Removing Duplicate Content Case Study

removing duplicate contentI did this recently for one of my clients and discovered that another organisation based in Singapore had not only copied 5 pages of content, they had also copied 7 datasheets and white papers, simply changing the layout to match their own needs. Here is how I resolved this specific issue, and succeeded in removing duplicate content from that website.

Thankfully, the Internet is here to help you. There are 3 key steps that you need to take.

  1. Contact the offending company and ask them to remove the content immediately. The website should have a contact form at the very least. Use that to submit your request for them to cease and desist.
  2. Contact the website hosting provider inform them that one of their sites has breached copyright laws. The contact details for the hosting company can be found by using a Who Is lookup tool such as http://whois.domaintools.com The hosting provider details are usually located at the bottom of the results page and will include an administration email address.
  3. Report the website to the search engines. File a notice of Digital Millenium Copyright Act (this is a US Act) infringement with search engines to have the offending site removed from their search results.

You can submit a claim to Google here: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/dmca-notice

How to prove that your content has been copied

You might need to be able to prove that the content has been copied. You will know this to be the case, but the hosting provider might ask for some evidence.

Again the internet is there to help you.

There is a service called the Web Archive which you can find at Web.archive.org. This service, also known as “The Wayback Machine” continually takes ‘snapshots’ of websites to store their online archive. Simply look up your page and the offending page and then go back in time to a point where you can prove that your content was posted first.

In the episode that my customer experienced, we were able to prove that their content was created and posted to their website before the offending website had even been registered.

The result of this digital detective work was that Google delisted the offending site url from search results and the hosting provider deleted the site from their servers. Strangely enough, the copycat company tried it again on a different hosting server, as soon as I spotted it a quick email to the hosting company had the website shut down again.

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