by Christa Louw
Who said that duplicate content penalty is a myth and when did they?
Following Google’s latest Panda update (September 27th, 2012), a number of bloggers reported that their posts and Google rankings have been negatively impacted due to penalty for duplicate content. It is therefore NOT a myth, apparently it used to be prior to this Panda update! Even if we live in a world where we’d love to encourage “open source” everywhere, it may actually hurt individual marketers if this is left unchecked. The good news is that there are ways to take care of this and we can say “good bye” to the penalty inflicted by Google.
What is the problem? The internet is a public forum and you want your blog posts to be available to anybody to read and to enjoy. Unfortunately that also opens your site to “professional scrapers”, people who copy your content not just for personal use, but to reproduce this content on their own websites or even to sell it as content authored by themselves. Especially if you have very good, unique content and long articles, these may be targeted by unscrupulous individuals on the internet.
Duplicate content could have an effect on your rankings if you are ranked by search engines such as Google. Unfortunately it appears that Google algorithms do not do a good job at present to determine which website has the original content. You may therefore be penalized when duplicate content is found and it may drop your ranking on the Google search results significantly.
What can be done, if anything? Of course there is recourse without having to go the legal route, but the proverbial prevention is much better than cure. Although you cannot really prevent copying of your work, if it is important enough to you, you can register your work at your choice of a number of websites to claim copyright to your work before anyone has the chance to copy your work.
1) MYOWS website – My Original Works
Sign up for a free account to protect your work, depending on the amount of work you have to protect, there are also a variety of paid plans available depending on the amount of work you have to protect.
2) Copy Scape
Check your pages for free for stolen copies elsewhere on the web. Watch this video to see how it works.
3) You can claim authorship in Google Webmaster tools
The content you create can be linked to your Google+ profile by using rel=”author”. Claiming authorship can be done in one of two ways, either by identifying yourself by using an email on your blog’s domain, or alternatively to link to your Google+ profile.
4) Notify Google of Copyright Infringement.
If your Google rankings and traffic drops because of duplicate content of your work on other websites, the DMCA** dashboard is the place to go to notify Google of copyright infringement. Follow the link below, it will work fine if you are logged into your Google account that is associated with Google Webmaster Tools: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-dashboard. Click on “Create a new notice”. DMCA refers to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
5) If you use WordPress, use a copyright Plugin
Unless this is linked to a paid service, it has little direct value for automated scrapers stealing your content.
However, it may deter individuals. See at the bottom of this post, where I have used “Copyrighted Post”.
Actions to take away:
- Sign up to Google+ (if you havent done so yet) and claim authorship to your posts!
- Register at websites such as CopyScape, MYOWS or http://www.myfreecopyright.com/ if you are concerned about others duplicating your content en masse.
- If you found this post useful, please let us know by commenting below or by sharing your own experience with Search Engine copyright penalties!