No one likes spam since it is annoying, clogs up your email, never says anything good and just pesky. There are various methods of blocking spam from your website to your email address; however some methods are more effective than the others.
Captchas have gained popularity over the last few years since these tools confuse automated spam programmes and bots from entering information in to contact, quote and other web forms. This being said, captchas are not preferred by many people because these tools can be troublesome for Internet users and can affect a company’s conversions rates significantly.
Listed below is some important information you should consider before adding captchas to your website and a little information form a small study.
A case study was conducted on 60 websites and each of these websites has been operational since 1 to 6 years. All the forms on these websites were a collection of information such as, but not limited to, names, addresses and phone numbers. These forms also contained a comment area and email addresses.
The study was conducted over 8 months with 50% websites that contained captchas and 50% websites without these spam blocking tools. After 4 months of the study, the captchas were switched to the other settings and data was collected for failed conversions, successful conversions and spam conversions for all of the 60 websites.
- A spam conversion was recorded only when the submission was either promoting a service or had more than the allowed number of links.
- A failed conversion was recorded only when either a bot or a user entered the wrong captcha after a significant number of tries.
- A successful conversion was recorded when the right information provided in the webpage minus any spam related information.
Results and facts were as follows.
When the captcha was turned off, a total of 2250 conversions were entered. In addition, there were 95 spam conversions and 0 failed conversions.
When the captcha was turned on, a total of 2360 conversions were entered. In addition, there were 20 spam conversions and 210 total failed conversions.
This study indicated that with captchas in place, spam was reduced by more than 80%; however there were also a significant number of failed conversions. The failed conversions could either be a result of spam or because people kept trying to solve the captcha but couldn’t and finally gave up. While this study indicated that spam can be greatly reduced by captchas, it also indicated that companies could lose out on business by at least 3% if they used this spam blocking tool.
What does this mean for spam and SEO?
Since most companies thrive on conversions to make money, these failed conversions that totalled up to more than 3% could prevent businesses from reaching their target. Due to this, our conclusion of this study is that a few spam conversions are better than losing income since spam conversions can be sorted out.
Clients who are interested in reaching their targets and avoiding failed conversions should opt out of using captchas. Another viable solution may be to use CSS to hide a form filed that is meant to be left blank or unfilled. In this scenario, every time the form is submitted, you will have to check if the filled is blank or has been filled it. If it has been filled in then you can mark it as spam. However, the verdict is still out on the success of the honeypot captcha technique that uses CSS.