How to Protect Your Precious Web Copy from Theft

by Kristin Morrison on November 7, 2010

in Blogging,Pet Business,Search Engine Optimization (SE0)

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It’s funny.

I wanted to write this blog post because I recently had a coaching client ask me about how to deal with her competitor that had copied her website text word for word.

I told her what to do (as I will instruct you below).

What I haven’t done in a while though was check my OWN pet sitting website against plagiarism. So just now I did what I’m going to instruct you to do and you know what?

I found 3 pet sitting websites in various parts of the country that had taken a lot of my pet sitting website home page text and used it word-for-word on their home pages.

Uggh.

It’s not a good feeling to see the words you worked hard to come up with on another pet sitter’s website.

And not only that–here’s a little-known fact: web copy that is duplicated word for word on two or more sites results in lower search engine optimization for all of the sites that have the duplicate copy. This is the search engine’s way of making sure the playing field is wide open for all of us and not just inundated with multiple, duplicate sites. (Nice of them, isn’t it?)

So when someone copies your website text not only have they stolen your words but they’ve lowered your search engine optimization ranking (and their own).

Here’s how to check your website to see if your text is being copied and what to do about it if it is:

1) Go to Copyscape and put a banner at the bottom of all the web pages that you want to protect against web copy theft. Even though I have this banner at the bottom of my site, I still get pet sitters copying my text. However, fewer pet sitters copy my text now versus when I didn’t have the banner on there so get this on your site as soon as possible.

2) Enter your website address into Copyscape’s search bar to see if anyone has copied your website text.

3) If someone copied your text, send them this email:

Dear ________
I noticed that you have copied the text from my pet sitting website on
your home page (or whatever page was copied).
Please change your text immediately. Having the same copy on your
site makes us BOTH come down lower on the search engines and it’s
stealing. Please email me to confirm that you’ve made the changes by
____________ (a week from the date of the email). Failure to do so will result in legal action.

Thank you,
Your Name
Your Business Name
Your Business Website

4) If you need to take legal action you can search for “Prepaid Legal Services” online. Prepaid legal services are available in most states and offer inexpensive legal service for $30-40/month.

Prepaid legal services will draw up a ‘cease and desist letter’ and mail it to the party that has copied your site. If that doesn’t resolve the matter you can retain legal counsel at a discounted rate for attorney fees. You can cancel the monthly membership after the issue is resolved and start it up again when/if you need additional legal services. Using a prepaid legal service is a very cost-effective solution for pet sitters needing to resolve this and other legal matters.

5) Check Copyscape every couple of months to make sure your text is not being copied. Again, this will protect your search engine optimization ranking as well as your text.

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