I’m Going to Copy Your Entire Site Tomorrow

Copy ButtonWhat would you do if I scraped the content of your site and put it on my domain? Are you confident that your site will outrank mine?

  • If both sites are identical, why should Google rank your site above mine? Would Google lose any value in their results if I ranked and you didn’t?
  • Would customers notice a difference between your site and mine? Do you have any community, any interaction or any brand value that I can’t scrape?
  • Would you be able to recover? Are you or your customers regularly adding fresh content and generating new links?

How Can You Deal With Sites Offering Similar or Identical Content?

Here are some hints to help you protect your own unique content or add value to your products if they’re not unique:

ECommerce Sites

If you’re selling someone else’s products and using someone else’s descriptions, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself. That might be customer reviews, comparison tools, a forum or the addition of unique products, but if you’re not offering anything unique, theres no reason for search engines to list you.

Local Businesses

If you a regionally-based business you might not have much content and your products might be identical to those offered elsewhere. Differentiate yourself by tying your website in to local search. List your business on Google Local and Yellow Pages sites. Add your region to your metadata and your address to the footer of your site.

Content Sites / Bloggers

Promoting and branding your blog has been well covered elsewhere, but the issue of people producing similar or identical content is very real for bloggers. Some ideas:

  • Only use short feeds in your RSS until your site is well established. Offering full feeds on a new site is asking for people to reproduce your content and possible confuse Google as to which is the original site. Read Aaron Wall’s reasoning on this.
  • Without a community you’re vulnerable. People commenting, reacting to and benefiting from your content is 90% of your site’s value.
  • Consider a premium content business model.
  • Resist the temptation to start your site by fleshing it out with copied content and RSS feeds. Spend that copy-and-paste time creating unique content instead.

Developers and Designers

Like it or not, if you develop templates, extensions or even books, your products will be on warez sites. Even encoding won’t stop that from happening. Whats more, most of your customers know about free download sites and can find them within minutes on Google. So how do developers keep ahead of the warez sites?

  • Support
  • The community nurtured on the developer’s forum
  • Premium content such as documentation and video tutorials that can’t be easily distributed

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