Recently, another website copied one of my blog posts. They copied it word for word, including the images, with a few exceptions. They removed all of my links and said that they had authored the piece. The other strange thing was that there was no way to reach anyone in charge of their site. There was no contact page or any links leading to anyone with whom I could communicate. This is called webspam. It’s different than linking to a post or even reposting. Webspam is stealing.
It’s a real problem and needs to be dealt with. Or does it? At first, I wondered if it was even a big deal. Disturbing, yes, but isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery? Not when it comes to webspam. Sites use webspam in an attempt to trick Google and other search engines into ranking one of their pages higher than the page which originally produced and published the content.
Credit where Credit is Due
You might think, “But I was the original author. I published that post 2 months ago. Surely Google will know that I should be ranking higher for this content.” Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Google’s bots are smart, but this kind of issue still eludes them. All they know is that there are 2 sites with the same content out there. They basically give credit for the content to whichever site already ranks higher. It doesn’t matter who the original author is and which site is creating webspam.
To make matters worse, in an effort to crack down on duplicate content on the web, the “other site” gets hit with a penalty in their SEO score. SEO is used to determine where your page ranks for certain keywords people enter in their Google search. The higher your SEO, the closer you are to the top of Google’s search results.
It doesn’t seem fair
But, it is actually a decent system that sorts out the best information for consumers who are searching for it. It’s a combination of how well your article is written, the use (but not overuse) of keywords, what people are looking for, what content is out there (aka the competition), etc. The article that the other site copied ranked decently for a small site like mine. It was in the middle of the 2nd page of Google’s search results. Not great, but not bad either. That’s exactly what webspam creators want. They look for smaller sites that they can outrank just because they are bigger. Then, they take your content and claim it as their own.
What I didn’t know was how to deal with the problem.
Thankfully, Google has a great system in place to deal with webspam. They have tools for webmasters to report pages which are disseminating webspam as well as buying and selling links, objectionable content, malware, copyright infringement, disclosing private information, phishing for sensitive information, and other abuses of Google’s products.
They have also made reporting Webspam easy
All I had to do was go to the reporting page and fill out the site address of the webspam and tell them in my own words what the issue was. I did this in only 2 minutes. Google immediately sent me a confirmation email. That was 3 days ago. Today, just to see what was happening, I went to the site that had copied my post. It was gone! Not the site, but the copied post. Google had quickly fixed the issue. I was impressed.
What are YOUR thoughts?
Has your site ever fallen prey to webspam or copyright infringment? How did you handle it? I’d love to hear in the comment section, below. I appreciate my readers as well as the writing community. To show that appreciation, I use Comment Luv. Just leave a comment below and your latest post will get a link next to it. Thank you!
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I am an author, writer, and speaker and homeschooling mom of 3. Since doctors diagnosed my husband, Dan with stage IV lung cancer in 2012, I’ve focused my writing and speaking on helping cancer patients and their families advocate for themselves and live life to the fullest, in spite of their illness. My goal is to help people face cancer with grace.
My books The Memory Maker’s Journal and Facing Cancer as a Friend: How to Support Someone Who Has Cancer, are available at Amazon.com.
I also blog about living with cancer at, Facing Cancer with Grace.