The growth of content marketing has spurred a need (for an unscrupulous few) to steal what you produce.
It takes time and effort to create quality content. For most people, it is simply a case of applying themselves to the task.
But others – often with lots of pages to knock out and little time to go to the trouble of writing their own articles – take a different view. Pinching someone else’s work is a far more efficient use of their talent.
Thus content marketing theft is on the increase.
Content duplication is the first hurdle
Google’s uncompromising approach to content duplication aims to render reposted content useless.
However, this counts as an SEO penalisation. It remains relatively easy to take someone else’s blog and post it on to LinkedIn or Medium as your own.
There is nothing Google can do about that.
Indeed, it is likely that you – as the author – could in turn end up the victim of a Google penalisation.
Rise of the robots
What is far more worrying is the use of bots to take your content, then post and index it before you do.
Though this might sound farfetched, it is happening now (watch it here in realtime).
A bot can constantly hit a website and grab content as soon as it is published. It can then submit it to Google for indexing.
Meanwhile, the original post is waiting for Google’s spiders. And when they find it, they will mark it as duplicate content.
Precautions to protect against content theft
Of course, some people are always going to be more of a target than others.
But once you’re in the perpetrators’ sights, there’s little scope to chase the problem down. Especially as much of this activity appears to be coming from China.
However, there are some things you can do to protect yourself from attack in the first place.
RSS can help steal content marketing
RSS is a great way to launch your content into the wild. It also provides a neat help-yourself facility for bots.
WordPress, which powers a quarter of all websites, uses RSS by default.
Fortunately, there are a number of WordPress plugin solutions at hand. These include:
- Feed Delay As the name suggests, this delays a published post from hitting your RSS feed before Google has indexed it.
- Tynt Insight Issues a warning to the web admin when a piece of content or an image is being copied.
- WP Content Copy Protection Disables the ability to right click on a page (useful for image protection).
- Copyscape A web application that enables users to search the web for duplicate content relating to a submitted page.
Respinners make for dreadful content
There will be some who do want to rank for Google and avoid a duplication penalisation. If your content is already indexed there may be people looking at respinning it.
Simply, this is entering copy into an application that will take the content and change it to the point where 90 per cent of the words are different from those used in the original.
The hope is that the original meaning and keywords are retained. Typically, they are used on spammy sites looking for Adwords dollars.
Respinners such as WordAI have been around for a while now. Fortunately, for the moment, the results verge on the unreadable.
The worry is that a market exists for a better product. In the early 1990s, ad-industry gurus predicted it would take 10 years for Macs to be good enough for typography…
Where there are buyers, there will be innovation.
Quality content can be expensive because it takes time and effort to produce. People will always look to take shortcuts for that reason.
The sad thing is that it actually requires effort to steal content. And it has been shown time and again that these sorts of black-hat techniques fail in the long run.
Surely it is better for all simply to produce better, and more original, work?