10 Oct How to Secure Your Content
Your most valuable asset is your content. It takes time and work not just to make it, but also to keep it safe from robbers. Unfortunately, material theft is all too widespread, and almost no website has been spared.
On the other hand, as my experience has shown, when there are thousands of articles to be reviewed, this process takes far too long and is best reserved for the most important articles. In any case, you cannot let thieves take your content; you must know what to do in the event of theft. Here are the steps to safeguarding your content.
Why Is Your Content Your Most Valuable Asset?
Unless you’re brand new to SEO, the answer is apparent. As the saying goes, “content is king”. To rank well in Google, you need original content, which is why you chunk articles, images, videos, and so on to publish on your site. However, it is extremely simple to copy and paste content, which is why content theft is so common.
If feeding someone else’s site for free wasn’t bad enough, the duplicate content penalty adds insult to injury. Google is working hard to combat duplicate content, but it is far too common to see stolen articles rank higher than your original. This is why it is critical to safeguard your content in any way possible.
Copyright notices and watermarks should be placed.
As naive as it may sound, robbers are often unaware that they are stealing. Many articles, images, videos, and other works in the public domain are free to use commercially. To avoid confusion about whether your content is in the public domain, include a Copyright notice in the footer of your site, or even better, under the copyrighted piece of content itself.
Physical impediments to theft make sense as well. For example, you may apply watermarks to photographs and movies; they aren’t 100% safe, but they can deter some criminals because using the items without your watermark will be inconvenient.
You may wish to deactivate text selection for articles. This will make it more difficult to directly copy content and will deter many thieves because copying your content now requires more effort. Unfortunately, there are other ways to copy your content (though they require more effort), so if someone truly wants your content, disabled copying will not deter them, but it is better than nothing.
Protect Your Content with Google Authorship
Google Authorship is a very useful tool for protecting your content and building your online reputation. The idea is simple: you enter your online content and claim authorship over it.
The only drawback is that you must use your own name, which is a problem if you write under a pen name, ghostwrite, or just do not wish to reveal your authorship due to privacy concerns. If your site has numerous writers, you may still utilize Google Authorship, but each must claim his or her own content.
Once you enter your content into Google Authorship, Google knows it was created by you, so even if it is copied elsewhere, you will not be penalized for duplicate content.
Configure Google Alerts to monitor for copied content.
Keeping your material safe from theft is one thing; catching criminals is quite another. Even if you do a good job of protecting your content, thieves will always exist. The simplest way to catch them is to use Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is yet another useful Google service. Without going into too much detail, the reasoning is as follows:
You copy sentences from your text and set up alerts to receive notifications when they appear online. You must make them a direct match (i.e., use quote marks) so that you are notified if your terms are identified elsewhere. It’s preferable if you make two or three alerts every article, one for the first paragraph and another from random locations throughout the content.
Your first paragraph might be used as an introduction to your piece, followed by a link to your website. Although this is not theft, you should be aware of it. Also, if your content is published and you are credited as the author, this isn’t technically theft, though you might not like it.
Steps to Take in the Event of Theft
Here’s what you should do if you receive an alert and learn that your content has been stolen.
- Gather Your Evidence
The first step is to collect proof. This includes taking screenshots and preparing the actual files. Of course, proving you were the first to publish this particular piece is difficult because having drafts for an article doesn’t mean much because they could have been created later in an attempt to frame the original author. If you have the source files for images and videos, this could be more of a proof.
If your material is indexed in Google and contains a date (which must be previous to the date the copy was indexed), you can use this as proof that the content was stolen from you rather than vice versa.
2. Make contact with the Thief (and Their Host, If Necessary)
Now that you have your evidence, it’s time to take action. You could be tempted, but don’t bite straight immediately. Send a nice email to the infringing party first. Even though the likelihood is low, it is conceivable that the theft was not done on purpose. It’s possible that the blog owner will remove your content after receiving your friendly email, and the problem will be resolved.
If a pleasant email to the blog’s owner does not solve the problem, contact their hosting provider. Attach whatever proof you have, and if the infringement is obvious, their hosting provider may even cancel their account if they do not delete the stolen information on their own.
3. Submit a DMCA Complaint
The steps in the previous sections will often suffice to deal with thieves, but if they don’t, you’ll have to resort to heavy artillery, namely filing a DMCA complaint with Google.
You file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint with Google, requesting that they remove content taken from you. Stolen implies utilised without your permission or without crediting you in this circumstance. Google is usually quick to remove stolen content, so you can expect it to be removed from Google’s index shortly after you file a complaint.
Dealing with content theft is time-consuming, but it is necessary if you want to protect your rights (and your SEO rankings). It’s a never-ending battle, but with the right tools, as described in this article, you have a good chance of success.
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