It is not uncommon for people to borrow website content from someone else without first asking, and that is often the mildest way of putting what they do. You may have worked hard to whip up a quality article and published it to best effect, when one day you find it put up on some random website. This would be frustrating to say the least, mainly because it tells you someone is trying to cash in on the exposure you have garnered among visitors.
For example, many posts appear in their respective websites’ RSS feeds after being published. There are those that even have automated processes set up just to steal and re-publish these articles on their own sites, without linking back. The original publisher usually remains none the wiser.
RSS is a common feature included in many of the SEO packages India has to offer. Content management systems use RSS to take in news published on other sites, and then publish the content on their own. A lot of these include links back to the original publisher, which most would agree is right and proper. Others either forget or ignore that step, depriving the original publisher of credit for what is actually theirs.
There is a way to avoid finding yourself as the latter in such a scenario. Insert an extra line in the feed item, which distinctly announces the name of your website. If someone copies content from you through the RSS feed, it would always link back to you. Google finds this link as well, which means you do not have to share the ranking rewards.
The above method does not work if someone manually copies one or more of your posts, removes the redirect line, and then publishes the content under their own name. Chances are you would not even know if this happened, but if something tips you off, the first thing to do is get in touch, and ask them to add a link back to your site.
Send a polite email and see how they take it. You would be surprised how commonly these people are willing to add a link. Often, the “misunderstanding” arises from them borrowing attractive content, which is relevant to their readers.
It is obviously important that search engines like Google understand your website is the original source of content you created and published. Adding a canonical link does the trick. A common Search Engine Optimization tool used to prevent issues with duplicate content, it always points back to a single authorized page – one of yours. Get the other site to do the same with your URL; if they say yes, then you know they are harboring no bad intentions.
Some people would much rather simply steal from you and others, and not take down the content when asked to, or even link it the original website. In many such cases, original publishers get the silent treatment to any emails they send in. If you face this problem, the best way forward is asserting your copyright, and having the copied content taken down. Google recommends calling the website’s host, and filing a request with Google. Non-responsive thieves are best dealt with in this manner.
Your article in English could get translated into, say, Italian, making any duplication hard to spot using conventional methods. However, there are ways to do this. Sometimes, there are internal links that the content thieves forgot to remove from the new article, which could flag it in Google Analytics. You could even get a Google Alert about it.
If your content is being duplicated across domains, using the hreflang tag makes sense, right? Not necessarily, because it would not work unless the other site links to you in the same way. Translation is out of your control as well, which means it is best to make sure you are not tied to their domain any longer than you need to be.
If translation is something you can use, email that publisher and ask them to link to you. Ask them to mention that the original article was written by you, in English or whatever other language you wrote it in. Basically, this effort only makes sense if the translated article is garnering an audience which you are targeting.
Whether it is text content or artwork that you have up, as long as it is originally yours, there is the option of using the copyright angle in case some random website tries using your publication without giving you credit. Make sure to send them an email first, and confirm whether they are deliberately stealing from you. If they are, give a fair warning, and then get in touch with the host company and have the problematic content taken down.