Last week, I promised you a story about a thief.
There are some extraordinarily lazy people out there who would rather steal the carefully-crafted text from your site and put it on their own, rather than do the work on describing their own services and products.
Think it doesn’t happen or won’t happen to you? Think again.
Back in 2004, I wrote an article about how to create and run a mastermind group. The first sentence goes like this:
“There is synergy of energy, commitment, and excitement that participants bring to a Mastermind Group.”
When I type that phrase into Google today, there are 7,330 OTHER websites with that phrase on it. Wow! Is it possible that 7,330 other people all had a collective zeitgeist-intuitive moment where we all read each others’ minds and wrote the same phrase?
Now, truthfully, some of these sites are people who asked permission to reprint my article and who attributed the article to me (38 of them).
The rest took (STOLE!) the text from my article, in part or in whole, and simply put it on their site to describe their own mastermind group.
Here’s a quick test you can try:
- Pick a phrase from your website that you feel is uniquely you.
- Copy and paste that phrase into Google in quotation marks. The quotation marks tell Google that you’re looking for the exact phrase, all the words in the same order right next to each other.
- Note the number of pages with exact phrase on it from the Google results.
- To find the websites that also have your name on them (after all, if someone is copying your text, shouldn’t they say who wrote it?), type the phrase again in quotations, and AFTER the last quotation mark, type a plus sign (+) and your full name in quotations. It looks something like this in the Google Search box:
“There is synergy of energy, commitment, and excitement that participants bring to a Mastermind Group” + “Karyn Greenstreet”
So What To Do Next?
The longer your text has been on the internet, the more likely someone will copy it. You have two choices:
- Ignore it, knowing that that Google frowns on duplicate content, so their sites will be penalized for having the same content as your own site, giving them poor SEO results.
- Go after the most egregious thieves, especially those who are direct competitors. Here’s what to do once you discover your text has been stolen.
Whichever you decide to do, always, always remember to copyright your website with the Federal Copyright office. In the USA, you can find out how to copyright your website at www.copyright.gov. It’s only $45, and the best investment you can make.
If you put a lot of work into the quality of the text on your website, consider creating a Google Alert to notify you when that exact text shows up on someone else’s website. Then you can make a decision what to do about the results. You can also use Copyscape.com to find marauders.