Dealing with Stolen Content – A How to Guide

Whether you create content yourself, or hire someone to take care of projects where expert writing is important, you go to a lot of trouble to make certain your content is completely new and does not match any content that is already posted on the internet. Not only is that the “right” thing to do, Google and the other search engines are more likely to rank your page highly if it is full of new content. However, even after the articles or posts are live on your page, you still have considerations as far as originality is concerned—not everyone is as forthright as you are about not re-using content. Keep in mind these tips about stolen content as you try to build your webpage’s reputation.

  • To find out if anyone is using your original content, you must do a little reconnaissance work. You can either type an original passage from your page into Google in quotation marks (such as “my purple dog named Henry once went swimming with the sharks”) and see if any pages besides yours show up in the search results, or if you have a Copyscape account, this is an easier way to double check. Using Copyscape is even better, because it will check your entire document, instead of you just checking certain passages.
  • Register with Google to protect your content. According to Google Support, it is possible to protect your content using the tag “rel=author tag”. You would add this in the HTML at the end of your content and link this tag back to your Google profile. Once you set this up, it “should” stop scraped copies from outranking your page.
  • Deal with content thieves swiftly. If you find that someone is using your content, get in touch with them immediately and let them know this is unacceptable. You can often find contact information for a webpage owner by using the Whois Domain tool. Once you have the contact information, send an email or make a phone call letting the webpage owner know that you do not find this acceptable.
  • If the site owner does not cooperate, you can contact their webhost and report this behavior. While it does not work in every case, most web hosting companies do not look kindly on page owners that steal web content.
  • If those ideas do not work, you have one other action to consider before you take them to court. File a DMCA report. DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) reporting is available in your Google Webmaster Tools section of your account. The process is rather lengthy, but is often an effective way to combat content thieves.

Hopefully, you do not have to deal with the stress and difficulties of a content thief. However, many people find that it is easier for them to steal content than create it themselves. The best way to reduce the prevalence of this is by adopting a stance that you will not accept it, and spend time and effort to protect your original works.

Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.


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