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Check For Stolen Website Content

Plagiarism is rife – and most people think they can get away with it, but technology allows you to check who’s stealing your fine, eloquently written website text. This is important; it’s not just the cheek of someone stealing your work, it can actively effect your SERP ranking in search engines – Google doesn’t like copied content and just may let you know by punishing your site.

All sounds a bit extreme of course and yes there is tons of duplicated content out there, but we all want to control our written content and where it goes – and we can..

stealing web content

There are numerous tools out there that will allow you to check for stolen content. Some work better than others and some limit you to a few searches in the hope you will buy/register/or download. So here’s a few I’ve used that have worked for me. Ironically, it wasn’t any of the blog articles that were stolen without my knowledge, but Fizz Web Design Privacy & Terms page – the entire thing!

Anyway, try these:

Copyscape (only one page at a time – not so good for large, site-wide checks)

PlagSpotter (sign up and log-in to do a ‘batch check’ generated by your sitemap.xml)

Plagiarisma (requires registering and log-in)

Plagiarism Checker (requires content to be copied and pasted into a text box on the site)

What Do I Do When Someone Steals My Website Content?

You actually have quite a powerful tool at your disposal to gently and politely persuade websites to remove the stolen/duplicated content that they have mischievously taken from your site. You can submit a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint – or more likely, simply threatening to file a DMCA report will be enough to make the guilty party remove the offending work pronto. Why? Well Google will potentially remove any web content that is proven (or it believes to be) infringing current digital content laws. Any webmaster worth their salt will know that this is not something worth risking, so the chances are that you won’t have to actually submit the DMCA – the threat is likely to be enough.

Some useful related information can also be found from Google’s legal removal requests information pages too.

How to Contact the Offending Website
Pretty easy – most sites have a contact page with either a form or an email address. If not, look in the site’s footer to see if there is the name of the site’s web design company – hover over this, it is most likely linked to the web designer’s site and you can then contact them directly. Remember to always remain polite but firm!

Stolen Website Content – the Positives

Are there any positives to having your website content stolen? Yes, there might be, if you can find and contact the webmaster. If it’s applicable (not so in our case above), Why not see if they can be persuaded to acknowledge you on their site; make the stolen content a quote (or even offer to guest-blog for the site if you think it’s worthwhile) that gets referenced to you with an all-conquering back-link. As we all know, back-links are SEO gold IF they come from an authority site, so maybe consider this approach first, before going in guns-a-blazing!

Stopping Your Web Content Being Stolen
Not so easy I’m afraid. Generally, the best suggestion is really just to make it clear in your terms and conditions that permission is needed to replicate any of the written work or images on your website, or that work is correctly attributed to you – ie, back-linked to the original source on your site.

You can of course use Javascript on your site that will effectively stop right-clicking (so users can’t then copy or save), offering a warning message of your choice. Though we have been requested to do this in the past, we don’t particularly recommend it as you are taking away a standard web option that users expect to be able to do with their mouse – right-click.

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