Recently, Google announced a serious overhaul to their algorithm primarily meant to banish low-quality sites like content farms from the top of their search engine results.
While overall that’s a good thing (Kontera has even more stringent rules about original content), there has been some collateral damage. Legitimate sites have unfairly been grouped with these content-factories and plagiarists because Google often has no way to identify an article’s original source. Since the changes in Google’s algorithm went into effect late last month, reputable sites that do their own reporting like Cult of Mac, or the prestigious British Medical Journal saw their traffic shrink 30%-50%, just because so many websites reposted their stories without permission.
Google is constantly tinkering with their algorithm and many of the quality sites affected have already begun reappearing at the top of their search results pages, however organic traffic is too important to leave anything to chance. Now more than ever, it’s important that you protect yourself from content theft.
- Disable Right Clicking – Usually to copy from a given webpage, theft is just a right click away. By disabling that ability, you can prevent the most common method used for stealing, without affecting readers or search engines’ ability to see your content.
For WordPress users, the WP-CopyProtect plugin will disable highlighting or copying text. On the Joomla platform, the JoomSimple Content Protection plugin fills a similar function disabling right click, text selection, and copy/paste.
- Disabling Through Java Script – For websites using other platforms you can use the combination of a No Copy and Paste script and a No Right Click Code in your HTML. Just pay extra close attention to the directions on how to extract the No Copy script, as ironically it’s implemented on the site.
- Alter Your RSS Feed – Another common way people steal is by cherry picking stories out of their RSS reader. By changing the settings of your RSS feed to partial text, they’ll only get a sample of your work, and have to visit your now ‘right click’ protected website for the rest.
Methods on how to limit your RSS feed may vary, but for Blogger go to Dashboard > Settings > Site Feed and save ‘short’ as your RSS preference.
In instances where original content has already been copied from your site, there are still a few ways to get the unauthorized version removed without having to use a lawyer:
- Try contacting the person who posted your content and request they to take it down.
- Report your stolen article to the thief’s hosting site. Most web hosts will suspend the user’s account if they don’t remove the disputed content within 48 hours.
- File a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Notice with Google. Since the entire point of article theft is to generate ad revenue, nothing is a more effective deterrent than getting the offending party banned from Google.
Remember, plagiarists are lazy, so even if there’s no way to 100% prevent article theft; they’re unlikely to go the extra mile. Following these simple steps should sufficiently protect your work, and allow you to focus on what’s really important – writing more quality, original content!
Categories: Blogging Tips, Plugins, WordPress