Hardly anything is as easy online as copying a text or an image and inserting it on another page. Content theft is the supposedly easy way to get high-quality content without spending a lot of time and money. Aside from the fact that it’s very annoying when others simply use your creative output, content theft can also lead to problems for Google. However, Webmaster-Hangout confirmed to John Mueller that content theft can in some cases also have a negative impact on the original page. To protect yourself from this, however, you first have to know whether your content has been stolen at all.
Uncover content theft
Sometimes content theft is only accidentally discovered or brought to the attention of other users. However, you can also actively check whether your texts or images have been taken over without permission.
Tools like Copyscape search the web for plagiarism of your website text using a URL. But not only texts, but also – or above all – pictures are often simply stolen. Here tools like Plaghunter can help with the detection.
You can also use Google to track down stolen content. Click on the camera symbol in the search bar in the Google image search and either upload a photo or paste the image URL. Google will then show you on which pages the image was used. In order to recognize textual plagiarism, simply enter an excerpt of your text in quotation marks in the Google search (or with another search engine).
Tips against content theft
Unfortunately, there is no absolute protection against theft of intellectual property on the Internet. And not everyone has the time and money to take legal action against it. Nevertheless, website operators can do a lot to protect their content. We’ll give you tips on how to proceed if you’ve discovered content theft and how you can better protect yourself from it.
1. Shorten your RSS feed
For many content thieves it is easy to pull texts from an RSS feed using a script. Therefore, you should not provide your entire content, but only excerpts in the feed. You can easily avoid the risk of losing potential readers who want to click on your page to read on: Just write good teaser texts that make you want more.
Various SEO plugins for WordPress , such as the one from Yoast, offer the option of creating copyright or author notices for RSS feeds. This will then be displayed above every post in your RSS feed. This makes your feed less attractive to content thieves, but not to your subscribers.
2. Protect your content against simple copy-and-paste
To protect your pictures against theft, you can add your own watermark to them. However, if this interferes too much with the aesthetics of the image, you can also protect it from being linked on other pages from your server with an entry in the .htaccess file.
This makes it difficult for you to steal pictures. These can then only be used for other purposes if they have been downloaded beforehand. You can make this more difficult by deactivating the right-click with the help of a script or plugin.
You can also use a script to prevent the texts from being marked on your page and copied by right-clicking. The text can still be copied via the source code of the page, but the simple stealing via copy-and-paste is prevented.
However, this could also be annoying for your visitors. Maybe we just want to highlight a term to google it or quickly copy a handy quote to share a text on the social web. An elegant option is to use a script to automatically generate a link to your page when parts of your text are copied and pasted. Andre Alpar and the Moz team explain how this works in detailed instructions .
3. Develop a distinctive style
From a pure content marketing perspective, it is important to develop an unmistakable style that creates brand awareness among your site visitors. At best, a sentence or a quick look at an image is enough for your customers to know who the content is from.
Of course, that doesn’t protect you from thieves using your content. In any case, it helps that other users can recognize content stolen from you on other pages and inform you about it. And once you’ve earned recognition in your industry or niche, that might deter content thieves from simply helping yourself.
What to do with content theft?
If you have discovered your content on foreign pages, you should first try to contact the operator of the pages and request that the copied content be deleted. There is not always malicious intent behind content theft. Many a website operator may not be aware of the consequences of copying content without asking.
If your inquiries remain unanswered, you can report the content theft to Google and request that the affected page be removed from the search results.