Protect Yourself From Duplicate Content Issues

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One of the standout sessions at SES this year involved duplicate content and the impact it has on rankings, linking and the competitive marketplace. Today’s While many experts have yet to weigh in on the matter, I will provide methods you can use to protect your content and ensure you get the credit you deserve from the search engines.

Copyright Your Content
The first step in protecting your content is having a clear copyright posted. While a simple statement on the footer of your page may be enough — be aggressive and up front. Using a disclaimer or badge, like those available at Creative Commons, is a great start. If you are not familiar with Creative Commons, consider their mission:

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

Actively Check for Duplicates
Blogs have quickly become one of the fastest vehicles for duplicate content to spread. Knowing this, you need to keep an eye on search results quite often. It can be a tedious process, but searching for unique strings of text on Google’s Blog Search, Copyscape and the Internet Archive are all great ways to find those reusing your writings.

Performing Internal Audits
Duplicate content can exist on the same site as easily as it can on different domain names. Performing internal site audits on your web sites is an excellent way to ensure that you are properly optimized.

For example, search engines have grown to familiarize themselves with blogging systems. Still, duplicate content is still something you need to understand and be proactive in policing – as category pages and full post pages feature much of the same information.

Use your robots.txt to intelligently select the best pages to be indexed. Then, make sure you use Google Webmaster Central, Yahoo! Site Explorer and Live Search Webmaster Portal to help discover any additional problems to address.

References to Get You Started
Stop reading and start doing! If you think that duplicate content is a problem that is affecting your sites, take the time to review these great resources and learn what you can do to improve things right now!

Involved in the industry since 1999, Eric currently manages organic optimization at a Fortune 500 organization. In addition to contributing here on Search Engine Journal, Eric maintains a blog and consulting business at

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  • Pozycjonowanie

    I agree Duplicate Content is serious issue!

  • David

    I was a victim of stolen content. Someone basically copied one of my sites. I sent a cease and desist letter to their web host and there account was cancelled the next day.

  • Mr. Handy

    My RSS Feeds get stolen left and right ๐Ÿ™
    I’ll try using a copyright notice in the feeds, I don’t have much hope though ๐Ÿ™

  • Wayne Smallman

    I got very deeply scraped by some Chinese dude late last year.

    This kind of thing is always going to happen, and no amount of copyright notices are going to stop it…

  • antonio, Roma

    There are a number of reasons why pages don’t show up in search engine results. One area where this is particularly true is when the duplicate content .

  • Matt Keegan

    A Creative Commons notice won’t deter all thievery, just content theft from the uninformed.

    Anything published to the internet is immediately copyrighted, no notice needs to be given.

    RSS feeds seem to be a popular way to “borrow” content and repost it. Everyone should familiarize themselves with copyright law including best practices as outlined here:

  • Halfdeck

    When it comes to duplicate content, all you really need is this link: Adam Lasnik’s “Deftly dealing with Duplicate Content.”

  • Patrick

    A great article to read and the list of resources is good too. Halfdeck’s recommendation is very helpful as well.

  • Jan from Igloo

    Avoid proxies using your site as well. Proxies are very easy way how to steal any content… I found a one last week. Just get the IP of such proxy, open your .htaccess and use this code:

    order allow,deny
    allow from all
    deny from #PROXY IP HERE

  • SEO Web Design

    I agreed with the fact that webmasters need to constantly scan the net for duplicate and violations of your copyrighted content.

  • Friseur

    Yeah, unless you keep your contents to a minimum (like we do).

  • Gino Carpio

    This very difficult issue to solve. But yes… will avoid duplication! thank you for sharing searchenginejournal

  • Nimit Kashyap

    I am very confused about submission in RSS feeds, since they pull the content of my website and then it will create a duplicate content for me.

    So should i submit my site to RSS directories? I am very confused, i hope to get the answer from you.

  • mia

    I was a victim also years ago. Someone tried to get my site knocked down in Google rankings by copying my full code and posting on a site. The site purchased a bogus domain and offered no business purposes what so ever, only my entire text and content word for word. I contacted Google personally and showed them all the inquiry searches that the site pulled for my own copied content and I also contact Godaddy for which the site was hosted on. I then submitted all the required forms (NOTICE OF COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT) and the site was shut down and kicked out of the searches. Keep yahoo and Google contact emails handy. It works!

  • mia

    Duplicate content is indeed a very serious issue if you aren’t watching. It can lower your rankings fast.