When Others Use Your Website Content: The Pros and Cons of Content Scraping

For all the time and/or money business owners and webmasters may invest in putting content on a website, content scraping can be a major frustration,. Other people are using the material from your website or blog and publishing it. What may surprise you is that, along with this major negative is that there are some pros to other people scraping your Web content.

A Teachable Moment:  Attribution Policy or Just Forget About It

The Pros

1. Greater Reach for You and Your Message

While not all content scrapers give credit where it’s due, some do include bylines and referral links back to the original website. This may not give you the hits you want, but it can cumulatively add up to more exposure and help drive more website traffic and awareness.

2. Can Help Boost Search Engine Ranking.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is important in getting a website or blog noticed, and a key factor in moving up the search listings is for other websites to link to yours. So when a website that scrapes content and uses your material, he or she should link back to your website and the original content, theoretically. That link back provides attribution to your website and can help boost your website’s rankings when people search for information on that particular subject.

The Cons

1. Greater Reach for Competitors

The same aspect is a major con for most content scraping “victims,” as they may find that a competitor or alternative website is getting a higher listing on a web search and better SEO with the “victim’s” own content. It is not only irritating, but harmful to the content producer and publisher’s success.

2. No Attribution for the Author/Website

For some writers, the pay may be low or the hours long, but what pays off in the end is that byline, that little message to the world that “see, I wrote that.” A majority of content scrapers will not only steal the meat and bones of an article, they may copy it word-for-word, but without an ounce of attribution back to the original writer.

How Content Scraping is Changing

There are pros and cons to having your Web content on multiple places on the Web. Google is getting smarter at being able to interpret the original content, which helps limit scrapers from achieving as much search ranking success and duplicate content penalties. Google is taking steps forward in combating the pesky problem of filtering the quality and original source of Web content and rendering the best search results.

With the introduction of Google Authorship, Google is giving websites and authors that are known and trusted an advantage in standing out as a reputable source of news, information, and opinion among the masses. These types of new search initiatives may go a long way to help reduce content scraping as the Web evolves.

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