10 Powerful Tips to Leverage Content Theft


Content theft has been a real pain in the butt for webmasters/bloggers for as long as the web has existed. There is no full proof way to stop content theft and it can even become detrimental for the original source when it get outranked or filtered from google for its own contents. So what you can do to prevent content theft. You can make it increasingly difficult/annoying to copy contents and at the same time leverage it. More difficult stealing contents becomes, the less likely it will be targeted by scrapers. Here is how:


1. Truncate your RSS feed. Don’t provide full contents in your feeds. This is because scrappers are generally lazy and they need tons of contents as quickly as possible. Copying contents from RSS feeds is much easier than manually checking each and every website for full contents.


2. Leave digital finger prints on your RSS feeds like copyright notice or link back to your site at the end of each post/article in your RSS feed. You can use the wordpress RSS footer plugin to automatically add digital finger prints to your RSS feeds. Here is how this digital finger print might look on your RSS feed.

The digital finger print contains a link back to my post and site, as well as copyright information.







There are two advantages of this digital finger print. One you can easily detect content theft (like by setting Google alerts for @2010-2020 optimizesmart.com). Second advantage is that you may get a link back to your site when the content is scraped esp. by a scraping software.


3. Use embed anything technology on your web pages that forces scrapers to copy contents with a link back to your site. So whenever a scraper try to copy text from your web page (which has more than 10 words), an embed article widget window will pop up that will force him to copy contents with a link back to your site.


 A scraper can off course remove the links from the copied contents later. But now copying contents from your web pages (without link attribution) is a hard work. You can see this technology in action on my site SEO Takeaways. Try to copy a text on my blog. You will see the ‘embed article’ box as in the image above. To use this technology all you need to do is create a free account on embedanything.com and then copy past their java script into all of your web pages. I also use the free script provided by Tynt. So even if the scraper ignored my ‘embed article’ box, he will still get a link back to my site on scraped contents. So i recommend using both embedanything and Tynt technologies. Here is how the copied content from my blog may look on a scraper site:

The scraped content contains a link back to my post and blog






Note: There is also an embed article plugin for wordpress sites.

4. Disable right mouse click on your images. This will make stealing your images difficult. There are many scripts available out there, like this one to disable right mouse click on an image. There is also a wordpress plugin for this.


5. Provide an alternative to stealing images. If you want to do link building through images on your site, then you can make some of your images available for free use but with link attribution. To enforce link attribution, copy paste the embed image script from embedanything.com into all of your web pages. Whenever a scraper will mouse over your image, he will see an ‘embed image’ box that will encourage him to embed the image instead of stealing it. You can again see this technology in action on my blog.


Mouse over this image to see the Embed Button



Here you are offering the scraper to embed your image on his site instead of stealing it. Since grabbing the code and copying and pasting it easier than saving the image and loading it on the server, the scraper may use this code. There is also a wordpress plugin for this.


6. Take advantage of Hot Linking. Allow hot linking of the images for which you want to get back links. If bandwidth is not an issue, this can be a very good way to rank your images. This old post from search engine journal and another from Patrick Altoft of Blogstorm can guide you in leveraging hot linking. The lazy scrapers may pick up your code for hot linking your images. Check the blog post: image optimization tips that will help you tons for more image link building tips.


7. Take advantage of contextual links. Add at least one link (back to your website) within the contents. More the better. So in case your whole article got scraped, your contextual links will also get scrapped along with the article and you will get attribution in the form of links. Use this tactic esp. on the contents you provide through RSS feed or for syndication through creative common license.


8. Cloak your RSS feeds. It means provide different RSS feeds to known scrapers. Check your server logs to find the IP address of the person/site who scraps your RSS feed/contents all the time and then serve him different version of the RSS feed. You can find more about this method here.


9. Induce fear in scrapers by adding strong copyright notices at the end of each post. For e..g.

“This post is copyright protected. We are very protective of our contents. We use copyscape and other technologies to detect illegeal copies of our contents on the internet and make sure that the scrapers are prosecuted to maximum extent under the copyright laws. If you wish to syndicate our contents, please give due attribution in the form of a do follow back link to our site.”


Note: You can get plagiarism warning banners from here and buttons and badges from here.


10. Get your work registered. If you are really serious about protecting your contents then learn about copyright, patents and trademarks and register your work. You can copyright your website, its text and images just for a one time fees of $35. Circular 66 is used for registration of online work.



11. Create pages optimized for the content thief (name, company, bank, ISP, …) and make them rank for [scraper-name caught stealing] and you know what else. (Excellent tip given by Sebastian)

Other Posts you may find useful:

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  • http://Website Nicole

    I believe that content protection is a very important issue and this makes your post so useful. I am planning to write a similar post and would link out to your post. I also like your posts on seo contracts. Thanks a lot. Will come back to check other posts.

  • http://Website Tony

    This is an excellent post for all bloggers. I have even implemented the embed anything technology. Thanks a lot.

  • http://Website Richard Burton

    Useful tips Himanshu. Thanks for sharing this post.

  • http://Website Sean

    Do you have any extra info on how to knock down scrapers. My contents are copied all the time. Thanks for the post.

    • seo himanshu

      Hi Sean! Register your copyright and then file a lawsuit.

  • http://Website twistedmind

    well researched and actionable post. Thanks for this great read. Keep coming.

  • http://Website David

    A very actionable post. Many thanks. I would love to see you write something on DMCA and how to stop scrapers.

  • http://Website Buddy

    I really hate when people steal my contents and publish them on their sites esp. without a link back to the source. I will try some of the things you have mentioned. Thanks for this awesome piece and nice blog.

  • http://Website Jerry

    Great info.
    We publish our articles under the creative common license which require attribution in the form of a back link. We have earned few links from high authority sites too. I think licensing your contents is a solid marketing strategy.

  • http://Website Matt

    Awesome write up.

  • http://Website Anurag

    Fantastic post. I am presently dealing with a scrapper who has copied entire contents of my site. Can you suggest me how to stop him? He doesn’t reply to my mails :(

    • seo himanshu

      Find the IP address of the scrapper through your server log and block him or file a DMCA.

  • http://Website Jonathan

    Thank you so much for this wonderful post. Bookmarked :)

  • http://Website Eric

    Great article. Some fantastic tips to leverage content theft.

    • http://www.google.com/ Jenay

      Very true! Makes a change to see soemnoe spell it out like that. :)

  • http://Website Justin

    Great tips. But i am not in the favor of allowing hotlinking. I once lost 2000k of my bandwidth becuase of image theft.

  • http://Website Vikas Aggarwal

    That’s an awesome post Himanshu. Consider me as your new fan. Keep it up.

  • http://Website zerodtkjoe

    Thanks for the info

  • http://sebastians-pamphlets.com/ Sebastian

    Your advice “Disable right clicks” totally ruined your otherwise great article. Many surfers navigate via context menu.

    Also, you could add 11: ORM nightmares. Create pages optimized for the content thief (name, company, bank, ISP, …) and make them rank for [scraper-name caught stealing] and you know what else.

    • seo himanshu

      Thanks for the tip Sebastian. This post is very much a work in progress. Thanks for stopping by.

  • http://Website Gary

    Hi Himanshu ! Great tips. One particular technique which i have found useful is removing all the blank space from your source code (off course without breaking the HTML code). In this way it will become very difficult for a scraper to steal contents even after looking at the the source code.

    • seo himanshu

      That’s a good tip. Only problem is that, the developers will have to maintain two versions of each page otherwise it will be a nightmare to understand and modify the code.

    • http://www.bing.com/ Bobs

      It’s about time soomene wrote about this.

  • http://www.georgescifo.com George

    Great Tips Himanshu..Most of these were new to me as I was aware of only the right click disabling stuff…

  • http://www.facebook.com/raghuvardhan.seo SEO Expert

    Content is the king for Search engines.. as well so many members theft the content from another sites. I was face the some problems like this…. I will follow your guidelines to protect my unique content… Thanks for your information.

  • http://Website badmash

    I just signed up to your blogs rss feed. Will you post more on this subject?

    • seo himanshu

      Thanks for the sign up. I may post more on this subject in the future.

      • http://www.facebook.com/raghuvardhan.seo SEO EXpert Hyderabad

        When will we expect your next post… now am subscribe be to your rss feed…

  • http://www.lordoftheringstour.com elayne@ lord of the rings tour

    Great, I had no idea I could do this as I have just started my blog and as far as I know no-one has copied anything, I have another to start shortly and I really want to protect my content but have no issue if someone uses it and gives me credit for my work (and preferably a backlink). Thank you for the ideas, i too have bookmark this for later referrals.

  • http://Website vaibhav

    Excellent post by you. from last few weeks i am following your comments and posting on different sites. You have a gr8 knol related to SEO. Keep sharing info like this.
    Himashu i read in your comments can u please tell me how can we block particular IP to c our site

  • http://www.solidblogger.com Bapun

    Great post and lovely writing skills.

  • http://www.nitgreen.com/seo.html Green SEO Company UK

    Hey Himanshu Sharma,

    I was finding the same tips,

    actually one of my client conscious about content , he said find any thing that no one can copy our content ,

    now i got the tips, thanks Himanshu.

  • http://www.bing.com/ Tess

    This is way more hlepufl than anything else I’ve looked at.

  • http://www.hafizkhurram.com/ webdesign uk

    I hope it will inspire many more people. Thanks for this use full article.

  • http://www.distil.it Sean Harmer

    Hi Himanshu – Thanks for writing this post backin 2010. I’m curious if you have any new updates to the list.

    One thing that might be helpful to mention here is the use of a random naming scheme for images/files on a website. Many websites have a predictable naming format, making it easy to automate the theft of all the site’s images/files.

    Example of bad/generic file names:
    etc… (see the easy pattern?)

    Example of better, more random file naming:

    There are free tools out there that help generate random file names (Note: I don’t endorse any of these. Use at own risk):

    Thanks again for the post Look forward to any updates you might have.

    Best regards,

    • http://www.seotakeaways.com/ Himanshu

      Hi Sean! Thanks for stopping by my blog. According to SEO best practices, one should use descriptive file names for images. The names which clearly describe the images. When you do that then you don’t need to generate random file names as each file name will automatically be unique.

      • http://www.distil.it Sean Harmer

        That is a good point. Problem is, there are a lot of standard photo management tools that ask for a description but still append a number to the end of the description. And sometimes there are too many photos to manually name every photo. Especially on photo-centric sites.

        Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

        Anyway, thanks for the reply. It’s good to see the post is still watched.

  • carrie

    Superb post. Iamblogger