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Copied Content and Duplicate content penalties

     
5:36 am on Aug 6, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I'm a little discouraged right now.

I have a community portal that I have spent *a lot* of work creating helpful and unique content.

People like the content I write, so much so that they are *constantly* copying part or all of my articles and posting on other forums as references. And then they never even mention where they got it or put a link back to my site.

I have been working on the site's search engine's rankings. The competitor that I'm gunning for has been around for a lot longer.

Tonight I was looking at the logs and decided to see how my Google rankings were for a couple.

For one search term, the competitor's message board came up. Someone had asked a question, another poster responded by copying one of my articles and pasting it in its entirety in the thread, no link back or reference at all.

So this content that *I* created has generated traffic for my *competitor*. That result showed up as #3, mine didn't show up at all.

Will this give me a duplicate content penalty?

This is just so frustrating. Any advice other than just to suck it up and keep writing?

5:54 am on Aug 12, 2007 (gmt 0)

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There are some recent threads on how to handle this.

FWIW, sometimes I put poison pills in hidden text on pages that doesn't show up in any search engine like "blue amorous plastic armadillos" that nobody else sees but the scraper will suddenly expose that text in his version of your content and GOTCHA! I hide that text from search engines but show it hidden to everyone else and likewise, they have no valid answer how they got it except stealing it from me.

More at: Rat Trap [webmasterworld.com]

2:07 am on Aug 16, 2007 (gmt 0)

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Well, the thing is that it's not a bot that is doing it, it is visitors.

My site is mainly information, there are three other sites that have active message boards.

They visit my site, think "great info," then when they are on one of those other forums and someone asks a question, they just copy my article and paste it in a post.

That hidden text wouldn't show up that way would it?

I just decided that my content is my content. If it's more than a brief snippet and I find it, I'm going to ask the site owner to remove it.

I sent an email to the other area site owners and just let them know that was what I would be doing from here on out. It's a fairly small community and we all know each other.

12:16 am on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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They visit my site, think "great info," then when they are on one of those other forums and someone asks a question, they just copy my article and paste it in a post.

I don't know what field you cover, but if it's one where people aren't terribly web savvy it's completely possible that some visitors don't even realize that what they're doing is wrong. IMVHO, the way you plan to approach it sounds like a good way to educate those who need to be educated while letting the rest know that you're taking the issue seriously. If that approach doesn't work, you may have to get tougher.
3:34 am on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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That's total BS that someone would do that to you. Though I am struggling to maintain my faith that Google wouldn't ding you for Duplicate Content, I'm glad you asked them to take it down.

If they don't, then #*$!-slap 'em until they do.

7:43 am on Aug 17, 2007 (gmt 0)

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It's for the town where I live.

My site isn't "official" in any way or endorsed by the city or homeowners' associations, but still you would not believe how many calls I get from people assuming that it is. Which could be part of the problem. Maybe they think it is an "official" site and they have a right to use the info however they want, as they would with a government publication (although I don't think the average visitor knows that).

I even have a notice right about the contact form stating that, but a lot of times people ignore it.

Besides the email that I sent, I also added a Terms & Conditions page stating what was acceptable and what wasn't.

And you're right. A lot of the visitors don't know any better, which was what I said in my email to the other site owners. I didn't think that the intent was malicious, but Google doesn't recognize intent and I would still get a duplicate content penalty.

3:01 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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cma01 said: People like the content I write, so much so that they are *constantly* copying part or all of my articles and posting on other forums as references. And then they never even mention where they got it or put a link back to my site.

This method will sound stupid, but you'd be amazed how often it works:

    Within your articles (say, at the end of some random paragraph or two), include your copyright notice and/or the originating page's URL, but have this text color-match your page's background color (so it's effectively invisible).

Since this short and informational text is not "keyword stuffing" and will not comprise a sizeable portion of your page, this "hidden" text will not result in search-engine penalties. (I speak from experience.)

Since the people doing the copy-n-paste are not rocket scientists (which is why they can't think of anything intelligent to say, and can't figure out how to post links to your site), they won't even notice when your text shows up on the (almost always tinted background of the) forum. (Again, I speak from experience.)

Note: By including this text, it may also be easier to find the copies, since you can search on the copyright, etc. Then click through to see any "hits" that aren't based on your domain.

Eliz.

P.S. My sympathies for your infringement problems. Good luck!

3:14 pm on Aug 18, 2007 (gmt 0)

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I suspect you need to be embedding your links into your text, not sneakily, but openly:

blah blah blah. Here at www.example.com we ....

Most forum scripts will change www.example.com into a live link when it is reposted.

Another thing you can try is to make it hard to copy and paste by CSS positioning and use of floats. Have it so that a copy and paste of more than a few paragraphs will take ads, navigation, copyright, etc. with it - so that it becomes easier just to link to it.

 

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