Unfortunately in the blogging world there’s one thing we all have to deal with at one point or another – content scraping. Content scraping is when one person steals a post or article that someone else wrote, publishes it on their own site, and doesn’t source it. It’s a very frustrating moment. You spend hours working on an amazing blog post that you know your readers will love, only to have someone else copy and paste and reap the benefits on their own site.
While this used to have some serious SEO implications, these have been recently minimized by Google in new algorithms that help determine which post was the original and which is the duplicate. But, content scraping is still theft of your work. To help fight the internet thieves of the world you first need to know how to find out whether your content has been stolen, if it’s worth your time to pursue, how to get the thief to remove your content, and how to prevent it from getting stolen again in the future.
Though some content scrapers will just copy and paste the content, most scrapers use automated software that take the content from your RSS and post your content to their site. They usually post it verbatim so this makes it a little easier to find your content.
Here are a few ways to track down who’s posting your content:
1) Copyscape – Copyscape is a simple search engine that allows you to enter the URL of your content to find out if there are duplicates of it on the internet.
2) Google Alerts – set up alerts to ping you when someone mentions your content online.
3) Manual Searches – there is also the option to manually search for your content. Search for a long-tail phrase, something specific to include at the bottom of every post or just an excerpt from the body text. For visual content, use Google’s image search.
4) Webmaster Tools – this is a great way to catch content thieves. Simply go to your site in Webmaster Tools and look under Your Site on the Web > Links to your site. Then, sort by the Linked Pages column. Essentially, any site that is linking to your posts that isn’t a social network, social bookmarking site, or a die-hard fan who just loves linking to you is potentially a content scraper. You can find this out by clicking on one of the domains to see the details of what pages on your site they are linking to specifically.
So what do you do if you find that someone has been stealing your content? First, you can email them and let them know that you are the copyright holder of the post in question (find their email by doing a whois domain search if it’s not anywhere on their page.) You can offer them a one-time reprint fee of $XX, you can tell them that you’re available to create an original piece on this topic specifically for them for $XX, or you can simply tell them to remove the article within 24 hours and mention what the next steps will be if they don’t comply.
But what if they ignore you and your article is STILL up there? You can definitely file a DMCA complaint and wait until your content is removed. Hopefully, you probably won’t even reach this last step because most thieves are eager to remove content if you mention potential legal action.
Fighting against thieves can get exhausting and although there isn’t anything that can prevent people from stealing your content, there are a few tips that can definitely help. A good idea is to prominently display copyright notices. You can include a copyright phrase banner in the footer of your content to remind your readers to keep their hands off. You can do this on Copyscape, DMCA.com, or by using an RSS footer plugin for WordPress. The result can be a simple line on your blog posts that read “You’re reading “Are People Stealing Your Blog Posts? How to Fight Back” originally posted on BrideClick.net. If you’ve enjoyed this post, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!”
We want our bloggers to create quality wedding content that people will love, not content that people will steal. Even though there’s no effective way to prevent people from stealing your content, it’s important to know what steps to take when you find an article that doesn’t source back to you and how to prevent it in the future. Do you have any tips? Share with us in the comments!