You put an incredible amount of time and effort into developing your website, and a lot of thought and brain power into writing your copy – deliberating over every word to make sure that it is perfect – and it can be devastating to find out that somebody has duplicated your content by copying and pasting it onto their own website and passing it off as their own work.
I have been in this exact situation on two occasions in recent years, and know of quite a few colleagues and other business owners who have also found themselves in the same boat.
Fortunately, there are ways and means of running checks on your website content to quickly and easily locate any duplicates so that you can act to have the infringing material removed from the offending website promptly.
Search for copies of your content
To run some simple checks of your website content, head to either:
- Copyscape (link to http://www.copyscape.com/)
Here, simply enter your website URL into the search bar and it will do an extensive scan of the web and come back to you with a list of websites containing duplicate content.
You will need to thoroughly review the results that Copyscape provides as it is possible that some sites could be legitimately using your content (i.e. content that has been syndicated as part of an agreement, or when someone has quoted a snippet of your text).
Keep in mind that Copyscape will only show you a limited number of results on the free plan. Upgrade to a premium account for broader results and extra functionality, including CopySentry which monitors the web for copies of your content and sends you an email when new copies appear.
- Grammarly (link to https://www.grammarly.com/plagiarism)
This system works slightly differently from Copyscape, in that you need to copy and paste your content (as opposed to just your URL). Grammarly will then check your text against over 8 billion websites and return you a list of websites containing duplicate content.
Protecting your content is a very important part of maintaining your website and I recommend conducting these searches on a regular basis to ensure the integrity of your content.
What to do if your website content has been stolen
If you do happen to find unauthorised copies of your website content, proceed promptly to:
- Find contact details for the website owner. If you cannot locate contact details on the website, use a service like Whois (link to https://www.whois.net/) to determine the owner.
- Make contact with the owner of the website requesting that it be removed.
- If your requests for removal are ignored, you will need to consider your next steps. In some cases it may be possible to take legal action but depending on the amount of copy that has been stolen, it may be cheaper and less time consuming to update your own content.
Just remember, search engines could penalise your website for having duplicate content. With this in mind, if you find stolen versions of your content you will need to ensure that you act quickly to either have it taken down from the offending website or promptly rewrite your own version to avoid any possible search engine ramifications for your own website.
Good luck, and I hope that you never find yourself in this situation!
Melissa is an online business manager and website designer, who works with fellow rockstar women-in-business, providing support to overhaul their web presence and grow their businesses beyond their wildest dreams!