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Unique content is a major factor in ranking website. But what happen if anybody copies your unique content? How does Google prioritize the websites then? Does is affect on rankings too much? What are the methods to stay protected from being copied?

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You can arm yourself against this by using the rel=author meta tag for all your content then you are claiming it as your own. If people should copy your content, they will get "outed" with the engines. It comes down to building Author Ranking. Check also this one: Google Confirms Author Ranking; What Does That Mean To You?.

But if someone stole your content you should get it removed. Ask the people who copied your content to take it down and if this doesn't work you should file a DMCA. If you file for a DMCA, make sure you don't move your content around (keep it on the same URL) so Google can verify the date of the content.

You can find if someone is copying your content by using Copyscape or Google alerts.

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I would assume that Google treats the one with rel=author or the one that appears first as the original content. Any second appearances might be treated as duplicate. However, there are steps that you can take to prevent your content from being copied. This is especially useful on text content.

  1. Do not show the content to everyone. This is not universally applicable though. You can keep barriers such as registration before viewing the content. This would prevent bots from copying content. You may also make people pay to view the content. Beware:this is not universally applicable.

  2. Serve text as an image. This is a big search engine no-no, but would help the cause if you receive most of your traffic from social media.

  3. It should be easy to write a Javascript code to prevent selection of content or prevent right clicking on a webpage. However, this can be easily circumvented by disabling Javascript or by using ctrl+C.

  4. I have seen people using Javascript to add a tag line to every text that was copied from the page using ctrl+C or by using right mouse click. The tag line would be something like this:

Source:mysite.com. For more, please visit "pageurl"

This has brought surprising results because this has the added advantage of bringing in a backlink for every copied content. But this also can be circumvented easily if the one copying is a real person, he will easily remove the tag line.

So to conclude, if you are exposing content, you are making it vulnerable to be copied. You can only make it difficult for the person, by making him sit and type the whole thing out rather than just copying and pasting it. If your content is copied, you can always make a complaint to DMCA to have the copied content removed. Also there are services such as Copyscape that would regularly monitor your content and alert you if someone copies it. They also have some cool looking banners to scare the copiers away.

Hope this helps.

  • One thought. Bots do not right-click anything. It is rare that content is copied by a person. – closetnoc Dec 26 '14 at 16:27
  • @closetnoc Right click prevention was meant for human plagiarizers. Yes, copying by bots is the most common. However, I have seen users on my site stuffing content from wikipedia in between their on work. Though rare, people do copy stuff for whatever reasons ;) – Rana Prathap Dec 26 '14 at 17:10
  • I hope I was not insulting. That was not my intent. I happen to see a ton of bots because I set traps and bait out and track stealth scrapers. I am not so familiar with the tools available for sites to stop bots. I know they exist. Are you familiar with any of these? – closetnoc Dec 26 '14 at 17:16
  • @closetnoc No no, you did not sound that way. My bad. If you are looking for ways to stop spam bots, there are plenty. I remember a community wiki here on the same. But to stop copier bots, I am not familiar with many. – Rana Prathap Dec 26 '14 at 17:52
  • I did not think you felt insulted. I was just having an after-thought. I can be rather curt and matter-of-fact sometimes when I am really a gentle person. I always recommend that people keep as much of a daily watch over their log files and block obvious bad bots. One of the things I am working on is content and (in particular) an RSS feed of stealth bots that people can use and automated code generation to help. I hate bad bots. It seems like everybody and their brother and weird little cousin are creating them these days. – closetnoc Dec 26 '14 at 17:59

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