How to Handle Stolen Content

Imagine you have worked hard to craft the perfect blog or content piece, only to find out that it has been stolen – without your permission. This is an issue with aggregator sites who scrape content without webmaster’s consent.

Duplicate content becomes an issue with SEO and can negatively impact your website’s search rankings. This makes it more difficult for your target market to find your products or service offerings. This is why it’s worthwhile to regularly check if other websites are stealing your content.

Chances are you have been the victim of intellectual property theft and probably don’t even realize it. To combat this here are a few steps you can take to get the content in question removed.

Here are six easy steps for addressing stolen content.

Step 1 – Check to see if your content is being stolen.

Simply, perform a quick Google search to determine where else your website copy is appearing online. You can simply select a few sentences from your site and paste it into Google’s search box. You want to run a query with your content and see where else it appears. This query will indicate if other websites are stealing your web copy.

 Stolen Content

This search will provide a list of domains where your content appears along with your own.

Step 2 – Investigate whether it’s a one off offense or if multiple pages have been copied.

When analyzing the extent of the plagiarism, check to see if your content is copied exactly or simply re worked. Also, you’ll want to check if this event is isolated or if it has occurred across your entire site. You can perform the same query across other key content pieces and see if they have been copied as well.

Stolen contentStep 3 – Notify The Webmaster

Reach out to the webmaster where the stolen content has been re published. If the webmaster’s contact information isn’t displayed, check their about page of their website. Often times the contact information is buried within the site.

Once you’ve found an email address, notify them you are aware of the offense and request they remove the content within a predefined period. A week is sufficient enough.

Should the webmaster remove your content have a quick celebration, your job is done. Reward yourself with a beer. However, in my past experience if a site is scraping content they aren’t likely to remove it the first time.

In this case, it’s time to escalate the issue a bit further.

Step 4 – Notify The Appropriate Hosting Provider

To find the appropriate hosting provider we will make use of a whois-lookup. This neat online tool lets you identify the webmaster in question and the hosting provider. You can use this information to reach out and let them know that a site they host is violating your intellectual copyrights.

You can directly request they take the content piece down.

 Step 5 – File a DMCA Request with Google

If the hosting provider does not properly resolve the situation then it’s time to file a DMCA request. Only take this step once you have reached out to the webmaster and hosting provider. As a side note, you need to have the authority to act on behalf of your organization prior to filing the request.

You can easily draft your own DMCA takedown request or use this DMCA Take Down Notice Template and customize it how you see fit. After you have sent the DMCA notice, give the website roughly a week to respond. If you still don’t hear back within your designated time frame then it’s time to reach out to Google.

Google can directly remove the page in question from their index.

Step 6 – Reach Out To Google

Log into Google Search Console/Webmaster Tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice. This will take you to the copyright removal section within Google. Follow the instructions and clearly describe the nature of the work that has been scraped. Include all relevant URLs where the stolen material can be accessed. Also, include a link to the stolen content.

The DMCA request works fairly quickly. However, you will want to keep an eye on how many pages are currently indexed on the infringing site. You can periodically check this by running a query containing a snippet of the stolen content. If your takedown request went through properly, you will notice Google has removed the pages from their search engine upon successfully completing their investigation.

Additional Monitoring Tip: If you want to check back on the progress of your request, perform a site search and make note of the number of pages that are currently indexed. Compare this number to future searches and you will likely notice differences between future and past indexed pages. This is a sign that Google may be taking the appropriate action.

Thanks for reading How to Handle Stolen Content until the end at HakiReview! Good Luck and Happy Hunting!

Jordan Lowry

I am a passionate SEO analyst who loves finding creative and innovative solutions to everyday marketing issues. Keep up with me at The Search Console!

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