Well, this is interesting. A couple of weeks ago I was checking on Google to see how my business blog was faring for certain keywords. I was shocked to find that my name and what I did was fairly prominent… but on other websites.
I often kid (kind of) about Google hating me and my blogs, but it never occurred to me that they actually love my stuff on other people’s blogs… that they’re not writing. Frankly, this could explain a lot of what’s going on with my traffic, especially if it’s being siphoned off to other places. What am I talking about? Let me share some examples.
I’ll use this blog as an example because it’s easier to do. In November I wrote a post titled The State Of Blogging – A Stream Of Unconsciousness which, for once, Google actually acknowledges from this blog in the first spot. However, after that we have these:
A blog called MedScribes has stolen my article and posted it here:
http://www.5emergencyroomhospital.tk/news/The-State-Of-Blogging-%E2%80%93-A-Stream-Of-Unconsciousness/ (no, I’m not giving them any links).
Not only have they stolen the article, but they’re showing all my images, showing the links I put into the article as theirs, and are even showing my copyright notice (the idiots!). BTW, I think this site also belongs to them as it’s showing the exact same thing:
and here: http://www.sirtu.net/news/The-State-Of-Blogging-%E2%80%93-A-Stream-Of-Unconsciousness/
A blog called How To Monetize Blog has stolen a portion of my article here:
These folks only took a portion of it but have linked it back to Bing instead of me… for some stupid reason. Well, except at the bottom, where they’ve stolen my title but are linking to something called autotraffic.fullcontentrss.com.
There were 2 other sites that supposedly had my content on them but Google at least alerted me that both sites were suspicious; I don’t intentionally look for trouble. 🙂
These are different days than they were 7 years ago. Back then, it took other websites and blogs a good amount of effort to steal the content of others. These days, all it takes is installing an RSS feed program, setting up some keywords and it all transfers automatically. The blog owners don’t even know what they’re stealing; they never look at any of the content. You can bet they’ve set up their sites to try to either sell something or drop some malware on you.
This is also the time when other people share your content; we all like that. I’ve seen my content (that other people share) on Pinterest sites, LinkedIn, Flipboard, Kingged, Triberr and StumbleUpon. At least on those sites you get a link back to your site; some of them even publish only a small piece of your content and link to it so people who are interested will visit you.
A friend of mine asked me why I cared so much about whether or not someone else was using my articles. I said it’s because of two reasons. One, because I wrote it! Two, because the search engines will see it as duplicate content and possibly penalize me for it. It’s hard enough getting visitors to our websites without other people stealing from us.
There are two things we can do about it; actually, 3 things.
The first is to send an email to the offenders and ask them to remove your content from their site. This has worked sparingly in the past because many times they don’t open the email.
The second is to file a DCMA notice. What this does is alert their host that they’re illegally stealing content and they have to shut it down… maybe. I add that part because some countries aren’t obligated to acquiesce to the notice… the weasels! Since two of the links above end in tk, which stands for Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, I might not get any satisfaction. But I’m going to try my best to get these things removed, especially since I have a copyright notice.
The third… well, sometimes you might not be upset that your content is on another site. In that case, maybe all you want is a link back to your site, which is easy to request. Right now, that’s not gonna get it done for me; I need to shut some people down! lol
How can you check for these things? Copy some of your blog titles, go to a search engine (Google’s good with this), and paste your title between quotation marks. If everything’s working right, your own post should show up first. If there are lots of titles like yours, then your title is probably too generic; that’s a red flag that hurts your SEO. If it’s not, then you have to look through the subsequent links to see where your content might be. Remember, some of the links might be from comments you left somewhere.
One last thing. A guy named Steve Williams read this post and shared a link to easily create a DMCA document; thanks Steve!
That’s all I have for now; let the games begin!