Have you ever wondered what to do when people use your RSS feed to scrape (automatically copy) your blog content directly onto their site? How do you ensure that they don’t rank higher in the search engines for that article than you do? It’s been known to happen, but is not very hard to prevent.
This is actually not as difficult to handle as some people believe. In this post I will give you a few simple tools and resources you can use to handle this, as well as links to posts where other bloggers have discussed the same issue and how they have resolved it.
First of all, here is a brief video by Google’s Matt Cutts where he discusses this issue and how to prevent it from causing trouble for you, and your content’s search engine rankings.
As mentioned in the video above, the most important thing is to ensure that copies of your content always include a link back to the original article where you published it. In the case of a blog, this will usually be your original blog post where your article or other content appeared.
At this point, you may be wondering how to ensure that your scraped content always includes a link to your post.
Handling #1 – WordPress Plugin
This is quite simple with a WordPress plugin which can be found here:
This plugin makes it easy for you to add a link of text (which can include hyperlinks) which will appear at the beginning or end of every article in your feeds. This line of text won’t appear on the original post, it will only appear in your feeds. So, if someone publishes the content of your RSS feed on their blog, your line of text (and links) will appear with your content.
You can customize this text to always include a link to your blog and the original post. For example, a footer for this article might read:
This post was originally published on Building from Nothing at How to Handle RSS Scrapers Who Copy or Steal Your Content.
When such a line appears at the bottom of each article which appears in your RSS feed, it’s virtually impossible for someone to automatically copy it without also including your footer – and your link.
Handling #2 – Check Your WordPress Settings
You might want to also ensure that the full content of your posts doesn’t display in your RSS feeds, but only an Excerpt.
To handle this, take the following steps.
- Go to your WordPress Admin Panel:
- Click on “Settings” and then “Reading”
- Under “For each article in a feed, show” ensure that “Summary” is selected. (This is the default so is probably already set this way if you haven’t changed it.)
The above quick handlings should be enough to put your mind at ease – there may be situations when this isn’t enough, but it’s relatively rare.
Handling #3 – Search and Respond
In some cases, content is simply plagiarized, directly and blatantly. The above techniques won’t work if someone manually copy-pastes your content onto their site, without including a link to you content. In some cases, they will also remove your name as the author or even pose as the author themselves by adding their own name to your content. This is plagiarism and it’s illegal. One wonders why anyone would have such a low respect for themselves and others to stoop to such a level … but we can leave that for another day.
Here is a good tool you can use to find out if your content has been plagiarized:
This service is available for free and paid use – but even the paid uses are remarkably low in price. At the time of writing, Premium Searches cost only $.05 each, and the minimum purchase is $5.00 (100 searches).
If you hire a writer for any of your sites, you could also use this tool in reverse, to ensure that your writer isn’t plagiarizing on anyone else’s content and adding it to your site! A paid search on Copyscape allows you to check an entire site, up to 10,000 pages, for copied content, with one batch search.
Copyscape also provides banners which you can add to your site, in order to warn others not to plagiarize your content (which should be obvious, but some people need to be reminded).
If you do find that your content has been plagiarized and you wish to take action, you might be wondering where to start. The following page gives you exact directions to follow:
More Posts on this Subject
If you would like to see additional posts where other bloggers have discussed the same situation and their handlings, I recommend the following:
- Really Simple (to Steal) & Syndicate, RSS (on Honest Holly)
- Learn to Love RSS Scrapers – I Do! (on Pot Pie Girl)
I hope this data is useful and I would love to hear your feedback. Have you had trouble with RSS Scrapers stealing your content in the past? How did you handle it?