Fighting Spam Form Fills from Google Ads

by | Apr 15, 2024 | Internet Marketing

Google Ads Success Comes with a Side of Spam:
Fight Back and Protect Your Leads


Google Ads is a fantastic tool to increase website visibility, but this surge in traffic often brings an unwelcome guest: spammers. Their automated bots bombard your contact forms with junk entries, wasting your time and potentially hiding real business opportunities.

It’s important to remember that your website can attract spam regardless of any ad campaigns, simply due to its online presence. However, Google Ads can amplify the issue by bringing in even more traffic. Let’s unravel the reasons behind this and arm you with the tactics to combat it.

How Google Ads Exposes You to More Spam

Increased Visibility Attracts Bots

A successful Google Ads campaign catapults your website into the limelight, significantly increasing traffic. While attracting genuine leads, this visibility also makes you a more noticeable target for spam bots. These automated programs relentlessly scan the web, seeking out vulnerable forms – a higher profile means a greater chance of being discovered.

Display Network’s Reach vs. Risk

Google’s Display Network offers unparalleled reach, showcasing your ads across a vast array of websites. The downside is that not all websites within this network maintain the same level of bot detection and filtering. When your ads appear on sites with lower security standards, you can inadvertently become exposed to spam traffic.

Spammy Blog Comments

Spammers see your website as a multi-faceted target. Google Ads, while attracting genuine visitors, can also inadvertently increase the number of spammy, low-quality comments on your blog posts. These often contain irrelevant links designed to boost the spammer’s website rankings or are packed with keywords in an attempt to manipulate search engines.

Malicious Competitors

In highly competitive markets, unscrupulous competitors might resort to underhanded tactics. This includes deliberately directing bots at your website. Their goal is to overwhelm your lead management system, waste your resources, and potentially disrupt communication with actual potential customers.

Forms That Real-World Spam Attacks Take

After launching Google Ads campaigns, we’ve seen a firsthand surge in the variety and insidiousness of contact form spam. Some submissions were blatant gibberish – random strings of letters and symbols clearly designed to slip past simple filters. Others were fake email addresses, unimaginatively formatted as “[email address removed]”. The most worrying ones, however, included links to shady external websites, raising concerns about potential phishing schemes. This just goes to show that spammers are constantly evolving their tactics, making it essential to have a layered defense in place.

Hidden Costs of Ignoring Spam

The onslaught of spam might seem like a mere annoyance, but ignoring it can have serious consequences. Firstly, the sheer volume of junk submissions can consume your team’s time. These are hours that could be dedicated to nurturing real leads and closing deals. Even worse, legitimate customer inquiries risk getting lost in the spam avalanche. Delayed responses lead to frustration and potentially lost business. Additionally, fake entries pollute your CRM data, making it unreliable for sales forecasting or marketing insights. It’s a hidden cost that jeopardizes data-driven decision-making.

Spam-Defense Toolkit for Battling the Bots

Start with these tactics, balancing effectiveness with minimizing friction for real users:

Honeypot Field

This deceptively simple solution involves adding a hidden form field that only spam bots would fill out. Humans won’t see it, but less sophisticated bots will blindly complete it, immediately revealing themselves as spam.

Form Validation

Simple rules enhance data quality and deter obvious fakes. For example, requiring an “@” symbol in the email field or specific character lengths in other fields can eliminate a surprising amount of spam.


The classic tool for distinguishing humans from bots. Consider modern, user-friendly options like Google reCAPTCHA v3, which often operates invisibly, minimizing friction for legitimate users.

Double Opt-In

Require users to confirm their email address via a link before being considered an official lead. This effectively weeds out many fake email addresses and helps ensure your lead list is more authentic.

Click Fraud Prevention

Tools like ClickCease proactively detect and block malicious or fraudulent clicks, including those originating from bots programmed to spam your forms. This paid solution helps reduce spam at its root cause.

Manual Review

While time-consuming, manually reviewing submissions, especially when spam volume is low, can be invaluable. This helps you spot emerging patterns that automated tools might miss, allowing you to refine your defenses over time.

Advanced Weaponry for Severe Spam Onslaughts

When basic spam-fighting tactics prove insufficient against a relentless onslaught of high-volume, ever-evolving spam attacks, turn to specialized solutions like PerimeterX Bot Defender. These services leverage advanced AI and behavioral analysis to identify suspicious patterns that even sophisticated bots struggle to conceal, protecting your forms and resources.

The Google Ads Catch-22: Pay to Play, Pay to Fight Spam

I’ve outlined various ways to combat spam, from honeypots to advanced AI-powered tools. But let’s be real, website owners shouldn’t bear the full brunt of this battle. Google, with its massive Display Network and sophisticated technology, has a responsibility to step up its game.

Sure, filtering the entire web for insidious bots is complex. And yes, we, as website owners, need to be vigilant. Yet, Google profits from our ads. Shouldn’t that come with a stronger commitment to shield us from the spam armies their very platform sometimes inadvertently unleashes? It’s time Google made enhanced bot protection a core part of its value, not just an afterthought.

The Final Word

In a world where online visibility comes with risks, remember that combating spam isn’t just about efficiency; it’s about defending the quality of your leads and your business reputation. Stay informed, adapt your defenses, and keep genuine customer communication flowing. For advanced spam threats, SharpNet offers customized protection strategies.