In recent years, the world has seen an increase in ‘Content Piracy’: be it downloading a movie illegally before its theater release or copying someone’s content blindly from a blog and sharing it as their own. Many have complained that their contents are being scrapped or cloned and are used on other websites. Content Piracy leads to duplicate contents where there can be an exact copy of texts or copying content with very few changes known as near-duplicates. This has given rise to content cloning or content scraping.
Today’s article will be on this topic and we will try to explore different aspects of this inappropriate act.
What is Content Scrapping?
Content scraping is a way to steal content from one’s blog without their permission to drive traffic to content scrappers’ websites. Although some scrapers will copy the content manually, most websites now a day-use automated scripts that fetch the content from your RSS feed and posts your content like a new post at their sites. The issue is mostly faced by individual bloggers as they don’t have the bandwidth and tools to keep pace with such spammers and scammers.
How does content scrapping work?
The scrappers use botnets to drive traffic to their websites and try to create a similar experience as that of the original content, thereby fueling ad revenues, increase in lead generation and sometimes affiliate commissions. As your traffic gets siphoned away from you, some people are going to see that article somewhere else and not on your site, confusing search engines and impacting your search engine result page (SERPs).
Is Content scrapping controllable?
Unfortunately, Google, Yahoo, or Bing do not provide any tools to distinguish the unique content from scraped content and hence are also not sure of the actual creator. This has a huge impact on your website SEO and your web authority is knocked off.
But how we can stop someone from stealing our content? Well, that’s difficult but not impossible.
Here are some steps we can follow to check if your content was scrapped or cloned:
- Copyscape: A simple online tool to let you know if someone has stolen your content as soon as you enter your website link, all the links and pages with plagiarized content are displayed. Copyscape provides a free plagiarism checker, Copyscape Premium ( Special features like copy-paste originality checks, PDF and Word file uploads, batch search, private index, case tracking, an API, and WordPress integration), and Copysentry (Automatically scans the web daily or weekly and notifies you when new copies of your content are found).
- Exact Search in Google: Copy 10 sentences and enter in the google search within inverted commas and check for the results. If only your results are displayed then it’s good if not then your content is being scrapped by other websites.
If you see the first link for a text taken from Neil Patel’s blog that is the actual content. On clicking the third URL you can see the content scraped from his pages.
- Plagiarism Checker: You can use plagiarism checkers to check for duplicate content that leverages advanced algorithms to verify the origin of the content which can be saved in PDF for future references. Most Common tool- Grammarly.
- Webmaster Tools: Open your webmaster tool and Under Your Site on the Web. Click on Links to Your Site and sort it by the Linked Pages column. Any common person seeing the results can think, that volume of links from a particular domain is acting as a link-building activity. But that is not the case most are Content scrapers. You can refer to Neil Patel’s Blog to know more on how a webmaster tool can be used to track stolen content.
- Trackbacks: The WordPress website will show you the sites that are linked to yours and you can check their article to see if they have stolen your content. But what if they have removed all of the links from the article? WordPress cannot track them then giving the actual creator a hard time.
There are several other ways to confront the scrappers like reaching out to the owner of the website and asking her/him to provide your reference and to give you the credit. Or you can complain to Google and file a DMCA request to remove the copied content. There is also a DMCA plugin for WordPress sites that integrates DMCA.com’s protection badges into your site to warn potential thieves. (Source: https://wordpress.org/plugins/dmca-badge/#description).
Not only in writing , but other industries are also impacted globally at an enormous scale by such copying or stealing. They are termed as Counterfeiting and Piracy.
Counterfeiting is a process of cheap imitation of goods produced by known and popular brands for consumption. It’s a big industry spanning across apparel, accessories, music, medications and cigarettes, software to automobile and airplane parts, consumer goods, toys, and electronics.
Piracy means copyright infringement that refers to an unauthorized copy of someone’s work without the creator’s permission for financial gains. We see piracy mostly in the case of online products like sharing music files, movies, games, eBooks, etc illegally, without the authorized permission of the creator.
To conclude, we would like to ask if you are in the writing sector, how do you deal with content scrappers? What other tools or methods you use help you in preventing duplicates? Or do you just leave it as it is thinking it’s helping in building back-links? Please share your experiences with us. Also let us know if this information on Content Scrapping was helpful for you.