Duplicate content and content theft is a huge problem for Google as I see it right now. It is too easy for people to highlight your text or steal your source code and post it onto their own site. This will invariably lead to some sort of dup penalty being applied to a site. Which one it is applied to is really at Google's discretion but eventually it will be applied to yours.
I have a site that is content rich. The content has been written by ourselves and covers a variety of topics. It's all unique, has pictures, been spell checked and grammar checked as best possible. The site has been up for about 5 years and has a stable amount of traffic and a PR of 6 with Google.
Every time I check for duplicate content I find new sites having stolen ours and just posted it onto their websites.
Dealing with it is another time consuming task to do and is something we, as content writers, can all do without.
This post is going to try and identify the best ways to deal with content theft. I've experienced varying degrees of content theft. From full source code theft, to snippets, to full on copies without even modifying absolute URLs or affiliate IDs.
Finding your content
Go to a popular page of your site.
Highlight a full sentence of some of your good content.
Go to Google and put it in the search box and make sure to put inverted commas at the beginning and end of your phrase.
Search for it.
See how many results are returned. If your site is alone in the results, then great, your probably ok, but if there are other URLs then uh-oh.
If there are other sites, visit those sites and see what's going on. Sometimes it is rather disturbing to see just how much of your content or page they've taken.
Report it to Google
As a first step report it to Google by using their Spam reporting tool.
Hopefully they'll do something about it. Not much else you can do.
Take a "Print Screen" of the Site
Keep it for future reference in case you need it. Keep it with your copy of the whois report and the email you've now sent to the site owner.
Contact the Site
Contact the site owner by using their contact details on the site or even by doing a whois lookup. Write an email and indicate what part of their site has taken content, from which site it was taken and any other details required.
Take a copy of the whois details as some site owners are clever enough to quickly go change their details and hide all their contact details. This has happened to me before.
Phone the owner
I've done it many times. Hong Kong at 3 am local time, Germany at midnight local time, wherever. I don't care, it's my site, you stole it, wake up and take it down immediately. Be polite but firm. Insist. Send an email to confirm, check again later. Keep phoning and emailing.
Contact Hosting Company
The whois details are very useful. Contact their hosting company if their details are there. Twice I have had the pleasure of a responsible host take down a site that had blatantly copied my content. Other times, it was a dead end but it is worth a try.
File a DMCA complaint
Not sure about this, I have never had to do it so other peopleís experience would be invaluable.
The important thing is to protect your content. Content theft is rampant and dangerous. I have seen my previously 1st page results site go nowhere but down from page 1 in the last few months and I am quite sure that this is because of content theft from unscrupulous webmasters.
Right now, there is no real way of stopping this. Google say not to worry about Dup content. Whatever. I have no other explanation for my dipping results than penalties. From Result No.3 to page 20, I donít think so.
We all have to fight this abuse of our content. We spend time and effort writing good stuff only for some lazy thief to take advantage of it.
Please help by posting similar experiences or recommendations to deal with this.