You’re working hard to improve your website, rank higher in Google and get good traffic, you feel pretty good about all things digital, then all of a sudden, bam, you find a copied version of your website, a crucial piece of content. So what do you do? You contact a lawyer, you rewrite your content. Or do you punch one of your computer monitors?
Today, we’re going to answer these questions as we dove into what to do when your website content gets stolen. First off, I totally get that angry reaction when you first see another site that’s copied your content word for word or stolen your site’s design and added their own content to it. It’s super frustrating and discouraging. And I’ve put in your shoes many times. Fortunately, I’ve got some good advice here on how to handle it. We’re going to go over three options today of how to approach this issue. And no, punching your monitor is not one of. To start, one approach is the legal action approach before we start disclaimer, I’m certainly not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. If you’ve taken the steps to have your website copyrighted, you can work with an intellectual property law firm to pursue legal action against somebody who has stolen your site’s design or content. Getting your content copyrighted is a big process that can take a while. But once that’s done and knowledgeable and reputable IP law firm can help out with the next steps, if your design or content is proprietary in nature, this can be a good step. But in general, I don’t recommend going with this option for a few reasons. It can be very time consuming and expensive to copyright your site and pursue legal action. The website you’re trying to take action on might be difficult to track down, and you can end up investing a lot of time and money with little results. That said, this can be a good option if your circumstances dictate it. A second option is to take a couple of quick steps to lessen the impact the stolen website content has on your site without needing legal action. To do this, I recommend filing a DMCA claim with Google. This can be done in just a few minutes and lets Google know that somebody has stolen your content and you want that site removed from Google’s index.
Google typically takes very quick action on these and it can help alleviate any potential impact in search. Another thing you can do is contact the offending sites Web post and file a complaint with them. Hosting companies don’t like it when people have stolen content on their servers. And I’ve personally had very good luck getting sites taken down here in violation by sending a nice email to their Web post, along with some proof of the stolen content. There are a few quick ways to figure out who’s hosting a particular website that has your stolen content on it. One of the easiest ways is to go to who’s hosting this dotcom or Google, who’s hosting this. And you can use a tool to drop in their website URL and it will spit back who’s hosting that website. The final option is a strange one, but in a lot of circumstances, the right one do nothing. Yes, it’s challenging to bottle up all of that anger and then sit on your hands. But the facts are that website content design and images are stolen millions of times per day and there’s very little that you can do about it.
Google has gotten really great at determining who the original creator of a piece of content is and giving them proper credit and search results. So it’s very rare nowadays that a copied website can negatively impact you in search. As I mentioned before, it can be challenging to track down who’s behind a site with stolen content. So your time may be better spent continuing to make your site more amazing so that more people want to steal your content. Having your content stolen is a side effect of having a popular, well trafficked website nowadays.
Ultimately, it is up to you on how you want to approach things when this happens. But these three strategies should help guide you in the right direction for your business.