Katrine Spirina

@katrinespirina

Shield Your Website from Content Thieves

Modern online marketing is the copywriting battlefield. It is not like the other days when black and grey hat SEO marketing yielded positive results. To win the love of search giants like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, marketers create high-quality and engaging content for web portals and social networks. Nonetheless, there are some cheaters who are always slipping into the convenience of using a ready-made content. It’s time to shed light on the problem of stealing content and the methods of protecting it.

Going forward, I leave behind brackets all the well-known methods of verifying the authorship. The article’s main goal is to help website owners make their content secure.

Who needs to steal?

For over 10 years of work, OCSICO’s marketing team has come across a number of web portals filled with the content stolen from us. Most of those websites were removed through our efforts. Due to such kind of activity, we managed to maintain high trust level of our website. Now I can uncover information about those engaged in stealing content. So, who are they?

  • Unscrupulous web developers. Almost about half of the unscrupulous web portals we came across were the clones of our corporate website. Basically, they were small web-agencies that simply tricked their clients who had opted for their web development services. Some of their HTML coders used our content as the default filling of their web templates. Others cared to change a corporate logo but stole UX design, portfolio screenshots, product and project titles.
  • Dark SEO masters. However naïve it may sound to you, some so-called SEO specialists honestly believe it is enough to copy the content of a high ranked website to gain that equal trust, traffic and ranks. Actually, it doesn’t work but may affect the original website. Therefore, it is crucial to prevent the activities for creating clone websites.
  • Lazy copywriters. The temptation of stealing a whole article or several neat paragraphs is often irresistible. Otherwise, someone will have to switch brain on.

Why is shielding content necessary?

First comes SEO reasons. Search engines could often index clone websites much faster than your own original web portal. In this case, your content will work for competitors rather than for you. It may even trigger the rating indexes’ fall, which is absolutely unacceptable for your website.

Secondly, quality content is your investment into the website. And you need is to keep your investments safe, or the invested money will work not on your side but on dishonest competitors.

Thirdly, unique content boosts sales. If prospective clients lose track of your website among many similar others, you will lose orders.

Technical means of content protection

1. Restrict access to websites from an insecure location. It is an effective but controversial technique. Website lock-down is a rare case. Alternatively, you can go less radical way and forcibly redirect users to regional copies of a website.

2. Ban copying and disable context menu by means of JavaScript. This really works for nubby users only. Moreover, not all the browsers support these features. It ends up with that you won’t protect content from skilled content thieves but will significantly reduce your website usability and compatibility.

3. Prevent text selection in CSS-styles. It is not a universal solution too as there is a number of workarounds to copy certain content.

4. Use specific render engines. Maybe you still remember flash-based websites where it was impossible to copy a text in case the author was against it. The engines that allow generating bitmaps instead of native text work the same way. Today, with no system constraints, you can easily employ this technique. But you shouldn’t forget that in this case, search engines will ignore your website and won’t index it.

5. Personalization. This method really works! You will need more content compared to a traditional website and a special CMS that tracks user profiles and offers the most relevant content in separate blocks. Combine the use of the CMS with A&B testing and you will increase the variety of displayed content and will prevent stealing the whole of it.

Structural means

You need to deepen content integration into your website structure. It will make copying of selected pages a pointless activity for the thieves.

Dynamic website structure

Employ specific approaches to organize the content and structure of your web portal. You can replace voluminous articles with the snapshots of topics. Or you can upload new content in separate frameworks or clickable spoilers. End-users will surely appreciate the high usability of a website that adds content on demand. As a bonus, content thieves won’t be able to restore a webpage structure, since they aren’t among your target audience and don’t follow the logic of content presentation. On the other hand, you should be careful with splitting content into frames. A part of this information may slip away from search crawlers and, as the result, affect indexing. You need to work out the architecture of your web solution or even give a thought to a custom web application. This way, you hit two birds with one stone: maintain content attractiveness for search engines and make your website really user-friendly and easy-to-use for visitors and your copywriters.

Copywriting means

Content branding

If a rival copywriter realizes that it is necessary to rewrite more than 30% of the content, the idea of copying your pages won’t seem so attractive any longer. To prevent stealing content, follow these tips:

· Opt for a brand-centered approach to creating content

· Often mention a company name and products

· Make active use of interlinking inner pages

· Insert names of your employees

· Mention office and store addresses

From author’s perspective

When appropriate, write the content in a first person. Insert as many details and references to personal experience as you can. A bit sense of humor and sarcastic remarks will contribute a lot to your article. Several bold author techniques will most certainly scare off unscrupulous copywriters who are always searching for neutral content.

Dynamic blocks

Add such blocks as News, Insights, Recommended articles, etc., on each page. For your target audience, it will be a usability feature, whilst for content hunters, it will be a real nightmare.

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