You know your blog is popular when someone else copies and publishes your content on their own website. But having your work blatantly stolen can be disheartening to say the least. When you invest your time, energy and money into creating high-quality content for your blog, you don’t want others “piggybacking” off your success.
So, what’s the best course of action to take in instances such as this?
How to Identify Stolen Content
First and foremost, you’ll need to identify what content (if any) has been stolen from your blog. There are several different ways to do this, one of which is to simply search for an excerpt in Google. Take a sentence or two from your blog’s post or page, and search for it in Google (with parenthesis). Keep in mind that some aggregator websites may automatically copy and publish content from other blogs. This is somewhat of a grey area, as aggregators don’t necessarily have permission to publish the content, yet they remain operational.
Another way to search for stolen content is to use Copyscape. Enter your blog’s URL and it will reveal whether or not the content is published elsewhere on the Internet.
Will Stolen Content Hurt My Search Rankings?
Because we don’t know the exact formula Google uses to rank websites, we can’t say for certain whether or not stolen content will hurt your search rankings. However, Google has said in the past that small amounts of duplicate content will not affect a website’s search ranking, and that roughly 40% of the entire Interest consists of duplicate content. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that your search rankings will remain intact if another website steals your content.
Dealing With Stolen Content
In the event that someone steals your content, your first course of action should be to contact the webmaster. Find the webmaster’s email address, and let them know that you are the original author/owner of the content and request they remove it from their website. This doesn’t always work, but it’s certainly worth a shot! If they fail to respond, or if they decline to remove your content, contact the web host of the server on which the content is hosted, informing them of the stolen content.
You can also file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown request via Google Webmaster Tools. Once the request has been submitted, Google will review both your blog as well as the website or blog on which your content has been stolen and published. If they deem your blog to be the original author, they may opt to remove the offending website from their search index. But again, there’s no guarantee of success when filing a DMCA takedown request.
What steps do you take to protect your blog’s content from theft? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23905174@N00/