Content theft has been a real pain in the butt for webmasters/bloggers for as long as the web has existed.
There is no foolproof way to stop content theft and it can even become detrimental for the original source when it gets outranked or filtered from Google for its own contents.
So what can you do to prevent content theft? You can make it increasingly difficult/annoying to copy content and at the same time leverage it. The more difficult stealing content becomes, the less likely it will be targeted by scrapers. Here is how:
1. Truncate your RSS feed
Don’t provide full content in your feeds. This is because scrapers are generally lazy and they need tons of content as quickly as possible. Copying content from RSS feeds is much easier than manually checking each and every website for full content.
2. Leave digital fingerprints
Leave digital fingerprints on your RSS feeds, like copyright notice or links 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 fingerprints to your RSS feeds.
Here is how this digital fingerprint might look on your RSS feed:
The digital fingerprint contains a link back to my post and site, as well as copyright information.
There are two advantages of this digital fingerprint. One you can easily detect content theft (like by setting Google alerts for @2010-2020 optimizesmart.com). The second advantage is that you may get a link back to your site when the content is scraped, especially by scraping software.
3. Use Embed Anything technology on your web pages
This forces scrapers to copy content with a link back to your site. So whenever a scraper tries 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 of course remove the links from the copied contents later. But now copying contents from your web pages (without link attribution) is hard work.
I also use the free script provided by Tynt. So even if the scraper ignores my ’embed article’ box, he will still get a link back to my site on scraped contents. So I recommend using both Embed Anything 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
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 hotlinking
Allow hotlinking of the images for which you want to get backlinks. If bandwidth is not an issue, this can be a very good way to rank your images.
This old post from Search Engine Journal can guide you in leveraging hotlinking. The lazy scrapers may pick up your code for hotlinking your images.
Add at least one link (back to your website) within the content. The more the better. So in the case your whole article got scraped, your contextual links will also get scraped along with the article and you will get attribution in the form of links.
Use this tactic especially on the content you provide through RSS feed or for syndication through creative commons license.
8. Cloak your RSS feeds
It means providing 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 on this post on the Plagiarism Today website.
9. Induce fear in scrapers by adding strong copyright notices at the end of each post
“This post is copyright protected. We are very protective of our contents. We use copyscape and other technologies to detect illegal 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.”
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About the Author
Over 15 years of experience in digital analytics and marketing
Author of four best-selling books on digital analytics and conversion optimization
Nominated for Digital Analytics Association Awards for Excellence
Runs one of the most popular blogs in the world on digital analytics
Consultant to countless small and big businesses over the decade