As a blogger or content marketer, you will at some point witness fellow bloggers lamenting about their content being copied by someone else. This post will show you how to protect your blog from content theft.
Just as it’s happened to someone else, it can happen to you too. You have spent so much money setting up your blog correctly. You have bought courses to help you understand how to grow your blog– you got into awkward situations explaining to your significant other why the courses were expensive AF! If you are a blogger with kids, you have had to sacrifice time with them to spend working on your blog. Then, someone comes along and steals your blog posts. Not just posts but also images. And videos. And your web design. And your identity, your brand. Basically steals everything you have had to sweat for.
One major downfall of having your blog content copied is, the spamming blog may end up outranking your legit blog thanks to the content you stayed up all night for. Irritating right? The spammer may even report you to Google as the offender. Even worse.
Fun fact: Spam blogs are also called SPLOGS. Didn’t know!
Anyway guys, content thieves are not about to stop stealing. So it’s up to you to be proactive and protect your blog from content theft like the badass you are.
Let’s dive right in.
How can your blog posts and other content be stolen?
Copy and Paste
You know when you right click your mouse to select a text you would like to paste elsewhere? This is one easy way of stealing content.
Plagiarism done on RSS feed is even harder to tackle. This is when a splog uses automated software to add your new content to their site and make it appear new. Just imagine as you are producing content someone else is publishing it the same time as you. Just frustrating.
I just don’t appreciate content theft.
When someone downloads your images or videos and posts them elsewhere without acknowledging you.
How to check if your website has been copied
If you are wondering how to know if your content has been stolen, here is how you can find which shady splog is benefitting from your sweat:
Your blog could be a splog if not careful– especially if you buy articles from other websites or writers. Copyscape is a good tool to use if you want to make sure the content on your site is 100% original. But how can you use it to find which splog is disrespecting your intellect? Simply go to Copyscape and key in your URL on the search bar.
Copyscape offers free banners to protect your site. Their free services are outstanding. Their premium? Even better. I mean with the free search you can get a few results, but if you upgrade to their premium services, you will get upto 10,000 search results of splogs stealing your content.
You may be wondering: Hmmm how can I use Google alerts to find out if someone copied my blog posts?
You will see a field written ‘Create alerts about’. On it, input your url link.
Next, click on ‘options’. You should see this:
Don’t forget to add your email address.
Finally click on Create Alert.
How to protect your blog content from content thieves
There are a number of ways to protect your blog from content scraping. Remember, for you to protect your blog from content theft, you will need to be self-hosted and on wordpress.org. So if you are using a free blogging platform then stopping content thieves from stealing your blog posts will be hard.
In this post, I have explained how to start a profitable self-hosted WordPress blog.
Let’s see how you can protect your blog from content theft.
Disable Right Click/ Text Selection
An average content thief only knows how to use the right click feature of the mouse to select a text to copy and paste elsewhere. This is the easiest way to prevent someone from copying your content.
To disable right click if you use WordPress.org, simply install the WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click, which comes in basic and pro versions. Easy Peasy.
Actually, I have used this to protect my blog. Anyone wanting to copy-paste my content elsewhere will simply get the rudest shock of their life.
If you are a man/woman of integrity, please let me know in the comments section if you are able to copy-paste my posts.
Add Watermarks to your Images
What this does is to ensure your blog name is all over the scraped images and illustrations downloaded by the content thieves.
There are plenty of watermark plugins on WordPress, just do a simple search for what’s compatible with your version of WordPress.
Manage your RSS Feed/ Pubsubhubbub/ Simple Feed Copyright
I mentioned somewhere that there are automated splogs stealing content right after it’s published. Usually through RSS feeds. As a result, the content stolen from your blog ranks first and yours gets ranked last, therefore affecting your SEO. Because Google will not know who the original producer of the content was.
There was the RSS Footer plugin meant to add a note that the content belongs to you at the bottom of every post that’s been copied from your RSS feed. But that plugin is no longer being used, unfortunately.
Enters Pubsubhubbub plugin for WordPress.org users.
When you use Pubsubhubbub, you basically tell search engines that yours is the original content. As in, you were the first to produce that content and not the splog.
That makes it easier for Google and the rest to rank your content first.
Each time you add a new blog post, or make any other changes to your blog, Pingsubhubbub informs web crawlers. That way, splogs are easily identified by web crawlers.
Simple Feed Copyright, is another useful plugin that doesn’t entirely stop content theft but helps your blog get backlinks.
By adding copyright notes at the end of full text articles in your RSS Feeds. So when someone copies your blog posts, readers will know you are the rightful owner of the content. Something like this:
Where the title of the article will link to it’s permalink on your blog and the blog title is linked to your blog url. That way, you get some backlinks from the splogs. Or if the thief has a soul, s/he may take down the copied content because it’ll be exposing their laziness to the readers.
What to do when someone steals your blog posts
Your first reaction may be ‘Oh hell no!’ as you remove your tie or earrings, but that isn’t the way.
The best way would be handling it professionally and firmly. While at it, realize the person you’re emailing may not even know whatever they did is copyright infringement. Or maybe, they have a team of writers who stole the content from you. So be smart about it.
This is the kind of email I would send:
‘Hi! My name is Ruth Nchekei and I am the owner of Help Monetize Your Blog. It has come to my attention that one of my blog posts has been published on your blog. While I appreciate you finding it useful, I would like to let you know that it’s copyright-protected. Meaning, it cannot be republished without my consent.I am happy to write an original version of the same topic, specifically for your audience at a fee of $100. Otherwise, this blog post needs to be unpublished from your blog within 48 hours, failure to which I will have to file a DMCA complaint. Regards.’
What do you notice from the above sample?
I sold my writing service.
See, when you offer your service in this scenario, you never know who might be dealing with. It could be someone willing to pay–someone who honestly didn’t know the content was obtained illegally– someone relying on freelance writers. So, it’s a good way of making money and retaining a client.
I was firm.
I did not beg. Neither did I request. The last sentence may seem like a threat but if they need to know what’s coming should they not honour my ‘request’.
How to file a DMCA complaint
This should be the last thing to do. Usually if the email you sent earlier was ignored.
There is another option though. You can go the the WHOIS page to determine the splog’s hosting company. Remember the email you sent earlier? From it, send the details to the host’s contact as well,expressing the challenge you’ve had to go through to take the blog post down.
If that still doesn’t work, contact file a DMCA complaint with Google.
DMCA means Digital Millennium Copyright Act. To file this complaint go to Google’s legal page and follow the steps. You can file for take-down with other search engines like Yahoo, Bing and Yandex as well. Each platform has its own copyright infringement policies.
Content theft on Pinterest
Before I conclude, let me add that there are plenty of pin thieves on Pinterest. Pin thieves simply target pins by established pinners and add their own link as the destination page. So you may find a pin saying ‘How to start a blog’ but leads to a page titled ‘Cameras for sale’.
How do you know someone has stolen your pins? By using the visual search feature on the bottom right of a pin as in this image.
You can report the image thieves to Pinterest and their Pinterest account could be blocked.
What would you like to add in the comments section? Let me hear.