In the never-ending quest for dominance in search results rankings, websites everywhere are searching for quality content. While a number of legitimate operators are investing in this content production, others are taking the easy way – stealing it from other high-ranking sites. For those practicing this underhanded way of dominating their space, it seems like the economical way to drive traffic and increase search rankings. The problem is that stealing content from other sites does not help your search rankings – it can actually hurt them.
By now, it is well-known that Google changed its algorithms earlier this year so as to avoid giving priority placement on search rankings to sites built merely to drive ad dollars without providing any quality or benefit to the site viewer. Google is focused on eliminating those sites that are mere content-mills or those that are simply taking content from other sites and posting it as their own original work. The search giant developed its most recent algorithm to be able to identify the original source of the content and render consequences for those who are doing nothing less than stealing.
Without a clear understanding of the consequences associated with stealing this content, the practice is likely to continue. It is for this reason that legitimate sites were crying out to Google to change their way of ranking sites. Stealing graphics, HTML structure and stock photos will also be noticed by search engines. Companies offering stock photos can easily identify that images not belong to that URL. And now, with the Panda change to the Google algorithm, quality sites have a more powerful tool to use against those who steal their content – search results and subsequent revenue.
Today, there are well-known procedures to help with blatant website thefts. You can contact the hosting company and file a copyright complaint. It generally takes no longer than 72 hours to get the offending website removed from Internet. You can also file a claim with every search engine based on Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This is a very simple process and usually takes no longer than six business days to completely remove a full indexed domain name from search engine results. This process will also flag the name of the person under the domain name registration.
Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that stealing content is a federal crime and can carry with it serious consequences. While many operators on the Internet believe the information is free for the taking, the reality is that stealing web content is the same as stealing property from an apartment or business. There are plenty ways for authorities to truck the theft in matter of minutes and they are not afraid to act against the perpetrators.
If you are uncomfortable with leaving the success of your site completely in the hands of Google or your own ability to track stolen content, there are additional methods you can employ to ensure you protect your dominate space on the Web. First, don’t fall down on your SEO strategy simply because Google put in more stringent rules. You have to remember that these rules were put in place to also keep you in line and holding back on the activities you should be doing to legitimately earn organic search rank results will only hurt you. It is up to you and your SEO team to continue to produce the quality content and optimize on the right key words to ensure the search rankings you want are the search rankings you earn.
The reality in the online world is that if you offer quality content, whether it is articles, blogs, videos or other, you are at risk of being a victim of content theft. And, the higher you rank on search results, the more likely you are to be targeted. Remain consistent in your online strategy as your first means of defense against such practices. Continue to push out your quality content and be sure it is based on keywords you have identified as important for your site. When you follow your strategy and continue to focus on quality, Google will be able to easily determine which sites are the legitimate and original owners of content and which sites are merely there for the take.
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