Plagiarism represents without a doubt one of the most worrisome matters for site and blog owners. The online environment is a harsh place and you would think that the daily struggle to keep your business afloat is challenging enough. But no, in addition to producing quality written and visual content, you also have to play a sentinel role and keep an eye out for thieves.
Some do it unwittingly by using a photo they found on Google without providing proper credit to the photographer. Others are downright shameless and take important ideas or paragraphs out of your blog post and make it their own. Regardless of the method that’s being employed, content theft can seriously affect the stability of our business and that’s why it needs to be eradicated. So what can we do? Well, we can’t actually wait for thieves to feel remorse and come clean, so we have to take suitable measures.
Here’s a list of tips you can follow in order to strengthen your defense against copy cats:
1. Set up Google Alerts
If you feel like you have an article or a piece of content that was well received by your audience and enjoyed lots of shares, it’s best to be able to run a check up on a constant basis and see if it appears on other websites. In order to detect if your material has been stolen you can resort to a service like Google Alerts.
Using this option is free and quite simple. All you have to do is go to Google Alerts, type in the part of the text you want to monitor and then just create the alert. From the Options menu, you can choose how often you want to receive notifications, the source type (blogs, websites, forums and so on), the language and region and the relevancy of the results.
2. Search for copies with Copyscape
Another alternative to monitor your articles is to use a duplicate content checker like Copyscape. All you have to do is insert the URL of the page you wish to check, click Go and then just analyze the results shown. If you’re looking for a more in-depth analysis you can sign up for a premium account. This will allow you to see more results for each search (only 10 available with the free service) and check offline content by filling in the search box with the text you want to examine.
3. Watermark images with a specialized software
A truly important step is to secure your visual content. Whether it’s about shots you took in the park as an amateur photographer or professional product images, it’s of the essence to protect them. They are yours and nobody should use them without your authorization.
The best way to safeguard against this kind of theft is to apply a watermark to all the photos you intend to use online. You don’t have to worry that this will make your image less appealing, because today’s tools provide you with freedom to create a watermark as discreet as you wish.
Here you have two possibilities at your disposal. The first would be to use an all-round software like Adobe’s Photoshop. In order to watermark multiple pictures at once you have to record this custom action and then apply it to the batch of images you’ve selected. The two stages involve a certain amount of steps and it’s recommended to have a basic understanding of the program in order to performs the tasks.
At the same time you can try a software particularly designed for this kind of operations like PhotoMarks. This app simplifies the entire process and makes it easy for any user, tech savvy or not, to accomplish the tasks. All you have to do is add your photos, apply the text or logo watermark, select the output folder and process. Both the text and logo watermarks are fully customizable, so you can adjust things like font, size, color, transparency, placement, stroke or shadow.
4. Install WP Content Copy Protection
Is you have a WordPress blog, an efficient strategy to protect content from easily being stolen is to install the Content Copy Protection plugin. However, this will not completely prevent someone from stealing your content or images but it will make it harder.
Among others things the plugin will disable:
- Right click context menu
- Text selection on both computers and mobile devices
- Keyboard copy controls (this goes for Windows users)
- Right click and save option on video and audio elements
Another thing to note is that the plugin will not harm your SEO, as Google and other search engines will still be able to read your content.
5. Be ready to take action
Although the content protection techniques have improved over the years, it’s not likely that copy cats will entirely disappear. So if you ever discover a copyright infringement, take immediate action. Gather all the proof you can get (texts, files, screenshots) and get in touch with those involved. If they refuse to remove the stolen piece, the best thing to do is to file a DMCA complaint with Google. Google doesn’t waste time when it comes to these matters and will surely remove the offender from the SERP’s.