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6 Steps to Fight Content Theft

Step 1: Make sure every single one of your blog posts has a call-to-action for an offer on your website, as well as a link or two to other pages in your website. Even if the content gets airlifted and put on another website, the call-to-action can still generate leads for you, and those links you put out there can count as inbound links to your site.

Step 2: Properly identify the extent of the damage. Google HATES spam, and certainly hates when someone outright steals content without attribution. The first thing you should do is go to the middle of your post, grab 7 or 8 consecutive words, and do an EXACT MATCH search for that phrase (that means wraps your phrase in double quotes). If your domain is the only one that returns results, Google has already stripped the horrid content farm from the index, so skip to Step 4. However, if other domains show up in addition to yours, move on to the next step.

Step 3: Report the duplicate content to Google using your Google Webmaster Account. Heck, I’ll make this easy - here’s the link to report spam content to Google .

Step 4: Check out the offending site, and look to see if they have any ads being displayed through an ad network. Usually there will be a bit of text (or maybe even a text link) near some of the ads that call out which network is being used. These folks are paying money to your black hat “friend”, and most don’t appreciate being associated with liars, cheats, and thieves.   Find a way to get in contact with the ad network and rat on the guy that stole your content.

Step 5: Run a WhoIs report on the domain, and see if they’re hosted in the US. Just like with ad networks, ISPs don’t like to associate with bad apples. Most of the time, the company handling the DNS Nameservers is also the company that does the hosting, so get in touch with them and squeal, and if they're not the host, they should be able to point you in the right direction.

Step 6: Use tools and technology to prevent further abuse. Most analytics packages should be able to help you identify suspicious behavior, and sniff out the IP addresses associated with the folks that came and stole your content - especially if they are doing this in an automated fashion. Look for visits that have a high page view count, low time on page, non-standard User Agent strings, and came from direct traffic. Once identified, work with your tech team to block or hamper these guys from visiting your website. There’s also tools, like Embed Anything and Tynt that will protect your content to some degree (disclaimer: HubSpot uses Tynt to protect the content posted to this blog, and this mention should not be considered an endorsement or promotion. Do your own research and find the product that fits your specific situation).

Just remember, at the end of the day, a search engine is trying to return the absolute best result for every query and every searcher, and they fundamentally understand that stolen content is never the best result.

Photo Credit: lovelypetal

Originally published Jan 21, 2011 1:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017


SEO and Content Marketing