Recently conducted research shows that Google is pretty useless at dealing with stolen content. This means that if people can appropriate your content, they can also steal your positions, and even go on to rank higher in Google off the back of your copy. Stolen content is therefore an issue you should keep on top of, if you don’t want to lose time, money, and traffic.
Below are 10 tips to help you stay one step ahead of content thieves.
1.Monitor your content on a daily basis
It’s all well and good monitoring your performance, but most SEO platforms don’t facilitate the type of in-depth, granular tracking that’s really needed to spot and knead out potential threats. Daily tracking of your key online assets is without a doubt the best, most foolproof way to avoid the negative impact of stolen content. Checking the position of your content regularly will also mean you become familiar with your direct competitors, making it easier for you to detect any suspicious activity as and when it occurs i.e. if a similarly themed page suddenly appears in your immediate SERP vicinity.
2. Create unique copy with long tail, specific search terms
Research states that it’s harder for content poachers to position for long-tail search terms. Therefore, if you want to put off any potential thieves you should theme your copy uniquely, and ensure it answers specific questions. This will also make it easier to recognise, should it pop up on another site.
3. Set-up personalised RSS scripts and create a copyright notice
To ensure you get credit for your time and efforts you can add a personalised RSS script to the beginning or end of your content, which means it will get automatically posted when shared elsewhere. You can also add a copyright notice alongside your content, to ward off any content thieves.
4. Identify any suspicious drops
This feeds back into tip one – even small, seemingly insignificant drops should be looked into, as they can preempt a significant loss of visibility. The first base to cover is whether another of your assets is conflicting with your content (due to poor linking/duplication). Once you’ve ruled out any cannibalisation issues, you can then explore the possibility that an external site has stolen your copy.
5. Pinpoint which content has jumped into your exact position
Research shows that when people lift content off of your site, they will more than likely jump into your exact position too. So, to discover which site has appropriated your copy, you need look no further than your former ranking.
6. Use online web tools to identify any stolen or duplicated copy – Copyscape & Google Alerts
Copyscape helps you to unearth the sites that are reposting your content. You simply have to enter your content’s URL, and it will draw up results of any sites with duplicate content. Google Alerts alternatively enables you to enter keywords lifted directly from your content, and sends you an email if any sites reuses them.
7. Ask nicely for any stolen, dupe copy to be removed
If you do come across your own content on another site, your first step should be to contact the author and request they remove it. If this doesn’t work you should notify them that they will be reported if this isn’t actioned.
8. Contact the website service that hosts the site
To report a site for stealing your copy, you can find out the site’s host via www.whoishostingthis.com, and make them aware of the issue. Hosts may even remove the entire offending site - they don’t take kindly to content thieves.
9. Google Webmaster Tools – DMCA Complaint
If you’re not successful via the above methods you can file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint via Google Webmaster Tools. This takes time and is more of a drastic measure, which should really only be undertaken if all other options have been exhausted. As a result of this, Google will ban the offending site from its search engines, and will remove any affiliated Google Adwords accounts.
10. Back to prevention - i.e. monitoring content daily
If you’ve been through the tedious process of trying to get someone to remove your content from their site, you’ll want to make sure you never have to do it again, and if you follow the first three tips, you won’t have to.
If you have had any issues with stolen content, and would like further help or information don’t hesitate to get in touch via www.pi-datametrics.com
By Louise Linehan, Marketing Executive at Intelligent Positioning
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