Pick Your Poison: The Pros and Cons of Content Protection
TAMPA, FLORIDA– A follower of our Sinai Marketing blog recently asked a great question that deserved a post to fully explain the answer.
The question: “My website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced. But it seems a lot of it is popping up all over the Internet without my agreement. Do you know any solutions to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate it.”
You must do your part to safeguard your content while keeping the legitimate reader in mind, because as unjust as it seems, thieves will always find a way to steal content. However, be aware that there are pros and cons to safeguarding your content so, pick your poison wisely.
Here are a few Sinai Marketing approved ways you can protect your original content and best SEO strategies from being stolen:
- Disable right click functions
- Use a Tynt plugin
- Switch to partial RSS feeds
- Add a footer to your RSS feed
- Watermark your images
One way sploggers- those who create spam blogs- steal your content is by copying and pasting it onto their site or into a splog. The following two practices may help deter them by making it difficult and less beneficial to steal your content.
Disable right click/text selection
Pros- Although a savvy copycat is capable of bypassing this inconvenience, it may slow them down or discourage them altogether. Most users won’t be able to simply copy and paste.
Cons- Neither will the good guys. The inability to copy and paste can also frustrate and inconvenience those who would typically share your content properly, and provide you with recognition and quality backlinks. Techy bloggers who often provide snippets such as codes or other information designed to be borrowed make it difficult for readers to use that helpful information when right click is disabled. Another problem is that Tynt plugins or programs can’t be used when right click features are disabled.
Use a Tynt plugin
Tynt is a tool that automatically creates a link back to your content whenever it’s copied and pasted. Tynt monitors backlinks created, page views, images copied, words copied, how many times content left your site and more.
Pros- You increase the traffic to your site by providing readers of your copied- legitimately or not- content with a link back your original post or site. Whenever readers use that link, voila- a new backlink. Plus, it’s free.
Cons- You have to enable right click/text selection for this technology to work.
One of the most common ways content gets stolen is by thieves who use scraping software, which targets and steals the content you provide on your RSS feed. The following two methods deter RSS feed scraping.
Switch from full to partial RSS feeds
You can do this in WordPress by switching your feed from “Full text” to “Summary” under the reading section of your settings, which is found on the dashboard.
Pros- You prevent scraping software from stealing your content or article in its entirety. Also, your “human” readers will have to visit your site and its blog to read the entire article, which means you’ll benefit from the time they spend on your site and hopefully, their participation in discussions.
Cons- Many active blog readers use RSS readers to avoid the inconvenience of having to read a summary, decide if it’s something interesting and then click through to read the full article. By requiring them to click through, you may lose them as a subscriber or participating reader because they aren’t interested in the hassle.
“Those who are interested in your content on their RSS feed will share or click through to comment if your content is compelling,” says Sinai CEO Ali Husayni, a Google search optimization expert who offers SEO consulting. “If they unsubscribe to your feed because it’s a hassle, there is no chance they will read, participate or share your content at all.”
Add a footer to your RSS feed
Here’s a yoast plugin for WordPress that will allow you to add a footer to your RSS feed, which will prove your authorship.
Pros- People reading your stolen content will know that it is being used without your permission.
Cons- It doesn’t prevent thieves or scrapers from stealing your content.
Text isn’t the only type of content that gets stolen; images can be just as vulnerable if you aren’t using the following tool.
Watermark your images
A watermark is a faint image that helps to identify the file’s authorship by containing copyright information.
Pros- If your image is illegally shared, it’s obvious to viewers who will either discredit the thief or report the stolen image to you, the owner/copyrighter.
Cons- Watermarks aren’t always impossible to remove and may cheapen your style by making you appear paranoid, especially if it’s an image that others will have no value in sharing. And since a good watermark needs to be in a visible area so it can’t easily be cropped out, the image may be useless as a visual aid because the watermark is too distracting and becomes the focal point.
While these tools may help deter copycats and their technology, you have to accept the fact that your content likely will get used without your permission at some point if it’s placed on the Internet.
Stick around because in the near future we will address some tools and procedures you can use to locate content that has been stolen, and retrieve it or receive proper recognition. If you can’t wait until then, you might consider taking advantage of our SEO consulting services.