The Google Webmaster Central Blog wrote a post on duplicate content in June. They covered the topic pretty well, but there is one aspect of duplicate content that wasn’t covered as in-depthly as it could be. What should you do if your article content is scraped and a website fails to give you attribution.
Understand that duplicate content and scraped content are two different things. Duplicate content doesn’t necessarily have to be scraped. If you have the same content on two different sites and attribution is given to the proper source on both sites, it is still duplicate content. Articles, for instance, constitute this type of content. But if you do article marketing then the articles that are picked up at article directories by webmasters is not considered duplicate content by the search engines – at least in terms of content that they would prevent from being indexed. What that means is this: If you submit an article to a directory and that article is subsequently published by 3 other websites then all 3 of those websites could potentially have your article indexed for the same key phrases. That actually serves the purpose of article marketing and helps both the publisher of the article as well as the author.
What is frowned upon by the search engines – as it should be – is when a publisher picks up an article and doesn’t give attribution in the proper way. That is scraped content and goes against Google’s guidelines. So if that article published at an article directory and which was published by 3 other legitimate publishers is then published on a fourth website, but it is not noted that you are the author and your author resource box is not included then that is article scraping and a type of duplicate content that you should concern yourself with. If you notice that such a web page is listed in the search engines results for your key phrases, what should you do?
First, try contacting the website owner and sending a friendly letter, asking for attribution or removal from the site. If contact information is not available (oftentimes it isn’t) then you’ll want to send a spam report to Google. To do that, log into Google Webmaster Tools. If you have sitemaps on file with Google then you’ll see those listed. On the rights side of those websites you’ll see a list of links. One of those links is “Report spam in our index”. Fill out the spam report and wait.
It could take some time before you see anything come of that. If you really want to push it, try looking up the Whois information on the domain name and finding the ISP. Report the scraper to their ISP. Reputable ISP ban websites that conduct themselves in a dishonest manner.