It's unfortunate, but thanks to the accessibility of the Internet, plagiarism has never been easier. In order to combat this trend and protect your intellectual property from being stolen, Google has come up with an algorithm commonly referred to as Panda. Google's Panda (as opposed to Google's PageRank) is the algorithm responsible for making the creation of unique and quality content a bigger determining factor for improving a given website's search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine results page (SERP) rankings. This development happened mostly because stealing content has become a rampant issue due to the high demand for it.
Scammer Techniques in Stealing Content and How to Combat Them
Even if you do come up with original content, there are scammers and spammers out there who may copy your content and change the time stamp on their webpage in order to trick Google into believing that you stole your own content from them instead of the other way around. It's an extremely frustrating dilemma for sure. Nevertheless, there are ways around this plagiaristic problem before or after your content has already been stolen by these opportunistic cyber criminals that want to make a quick buck at your own expense. If you want Google to make sure that you're the one who wrote your content, then you should notify the website that you have a new article or page as you publish it.
You can do this by creating links to your new article via tweeting about it, putting it on Facebook, or having your friends and loved ones link it around for you, which will help Google immediately identify your new content as originating from you even before those deceitful plagiarizers can pilfer your content from right under your nose. Google has a tendency to crawl those popular pages before going through your website. Once the search engine sees those links to your new article, then that's the time it's notified of the need to crawl your own site. If your article has already been stolen, you should send a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice on the perpetrator who has filched your intellectual property from you.
Google Actually Punishes Excessive Use of Duplicate Content
The DMCA was specifically developed in order to protect your copyrighted digital content or products from being stolen by others, so you might as well make good use of this copyright protection for the sake of your website's SEO wellbeing. At any rate, rest assured that duplicate content is something Google, Bing, and Yahoo frowns upon, because even though people can get away with a limited amount of duplicate content, too much of it will cause their page to not rank well on the SERP. Duplicate content can only get a trickle of traffic in comparison to original content, even if it's popular or trending content that people are looking for.
On that note, all webmasters... and not just the ones who regularly get content stolen from them... should always come up with original content on every page in order to get the full support of search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo. More to the point, any page on your website that you consider crucial (like the front page, main page, or landing page of the product you're selling) should contain original content every time. You should altogether avoid putting in a significant amount of duplicate content on pages that count if you want to gain as much search engine traffic on them as possible.
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