We were asked the other day about how to monitor for people copying content from your website and publishing it on their own, apparently an accountant had had large sections of their website copied and re-published on another accountant’s website but it was months before they realised this had happened and even then it was only because some kind soul tipped them off about it.
So what we thought we would do is give you a couple of very quick and easy ways that you can monitor your web content so that you are made aware if someone is copying it.
Using Google Alerts To Track Your Web Content
The first way, and probably most passive way, of keeping track of your content is to set up a Google Alert. If another web page enters Google’s index with the content you put into the alert you will get an email with a link to the offending website. This means that once the alert is up you don’t have to do anything but sit back and hope you never receive an email!
Head over to www.google.com/alerts to start.
In the search query field you want to paste in a sentence from your content (paste it inside quotation marks), it doesn’t matter which sentence but I usually take one from the first paragraph and not one that mentions your company name or web address (as these will likely be stripped out or changed). In the Result Type you want “Everything”, in the how often field you want “As-it-happens”, in how many I choose “All results” and then set it to send to your email address. Once this is set up if Google detects the same sentence on another website you will get an email to let you know.
Now obviously this is not a deterrent, there are some people who will copy content regardless of what you put in place, but it will allow you to take action to get the copied content removed.
Using Copyscape to Detect Copied Content
Your other option is to use the Copyscape plagiarism checker. Simply head over to www.copyscape.com and input the URL of your webpage and Copyscape will scan the internet looking for duplicates. I believe they have a paid upgrade called Copysentry that monitors the web for copies of your content but I have not used it so cannot comment on it’s effectiveness or how different it is to the Google Alerts technique above.
What Can I Do About It
The purpose of this brief post was to show you how to detect copied content, most of the time an email to the offending party asking them to remove the content will suffice but if you want a detailed look at the steps you can and should take then I recommend reading What Do You Do When Someone Steals Your Content, written in 2006 but still very relevant and well worth a read if this is something that is bothering you.