Content thiefSuccess! You’ve spent your time and resources to create original and meaningful content as part of your content strategy. For a moment in time, things are going well: your new content is driving swaths of targeted traffic to your site and the daily number of visitors continues to increase. Then BAM – it happens quicker than lightening – someone uploads your content word for word on their site, diminishing its value. You’ve been plagiarized.

While syndication is common in the web, when a party posts your content without your permission, they’ve stolen from you and are tarnishing the value of your original content and its SEO value for your site. Remember, unique content is what keeps your site appreciated by consumers, so be sure to protect your content by:

  • Detect stolen content. To stop content scrapers, you must first discover that your content has been stolen in the first place. Sites such as Copyscape allow you to check if content from your URL has been posted anywhere throughout the web. If you use WordPress, take advantage of the trackbacks feature to see if your inbound links are coming from your anchor text that has been posted elsewhere. You can also set up Google alerts to your RSS feed to notify you whenever duplicate content has been posted online.
  • Get credit. Once you’ve discovered stolen content, you’ll want to ensure that you get credit for these copied posts. For WordPress users, the RSS footer plugin allows you to place a piece of content (presumably your authorship info) at the bottom of any piece, even if it’s been posted elsewhere. If you don’t use WordPress, be sure you have anchor text that at least links back to your site, so that if the copiers were lazy and didn’t check the outbound links, traffic could still be redirected to you.
  • Report the plagiarized content. Before taking drastic action, try contacting the site administrator kindly and ask for them to remove the copied content and take internal action. However, if they don’t comply, you can file a DMCA report through Adsense any time that you find your content copied. Just know that offender is likely going to get banned from Adsense for the offense, protecting the content of you and many other content creators out there. In short, try contacting site administrators first and if that doesn’t work, file a report with Adsense as a last resort.

How to Prevent Plagiarism Online

Sometimes the best medicine is prevention, so be sure to take the necessary steps to protect your online content! One of the easiest ways to do this is through Google’s authorship feature. The great benefit is that the content will be linked to your name and site and even if someone copies it, Google will know that the content is already associated with you. For specific instructions about setting up your Google authorship feature, be sure to read more here.

Have you had problems with thieving content snatchers? What steps did you take to protect your content?