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How to Identify Stolen Content and Take Action

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The appearance of duplicate content could adversely affect your website search rankings, making it more difficult for prospective students, alumni and the community to find you. And as we all know, good content rules. So, why let others break them (the rules, that is)?

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How to Identify Stolen Content and Take Action

  1. 1. HOW TO IDENTIFY STOLEN CONTENT AND TAKE ACTION! By. Jordan Lowry Digital Marketing Analyst
  2. 2. STOLEN CONTENT  Imagine you and your team have worked hard to research, brainstorm, and produce stellar content.  Only to find out that unscrupulous webmasters have scraped content without your consent.  It can be inevitable that your content will get copied and repurposed, often times without a link.
  3. 3. HOW DO YOU RETALIATE?
  4. 4. STEPS TO DEAL WITH STOLEN CONTENT  We have compiled a set of easy to follow steps for getting back at the thieves who stole your content.
  5. 5. STEP 1: VERIFY YOUR SUSPICIONS ARE CORRECT  Perform a quick Google search to determine where else your copy may be showing up across the internet.  Randomly select a piece of copy from a webpage (copy and paste a few sentences in a Google search box) to run a query.
  6. 6. VERIFY YOUR SUSPICIONS ARE CORRECT
  7. 7. VERIFY YOUR SUSPICIONS ARE CORRECT  The search results will provide you with a list of webpages where that content appears.  As you can see in this example, there is another website using content I wrote without my consent (see the red arrow above).
  8. 8. STEP 2: INVESTIGATE THE EXTENT OF THEFT Check to see if your content has been copied verbatim.
  9. 9. INVESTIGATE THE EXTENT OF THEFT  You’ll want to check if this is an isolated event or if the website in question has copied multiple pieces of content.  However, in our example above, you will notice multiple instances of stolen content.  It’s time to take action!
  10. 10. STEP 3: REACH OUT TO THE WEBMASTER
  11. 11. REACH OUT TO THE WEBMASTER  If the webmaster’s email contact isn’t readily displayed, check the about or policy sections of their website.  The webmaster’s address is often hidden within these pages.  Once you have found the address, notify them immediately that you are aware of the offending activity and request they remove the stolen content.
  12. 12. REACH OUT TO THE WEBMASTER  Should the webmaster voluntarily remove the stolen content, have a latte your job is done.  However chances are most webmasters will ignore your request
  13. 13. STEP 4: CONTACT THE HOSTING PROVIDER  It’s time to perform a who-is- lookup. This will provide you with the webmaster’s identity and their hosting provider.  Let them know that a site they are hosting is blatantly infringing on your copyrights.
  14. 14. STEP 5: FILE A DMCA REQUEST  If the hosting provider fails to respond then its time to take more assertive action  Its now time to file a DMCA request  *It is important to note that you will need to have the authority to act on behalf of your organization to do this  You have the option of drafting your own DMCA takedown request or you can download a sample DMCA template to customize however you like.
  15. 15. STEP 6: REQUEST GOOGLE REMOVE CONTENT  Log into Search Console. This will take you to the copyright removal section within Google.  Simply follow the instructions and be sure to clearly describe the nature of work being copied.  Make sure to include URL’s where the copyrighted work can be viewed.
  16. 16. DMCA REQUEST  The DMCA request tends to work pretty quickly so you want to keep an eye on how many pages are currently indexed and compare it over the next few days or weeks.  You can easily run a search query to double check if the DMCA request is currently working.  If you are successful in your attempt at protecting your content then you will notice the indexed pages dropping off over time.
  17. 17. DMCA REQUEST Before After
  18. 18. END RESULT IF YOU ARE SUCCESSFUL
  19. 19. RECOMMENDED READINGS  How-To: Robots.txt Disaster Prevention  How to Properly Handle Pagination for SEO *Tool Included  How to Find Bot Traffic and Segment It Out in Google Analytics

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