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One of our websites was copied word for word all 400 pages by someone who used a special program to clone the site. We saw the program in the code.

This was done in early April and soon after that we lost a lot of rank in Google. We just discovered the copied site today. It is mirrorred 100%.

We did change the front page of our site since then to make some differences but since the Penguin update, we still have not recovered. We have also corrected the problems in Webmaster Tools. Will the mirrored site affect our Google rank to a severe degree or are there other issues that are affecting us? What can be done about that mirrored site?

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6 Answers

I Googled this phrase from your website looking for a literal string match:-

"With all of the computer repair services available these days we understand that you, our customer, have many choices for your computer technical support needs."

Google lists 45 results for that very specific phrase, so it's not just one website, it's dozens, and this is why Google has downgraded your site. Most of your content appears to be generic bought text which only exists for SEO purposes.

Either your company has been engaging in some very dodgy SEO practices or your're using a template site with template content.

In short, your site is exactly the kind of site the Google is trying to get rid of with penguin and panda.

If you're really a genuine business I would buy a new domain and rewrite your entire site from top to bottom with original content and a cleaner design.

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I wrote that phrase myself. We did not buy it. It was not written for SEO since I know very little about it. I wrote it because it sounded good. If we rewrite the site it will only be copied again. I looked at some of the top websites and their stuff is copied all over as well. I tried phrases from almost every number one site with the same results. –  user15532 May 18 '12 at 20:58
    
@user15532 have you paid any SEO companies to work on your site? –  toomanyairmiles May 18 '12 at 21:07
    
No, we have done everything ourselves –  user15532 May 21 '12 at 14:12
    
@user15532 If you are genuine, and looking at the site I do have trouble believing that (which may be a problem for your business), then it appears someone has made some of the text from your website part of a template and sold that on to a lot of other people. You say you had a problem with webmaster tools, was this an unnatural links notice? –  toomanyairmiles May 21 '12 at 14:26
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@user15532 what was the problem with webmaster tools you alluded to in your question? It may be worth your time reading this question 'How to diagnose a search engine drop' –  toomanyairmiles May 21 '12 at 15:16
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Using @toomanyairmiles's research (thank you good sir), it's clear that this is a blackhat SEO attack on your site. You could always do a Whois lookup on the site to see who is behind all of this. In the very least, you can get a webhost name in which you can contact and request them to take the mirrored sites down.

If you can get the sites taken down - provided they don't pop back up - then your stats will recover eventually.

Though, I'm curious because you didn't mention this in your comment to toomanyairmiles; is your website a template? Who made it?

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We made the site. My son did the graphics in photoshop. We have been in business for 8 years doing remote and fixing computers for 15. We were one of the original remote support sites and we have thiousands of existing customers. This guy that copied us is in the US and he bought the domain from Go Daddy. He is hosting it in the UK with the privacy feature. –  user15532 May 21 '12 at 14:08
    
He mirrorred this site just before the Penquin update. He knew what he was doing. –  user15532 May 21 '12 at 14:17
    
It doesn't show the site host company? Not the domain registrar, the host. There's almost always a webmaster email address. If this looks like one used by a hosting company (or even domain registrar depending), send an email requesting they take down the site because of blackhat SEO techniques. –  Christopher May 21 '12 at 16:17
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I can't give you a very detailed answer (as I am not a legal professional), but I would recommend trying to solve your problem with a legal, approach. If you wrote your websites content, then you own the copyright on it. Copying content you own without your permission is against the law.

I would attempt to contact both the website owners and their hosts, and send them a takedown notice.

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Sending a Takedown Notice will require legal assistance, which is extremely costly. After doing some good digging around, I don't think that claiming that your work is original has enough legal grounds to take drastic action - that is unless @user15532 has already copyrighted his/her material under a license. I am not a lawyer, so this is not legal advice. It is an educated guess based off of research. –  Christopher May 19 '12 at 14:13
    
It plainly shows in the page code that this site was copied. Some pages even still have our website header un touched. Some pages that he forgot to change. –  user15532 May 21 '12 at 17:32
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I have the same problem. Our website is fully copied and available on another website. It looks like the offending party is trying to get links to their illegal businesses.

A quick research reveals the following tools, which I'll be using right now. I suggest you give them a shot too and also follow the other advice given by the other answers and comments.

  1. Google Webmaster Tools - Report alleged copyright infringement: Web Search
  2. Removing Content From Google
  3. Internet Crime Complaint Center - Filing a Complaint

Good luck.

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UPDATE: Google just got back to us that they removed the offending website from their search index. It works. Super! –  Mario Awad Feb 7 '13 at 10:26
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You should notify the hosting company of the offending websites. I had this issue with a website that was hosted by godaddy. They sent the offending website owners an email telling them to justify the use of my website data, etc. Upon no response, the offending website was removed by godaddy. That was the end of the story.

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Unfortunately, great contents gets copied, particularly if the brand is not widely known. Just like week I discovered a copy of several stackexchange sites and there is even an open question where they are listed.

As I build sites for a living, this has happened to several of my sites with text and even entire data-tables being copied. This led me to discover that people who copy content are often lazy. They rarely keep it up to date, if they cannot do so automatically. So, I strongly recommend that you add new things regularly, even if they are minor changes but mentioning new products, new versions, some specials, etc will keep your content newer than the copied one. Make the date up updates displayed, Google picks those up.

Beyond that do report where possible according to @Mario Awad's suggestion above (+1 to that answer BTW). Even if you cannot get the site taken down because some are outside areas where this can happen without much effort, having them delisted from Google is effective.

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