This is a guest post by Robert from The College Investor.
If you’ve been blogging for any period of time, you’ve inevitably had your content stolen. In fact, you’ve probably already taken steps to protect your content from being copied. And you’re also probably familiar with how to go about filing a DMCA takedown request.
However, I’m here to tell you to wait on doing that, and follow these two steps first! You see, content scrapers are stealing your content for two basic reasons—to make money off it, or to build a site for links and/or traffic with it.
As such, to really hit them where it hurts, you need to hit them at these basic levels. And it only takes a matter of minutes!
Hit them where they make money
Most content scrapers are in business to use your content to make money. If you’ve found their site, you will usually see some type of monetization, like AdSense.
Now, a huge part of being in compliance with Google AdSense Terms of Service is to only publish original content, and not plagiarize or steal content. If an AdSense Publisher is caught using someone else’s copyrighted material, it will result in the banning of their account, and the forfeiture of any revenue.
You can use this form to file an AdSense Complaint, and when you do, make sure that you select “This site is distributing someone else’s copyrighted material, possibly without permission.”
If you’ve read about being banned from AdSense, you know that it is very hard to get another account—you have to use a totally separate entity (such as a business), or another person has to open the account for you. Even so, if Google suspects any connections between the old and new account, the account will be suspended before first payment is made anyway.
Most pay-per-click advertising networks have some sort of reporting tool, so if the site isn’t using AdSense, you may still have an avenue for justice.
Hit them where they get traffic
The other reason why content scrapers steal your content is to use it to either build links or build traffic to their sites. However, if you’ve paid attention to any SEO news lately, you’ve undoubtedly read about Google’s search algorithm update. The search engine will now take into consideration valid copyright removal notices when it generates search results.
As such, it is essential that you report these scraper sites to Google using their Content Removal Form. This way, the offending sites will have their search results hampered, and may even be de-indexed.
It is also important that you submit the request to Google first, because they will usually verify the validity of the claim within 24-72 hours. If you get the content removed via DMCA, and then file a complaint with Google, the scrapers will stay in business because Google won’t see the plagiarized content.
Hit them where it hurts
If we all hit these content scrapers at these basic levels first, before we get our content removed from their sites, we can seriously impair their ability to make money and gain traffic, and hopefully slow down their actions. I’ve had a lot of success with this in my niche, and I know you can as well.
Have you taken direct action to go after content scrapers and other who plagiarize your content? Share your story with us in the comments!
Robert blogs at The College Investor, a personal finance blog dedicated to college students and young adults, and My Multiple Incomes, where he discusses his goals and methods to develop multiple income streams.