Article Copied in Full w/ Links Back - How to Handle?

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#1
So I've ran into copying articles before, but never in a situation like this. It's easy to decide how to handle obvious content theft, but this falls into some strange grey area that I haven't touched before. I am curious what the best path forward might be base on the following:
  • The company is a retailer selling products, they have a blog.
  • Probably over half the articles in their blog are copied from other sites with attributions back - IE "Originally Posted on SITE" with a link back, of course posted at the bottom of the article. They republish from small blogs to forbes.
  • Their site ranks #4 for the target term for the article they copied from me, I rank #20+.
  • They shared the article via social, got a bunch of signals and shares. I only saw a couple visits back.
  • They kept all the internal links back to my site in the article + the "citation" link at the bottom - all dofollow.
  • I actually already had an inbound link from this site. Another article they copied had a link to my site in it.
  • The site has a decent link profile, doesn't look too spammy - though with this practice there is a chance they might be doing some other shady stuff, though they have a growing organic traffic profile for the past year+.
Just wondering what the best course of action is in handling this. Do I let it ride and enjoy all the links? Does it make sense to ask for a more prominent citation (IE at top of article) or is it good to stop this in it's tracks?
 

CCarter

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#2
From a marketing standpoint that's free exposure... I can't comprehend why you would try to stop someone from giving you free links and free traffic.

You guys are too hyper-focused into SEO to see the better opportunities in front of you. Wouldn't it make more sense to reach out to the website and offer to do multiple guest posts on their topics since they already like several of your articles? They are clearly looking for a good source of content if they are simply copying and pasting - and their domain clearly has more power than yours, so why not leverage that and build a solid positive relationship.



You literally can be getting traffic that converts that's already interested in your industry if you play your cards right - their audience is already on their website - they are already primed - just go for the kill!
 
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#3
If it's a direct copy and paste with nothing else added, the algorithm will likely sort it out and de-rank their version of the article.

If they added a paragraph or anything worth being called unique, it may stick. Think about news-jacking. Most everyone adds a quick summary or intro paragraph and then quotes huge chunks of the original article and links back. But there's no guarantee the original article ranks #1 or even on the front page, despite all of the links back. Time has a lot to do with that.

And on the article that copied yours, its freshness rank will decay too.

This is like the 3rd or 4th post/thread you've made on the topic. You're being too ancy about it. It's nothing. If the site sucks, disavow it. Yesterday I updated my disavow file for the past 15 days and had 2 instances of my content flat out copy and pasted. One was a forum, one was a blog post. I kept the forum since it had very high link metrics and had my internal links in there still and was one post in an entire thread about my content. I disavowed the blog post because it was an automated site where everything was a copy.

Just make a decision and move on. If you see a chance to weasel your way into some real marketing like CCarter mentioned, do that. You can't let this kind of stuff eat you up. The internet game is always about outpacing the competition. They will copy and steal your every move. You just have to have the next move rolling out. Eventually you become the unshakeable authority (and it gets even worse from there).
 

Ryuzaki

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#4
This came up in the Google Webmaster Central office hours hangout videos a couple weeks ago. Someone asked John Mueller about it, saying people will rewrite their stories and source them as the original and outrank them. We all see it happening. The other site is doing what they should, so Google is at fault in this case. At least we get links out of it.

But John Mueller's sentiment was "we publish original content and Barry at SERoundtable will write about it and outrank us. We don't care because we just want the information out there."

He followed up to say, and I paraphrase, "If you have examples of this happening, send them in so he can forward them to the search team."

It sounds like a mountain of a problem they've long been aware of and not been incentivized to fix. Seems like it's going to require a lot of processing power, mentally and computationally, to solve the issue fully. Especially when you consider rewrites instead of syndication. Otherwise you could just look at the index dates.

______

But check this out, I just saw this: CopyPoison. It's a javascript file you link from the header that fires upon someone copying more than 150 symbols of text that's not wrapped in <pre> or <code> (I'm guessing, they said it leaves programming code in tact).

It replaces letters with letters from the Cyrillic alphabet, which look the same for humans but totally looks like a gibberish mixture to search engines. Kind of neat.
 
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#5
I have zero experience with coding etc and am interested in using CopyPoison as mentioned above by @Ryuzaki.

Is any body using it?

Can it allow your website to be hacked or controlled?

Any feedback from somebody with experience in understanding coding etc would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.
 
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#6
This blog posted another of my articles. I ended up getting in touch with them and asked for the following with the mindset of maximizing my marketing exposure:
  • Asking that they include 'By Sitename' in the title of the article which provides brand exposure onpage and in the serps.
  • Ask that if they source any more content and circulate on social that they also tag my brand page.
I wasn't shy about this, I didn't ask - I told. I figure that they are getting free content and operating in the grey area so I have all the leverage here to maximize my own exposure.
 

Ryuzaki

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#7
Can it allow your website to be hacked or controlled?
No, it's just javascript, all user-side, that's replacing characters in your text when the browser hears the copy button combination fired.

If you want to play it safe, and I'd do this anyways, just download the script and upload it to your own site, rather than linking to theirs. This is in case their server is slow or goes down. Slap the script in the footer of your site. You can also tweak a lot of parameters in there to make it behave in certain ways, like adding a backlink back to your site (always annoying to me). I wouldn't worry about that here.

also tag my brand page.
What does this mean? Are they doing this on some social media page?
 
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#9
What does this mean? Are they doing this on some social media page?
Meaning they would publish the article to their site then post about it on Facebook without tagging my brand page in the post (using @brandname). I told them if they did this in the future they needed to tag my page to get the social flow to my page, hopefully bringing more likes.