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10 Tools To Help Protect Your Blog From Content Theft

This is a guest contribution from Adam Connell, blogger at Bloggingwizard.com.

If you write or publish a blog, you’ll inevitably experience the gut-wrenching feeling of content theft at some point in the life of your blog. It’s not fair but it’s now just part of the world of online content.

What can you do to protect the content you slaved over?

There is no 100% fool-proof way to protect your content, but you can make it more difficult for content thieves to steal your work and to punish them when they do.

I’m going to share some ways you can protect your content from theft and give you some resources to use to defend it against thieves and scrapers.

Padlock on door and your blog content!

How Do You Know If Your Content Has Been Stolen? 

Posting a copyright notice on your blog is a deterrent, albeit a small one. A copyright notice lets would-be content thieves know that you understand your rights to the fruits of your labor and that you intend to protect them. Nevertheless, not everyone is going to be deterred by your copyright notice.

The following online tools can be used to discover whether your content has been stolen or not. What you do after that is another story.

Google Alerts

Google Alerts are simple e-mail alerts you can establish by notifying Google that you want to keep tabs on certain keywords or phrases. Copy a unique phrase in your blog post or the title of your post and ask Google to send you an e-mail any time it is published elsewhere on the Web.

Use a plagiarism checker

There are several plagiarism checkers online. All of them have their benefits. Grammarly is a proofreading service and grammar checker, but it will also check your text against plagiarism. Plagium is another one. However, unlike Grammarly, you can check an entire URL to see if your content has been plagiarized.

While Grammarly and Plagium both are good services, Copyscape is more recognized. Like Plagium, you can check an entire URL for plagiarism, and you can put a “Protected By Copyscape” notice on your blog, which should scare away a few content scrapers.

All three services have a free service level and a premium paid service for high volume users.

Small Steps To Protecting Your Content From Theft

While Google Alerts and plagiarism checkers can tell you that someone has used your content without your permission, there are other things you can do to protect your content.

These are small steps that help you maintain a little control over your content and ensure that you at least get attribution should someone use your content without your approval.

WordPress SEO by Yoast

This WordPress plugin is useful if you are using the standalone WordPress software. The plugin has a feature that allows you to add some code to your RSS feed so that if your post is republished elsewhere, then an automatic link will be inserted pointing back to your website.

Some blogs use scraper software to automatically republish content from around the Web. No human is looking at these posts. If your blog is included among the URLs added to the scraper script, then you’ll at least get a link back. Don’t count on that link being very valuable, but it is there.

Tynt

Tynt is a service that provides code for you to insert into your web pages and will also tell you how many times your content has been copied and pasted. When someone copies and pastes your content, Tynt will add a link back to your website.

Google Authorship

Google Authorship is a content marketing strategy that associates your name or brand with your content in Google’s search index. By implementing Google Authorship you are increasing your chances of retaining control over your content by having your photo image appear next to your content in the search rankings.

While that won’t stop content thieves from scraping your content, it will make it easier to prove the content is yours and it will be easier to have stolen content removed when you file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint. Learn more about Google Authorship here.

What You Should Do If Your Content Has Been Stolen

It is not always necessary to confront a content thief. You have to determine if there’s any real damage to your content being stolen.

First, ask yourself if the person is profiting from your content. If they are, then that’s a red flag. Secondly, ask if your reputation may be damaged by someone claiming that content. And thirdly, ask if it’s worth your trouble to pursue the content thief. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.

So let’s say that you determine you want to pursue the content thief and have them remove your content. Your first step should be to send them a friendly letter by e-mail, or by using their contact form, and asking them to remove your content. Alternatively, you can ask them to link back to your website.

If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to take other measures.

You can start by finding out where their website is being hosted and contact the hosting company. Let the hosting company know that they are hosting a website that is stealing content. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the hosting company is obligated to prevent access to websites that have infringed on someone’s copyright.

WhoIsHostingThis.com

You need to find out who is hosting the website that stole your content. That’s where Who Is Hosting This comes in. Once you know who is hosting the website, you can then send a DMCA request to the hosting company to have the website taken down.

Remove content from Google

To have content removed from Google’s search index, you’ll have to file a DMCA request with Google.

One Final Step To Combatting Plagiarism: Creative Commons

As I noted earlier, copyright notices are small deterrents. The same goes for Creative Commons.

However, Creative Commons licenses are becoming more acceptable and more popular. If people know that you don’t mind them using your content for benevolent purposes, they are more likely to respect your right to that content and its privileges.

Creative Commons

You can learn about the various Creative Common licenses on the Creative Commons website.

It’s a wild Web out there

Be diligent in protecting your content and you will reap the benefits of it for a long time to come.

What sort of experiences have you had with content theft? Whether you have successfully stopped people from stealing your content or not, we’d love to hear about it.

Adam Connell is an internet marketing and SEO nut from the UK. He can be found blogging over at Bloggingwizard.com, where he talks about marketing, social media, SEO and a few other topics. Follow him on Twitter @adamjayc.

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Comments

  1. Jon Rhodes says:

    Very recently someone repeatedly posted my content on a popular SEO forum, holding themselves to be the author. I didn’t know anything about this until I started receiving traffic from this forum. The members had noticed what this person was doing, and kept putting the link to my article after their post. This actually helped me get quite a bit of traffic, so content theft can sometimes be beneficial!

    • Adam Connell says:

      Jon, this is a great example of how your own readers can step in and show these content thieves to be exactly what they are.

      You’re right, not all content theft is bad!

  2. Paul Profitt says:

    Hi Adam

    I have used Tynt in the past and Copyscape, as a matter of fact I still use Copyscape mainly for checking guest post submissions to my blog.What really annoys me about plagiarism is that somebody can easily make money from your content without you knowing.

    • Adam Connell says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for dropping a comment!

      That’s something I find annoying too, on the flip side I have occasionally received some commissions from sales generated via sites that have scraped my RSS feed – every cloud has a silver lining!

  3. sandi says:

    Great list with useful information. Thanks for sharing with us!

  4. Kalee says:

    I subscribed last week, and everyday I am learning something new! Thank you! I have SEO by Yoast right now, and I love it!

    • Adam says:

      Kalee, that’s great and you’ve got a really good blog already so keep me updated with how you get on and feel free to drop me an email if you need any help.

      Yoast’s SEO plugin is awesome! :)

      Thanks so much for the comment.

  5. Rick says:

    Great resources! I will be checking out the ones i’m not familiar with shortly.

  6. Ravi Kant says:

    this is bunch of information. now I can save my blogs. thanks author.

  7. Karan Tandon says:

    Wow! some great list of tools, but I’ll like to add that builtwith dot com gives much more accurate results about hosting company of a website than whoishostingthis .

    • Adam says:

      Thanks for the comment Karan.

      Builtwith dot com is a new one to me, the data it gives back is impressive, but I couldn’t spot where the web hosting provider was listed – unless I’ve either missed it or that’s only available on a paid account?

  8. Karan Tandon says:

    Wow! great list of tools, but I’ll like to add that builtwith dot com gives much more accurate results about hosting company of a website than whoishostingthis .

  9. Kahia says:

    Thank you for your solutions but i think that sometimes google penalize the original source of content than someone who stole that content

  10. zolar says:

    great info..

  11. Chika says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing; but av had most of my contents and diagrams copied with my site watermarks on them, most of my contents thieves are on google blogspot and it surprises me why google never detected it. Ive written a friendly mail to most of the and all I got was insults, one of them went as far as told me that Google wont listen to me.
    I reported to Google and never got a reply and them content thieves’s blogspot are still online.

    • Adam Connell says:

      Thanks Chika!

      Wow that’s really annoying.

      Google unfortunately gets bombarded with so many DMCA requests that are mostly claims that just aren’t true and sent using automated software so I believe they’re struggling to handle this.

      If you submit spam reports Google will “down rank” those sites even if they don’t remove due to the DMCA.

      Have you tried just threatening the site owner with a DMCA? sometimes just the mention can be enough to get the site owner to take down the image.

      Failing that you could just disable hot linking, here’s a guide – http://www.hongkiat.com/blog/smarter-way-to-prevent-image-hotlinking-with-htaccess/.

  12. Norm says:

    Unfortunately personally feel people stealing your content is a losing game for many of us publishers, authors, writers, artist and developers.

    I can literally spend everyday sending DMCA take downs and still have another reappear tomorrow and next day and the next.

    These days I dont bother…just keep writing more and get my content and take it as a cost of business.

    • Adam says:

      Norm, thanks for a great comment.

      I really appreciate your thoughts on this.

      For me, it comes down to time as well so I will focus my efforts and use whatever preventative measures I can. If the content stolen causes a serious problem then I’ll pursue it but there are occasions when people taking my content just spreads the word and actually helps my visibility.

      You could also go so far as to use it as a link building opportunity, especially when people steal images.

  13. rhonda says:

    Adam, great article!

    In our experience there are a lot of bloggers who want to do the right thing and just are misinformed about how their rights (and the rights of others) when it comes to publishing and sharing content online.

    Here’s a free guide for bloggers that might be helpful. ‘The Blogger’s Guide to Copyright Protection’ http://offers.icopyright.com/bloggers-guide-to-copyright-protection-offer

    We care very much about this topic and blog about it frequently. Thanks for the excellent and educational post.

    • Adam says:

      Rhonda,

      I completely agree with you – it’s not always malicious and that’s why articles like this and also sites like yours are so important to help educate people.

      Appreciate you sharing the guide, I’ll take a look when I get a moment.

      My pleasure and thanks so much for commenting.

  14. Great list. I’ll implement all this and be the authority and sole owner of my content.

  15. Cat Fyson says:

    Really useful stuff here Adam.

    Copyscape is a great tool for checking against plagiarism. Providing tools and ideas like this is great, because the more tools you use and measures you take, the better.

    With duplicate content being cracked down on by Google, it’s important to make sure that your content isn’t being copied – otherwise your site may suffer.

    • Adam Connell says:

      Cat, I’m really glad you found this useful.

      You’re right, the more the better – although it would be great to have a single system to stop this from happening. Until then I’m sure what’s available on the market will do the trick for us.

  16. Vincent says:

    Great resource! I’d recommend your last suggestion to anyone, just make your content open and shareable and use it to monetize indirectly. Check what Leo from zenHabit has to say http://zenhabits.net/uncopyright/

  17. Younify says:

    Very helpfully information, we are using copyscape for ourselfs and our costumers for some years now. Hopefully Google will always see the original owner and rank them instead of the ‘stealers’.

  18. Nosa says:

    Fantastic, I was doing some research on DMCA a couple of days ago. Your article simplifies everything. Thanks.

  19. Felix says:

    Great post. Informational and educational.

  20. I love blogging and I’ve been doing it for years. These are helpful tips, some of which were not available years ago. I’m grateful that they are now & value how you’ve effectively laid out and approach to it.

    I’m learning more about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act daily as well as understanding more about HR 395 when it comes to Direct Marketing. Both have taught me a significant bit when it come to properly working in the online direct marketing field.

    Thanks for being a cutting edge resource. I hope to someday collaborate. If I can help you in any way, please let me know.

    I wish you continued success.

  21. Ahmad says:

    thanks sir it will help us

  22. Haroon Gul says:

    Really it will help

  23. Enjoyed by reading this article. Thanks a lot for share. :) great top 10 tools. :D

  24. I’ve had people steal content from one of my sites before and it was a lot of effort to get them to take it down. Have been using most of these for a while now after that happened!

  25. Louis says:

    I’m using Tynt and additionally, it also has a keyword related feature that’ll come handy for blog owners.

  26. Jake says:

    Great tips, I’ve had people try to steal content off my blog before. I started using WordPress SEO by Yoast and it has worked great so far, no more thefts on my blog!

  27. Pritam Patil says:

    Thanks for the article sir..Copying content is becoming the major problem .and the new blogger like me are just unknown to all this things..A heartly thanks for sharing :)

  28. Corina Ramos says:

    Thanks for sharing this information for us…especially what to do if our content is stolen.

    I’ve had my Google Authorship and email alerts and other plugins you have listed here that I’m using. There are a couple I’ll be checking out like Copyscape and Tynt.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    • Adam Connell says:

      My pleasure, Corina!

      Glad to see you’ve already got a lot of these setup. I’m sure you’ll like Copyscape and Tynt. Tynt does go beyond just helping arm our sites against content thieves.

      Thanks for the comment!

  29. This is very useful information and I’m going to check out Tnyt, thanks for sharing!

  30. Thanks for sharing valuable idea. In this time in the web plagiarism is the main problem for any company or web site. The tools that you have mention are really work and find the copy content.
    There is also a major problem is unethical SEO practices that mainly people uses or they have no idea about it. So to read it go – http://www.aaretch.com/unethical-seo.html

  31. Muminur says:

    Well, Definately a great post but where is the name of this author ? Guest post or Ghost post? Atleast we should have know the name.

  32. Muminur says:

    Oh sorry! Its on the end of the post. Okey , I got it. Sorry for misunderstanding.

  33. Tracy brooks says:

    Thank you a lot for all the knowledge you could share

  34. John Miller says:

    Oh, content theft’s been a real problem for me, seeing as i work as a blogger and copywriter. Thank you very much for the tips, didn’t know you can request google to send you alerts if somebody posts your content. Good to know that!

    • Adam Connell says:

      Sorry to hear content theft has been a problem for you John, I’m sure these tips will help you :)

      Thanks for the comment!

  35. Thanks for this post. I just started a new blog from the scratch. And I am very much serious about my content.

  36. Mike Martel says:

    Great article. Google alerts is good for so many things. I use it to keep track of my name, my brand, and my niche topics. I hadn’t thought of it as a content management tool but definitely see how useful it could be.
    Thanks!

    • Adam Connell says:

      Thanks Mike. You’re right about Google Alerts – the possibilities are great. You could even use it to keep track of new links to your site too.

  37. Thomas says:

    I appreciate this advice Adam. I have always used CopyScape to check for copied content, however Plagium seems like an excellent alternative.

  38. Andy says:

    These are some great tools! Thank you so much for sharing them!

  39. Hi,

    I think the best way to prevent content from being stolen is not to post any contents. You can waste a lot of time preventing, but the thief will still have their ways if your content is valuable.

    The good thing about Google Panda is to block off these thieves, unless they are getting traffic from elsewhere.

    Thanks
    SC

  40. Rina says:

    I quite often submit a DMCA request to google, especially on blogs that are made from blogger.com. any duplicate content successfully removed by a team of bloggers always publicized back by them. This often makes me upset because blogger.com policies less stringent in overcoming this
    Thank you for this post, may help more to me

    • Adam Connell says:

      Rina, thanks for the comment.

      Very true, I think with Blogger being part of Google, they just get too many DMCA notices on the whole which does make it tricky to get content removed.

      If you submit spam reports Google will ‘down rank’ them based on the number of DMCA notices they receive automatically. It won’t get it removed but they shouldn’t benefit from it as much .

      I hope the other preventative measures help!

  41. Pankaj says:

    great list to protect the content from being copied. from last month one of blog lost traffic and Google ranking and reason was content copied, but i wrote original post , these step can help me out. thanks for the post.

  42. These are some great tools! Thank you so much for sharing them!

  43. Felipe says:

    I’m so happy to know about Tynt and how you use google Alerts for that specific thing, I really hate when people copy my content. Thanks for sharing

  44. Jameel Sial says:

    World Best Blog I Found !!!

  45. Jameel Sial says:

    Nice Blog On The Web. Thanks For Sharing..

  46. Sbazaar says:

    I was just unaware of these methods.

    Thanks for sharing.

  47. Very useful tips! However, I noticed that most plagiarist and content thieves are using Blogger or Blogspot, and this is more difficult to reach them. They are owned by Google and sometimes their pages even rank higher than the original content. Is there an easier way to battle these blogspot content thieves?

  48. Haroon Gul says:

    great post thanks alot