Blog Post

How Google’s Invisible reCAPTCHA Will Improve Your User Experience

invisible recaptcha

From a marketer’s perspective, spam can be death. If your blog comments are bogged down by spam comments or other types of negative content, your Google rankings suffers and the user experience drops.

But at the same time, the same negative effects happen if you get overprotective. Google’s reCAPTCHA, for example, has been universally hated because of its complicated nature. Put simply, no one wants to decipher and type in fuzzy text read from a picture just to confirm what they already know: they’re not robots.

So for years, Google has sought to improve its anti-spam tool. The first step occured in 2014, when reCAPTCHA 2.0 performed automatic verification. Still, users had to wait some time while the verification script ran in the background. Now, Google is taking the final step: invisible verification.


Understanding reCAPTCHA

For those new to the concept, it’s a bit of an odd acronym. CAPTCHA stands for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart, which clarifies the concept a bit.

In short, it’s a system designed to let websites know whether users looking to interact with content are human or robots. The former should be able to comment, like, and share content as much as they want. To prevent spam, the latter should be blocked from doing just that.

You may not know the details of it, but you’ve seen CAPTCHA’s around the web for years. Basically, anytime you had to confirm you are not a robot (often by typing in fuzzy text from an image), you have come across the same basic concept.

The basic goal of any CAPTCHA effort is security. It fights bots, who post spammy link comments (reducing your search engine optimization) or provide false lead sign-ups. In short, it keeps your data clean and your SEO positive.


The New reCAPTCHA, According to Google

Of course, the traditional CAPTCHA also significantly reduces user experience. dSo for years, Google has made an effort to reduce the ways in which its verification affects users on websites that use the tool. The search engine giant brands these efforts the “noCAPTCHA reCAPTCHA.” In 2014, that effort paid first dividends:

On websites using this new API, a significant number of users will be able to securely and easily verify they’re human without actually having to solve a CAPTCHA. Instead, with just a single click, they’ll confirm they are not a robot.

On websites where its risk analysis engine didn’t spit out definite results, Google resorted to the next best thing. Rather than entering fuzzy text, users could pick matching images or their favorite color. This testing was more intuitive, but still required extra steps just to post a comment.

That’s done now. Google has officially introduced the Invisible reCAPTCHA. It’s a natural evolution of its previous efforts to simplify the process. Now, websites can confirm dynamically and in the background whether users are human or robot, and only those with questionable results will need to solve similar challenges to the above.


Building Your Website With UX in Mind

Google’s effort to improve user experience across websites should come as a welcome initiative to web developers and website owners everywhere. After all, your visitors need to have a positive experience to meet your conversion goals.

Any brand that publishes content or focuses on content marketing is looking for engagement. But tools that prevent that engagement could be just as damaging as the dangers they’re supposed to prevent. That’s why CAPTCHA’s, despite their benefits, have provided countless headaches for content marketers across industries.

In fact, one survey found that Google’s first iteration of the tool absolutely killed conversion rates. It discouraged visitors from becoming leads, a core goal of any content marketer.

Fortunately, that no longer has to be the case. Google’s Invisible reCAPTCHA allows you to prevent spam without annoying your web visitors. If you can run it completely in the background, your ‘regular’ audience won’t even know they’re subject to a Turing test.

That, in turn, allows you to build your entire website and its content with user experience in mind. You can safely encourage comments and generate leads, while at the same time keeping your data and SEO profile clean.


Implementing the Invisible reCAPTCHA

Given that it’s a new tool, you will have to make some changes to your script to make sure you’re accurately running the new Invisible reCAPTCHA. Fortunately, Google has provided a number of guidelines and a step-by-step process to help you get there.

When implementing the new tool and CAPTCHA challenge, Google provides web developers with three choices:

  • Automatically bind the challenge to a button,
  • Programmatically bind the challenge to a button, or
  • Programmatically invoke the challenge.

Each requires a slightly different development process. In the above link, Google provides specific scrips that can help you get your website ready. And of course, if you are running your website through WordPress, the first plug-ins already exist to ensure that your website remains secure and clean, without harming your user experience in the process.

Of course, you might still need help in making sure that your website does not suffer from spam and bots. In that case, working with a web development agency familiar with the tool and its potential implications makes sense. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you implement the new Invisible reCAPTCHA, improving your user experience without harming your security or SEO in the process.