Who's stealing your content?

By the Editor In SEO 5 Comments

Continuing with the series of SEO blog posts by our Director, Christopher Mills, today we’re looking at content theft and how to benefit from it.


The World Wide Web thrives with people who steal content and publish it for self gain. This is, of course, theft, but there is very little a publisher can do to stop it from happening. Fortunately, it’s not all doom and gloom, and remaining positive about the situation is the way forwards as there are ways to benefit from this.

Today, I want to look at several things that relate to finding out who is stealing your content and how to benefit from it.


1. Google Alerts

Google Alerts are an incredibly useful method for monitoring the web for new content that gets published. With a Google Alert you’re able to track a word or a phrase and when it appears on the Internet, Google will send you an email notification along with a link to where the content was published. You could set up Google Alerts for phrases in your best pieces of content and then get notified when people steal your content. This is an effective method, however, rather labour intensive.

2. Copyscape

Copyscape is one of our favourites, a simple website that allows you to enter in a link to your content and in return it provides you with a list of other websites that have published your content or similar content. This will assist you in quickly finding websites that are copying your content. A premium account at Copyscape will allow you to receive notifications of plagiarism.

3. Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools offers a feature that shows you all the links back to your website. Through this you will be able to click through to the websites who have linked back to you, and identify if any of them are linking back to you for reusing your content.

Those 3 methods will assist you in tracking down who is using your content and from here there is room to look for opportunity. Here are a few ways to benefit from people stealing your content:

1. Requesting a reference link

Once you’ve identified someone who is stealing your content, you could approach them via email and ask if they’d please link back to the original source. Most people think that this won’t yield any returns, but don’t be so quick to assume, we’ve had great success with this method. The secret is to be polite and don’t attack the person who has reused your content.

2. Automate the reference link

Tynt is a very useful tool on the Internet that inserts the page URL when your content is pasted into emails and social sites. What this means is that when someone copy and pastes your content, a link to your website is automatically included in the content that was copied.

3. RSS Feed link inclusion

If you’re a WordPress user, and someone is stealing your content, you could use a WordPress plugin such as RSS Footer. This plugin allows you to easily add a link of text to the beginning or end of all the articles you publish, so if someone steals your content through an RSS feed, and publishes it elsewhere, it’ll automatically include a link back to your website. Please note that this plugin is rather outdated and should be tested before using.

At the end of the day, the best way to handle content theft is through optimism and an attempt to gain value from it.

There are alternative options, such as using a Takedown service from the DMCA, speaking to a copyright lawyer or using myows (A South African startup that assist with copyright protection), but sometimes it’s just easier to do a little outreach marketing yourself.