool.

A simple setting change can deter manual spammers from targeting your forms.

6. Honeypot system

The honeypot system is a silent sentinel against bots. This method involves adding an invisible field in the form.

Humans can’t see or fill it, but bots can and do. Consider it a trap. If the field gets filled, you instantly know it’s a bot.

Incorporate a honeypot field into your forms. Monitor it regularly to catch and blacklist offending bots. With a honeypot system, you’re laying a trap that bots can’t resist but fall into, ensuring cleaner data for your marketing endeavors.

Further actions to prevent bot spam

Even if some bots manage to sneak through your initial defenses, you can still take proactive steps to ensure they don’t return.

IP exclusions:

Once you’ve identified the source of malicious traffic, consider implementing IP exclusions. By blacklisting specific IP addresses associated with spambots, you can effectively prevent them from accessing your forms in the future. This method requires regular monitoring and updates, as spammers may frequently switch IPs.

Domain blocking:

Often, spambots are associated with particular domains. If you find recurring patterns in spam submissions pointing to specific domains, take preemptive action. Block these domains to halt the influx of bot submissions from those sources. Similar to IP exclusions, this method will require occasional updates as spammers evolve.

Both of these methods require vigilance and regular monitoring, but they can dramatically reduce the recurrence of spam submissions, maintaining the integrity of your data and freeing up your resources.

Combining these advanced techniques with the previously mentioned strategies will fortify your website against current and future spambot invasions.

Final thoughts

Incorporating these strategies will provide a robust defense against unwanted form submissions. For forward-thinking marketing leaders, ensuring the integrity of your data is paramount. Stay ahead, stay clean, and most importantly, stay bot-free.

Facing persistent spam issues and campaign hiccups?

Contact Perfect Search Media today and let us pave the way for a seamless and successful SEM partnership.

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