Pages of any site can be removed from the search results if they contain at least partially copied content. How can I do this? There is an effective legal way to do it.
How to protect your site from a competitor attack, which is aimed at removing pages of your site from the search engine?
Site content is a ranking factor in the organic search engine output.
If funds and efforts have been invested in content creation, such investments should be protected from competitors, dorways and content robbers.
One of the most effective ways to protect content is DMCA.
We will deal with the questions below:
- What content makes sense to protect against competitors?
- What should be done to protect the content?
- How to remove pages of any site from the search engine if the pages contain at least partially copied content?
- What is DMCA?
- Which content should be protected
- Why should content be protected
- Why the duplicate can be ranked higher
- What does DMCA mean?
- DMCA claim. How to send a DMCA claim?
- Where to send claims
- DMCA protected – what is it and how to install
- EUCD – DMCA analog in Europe
- How do I know if a claim has arisen?
- How to rebut DMCA claim
- What is the legal liability for violating the DMCA law?
- How to circumvent DMCA sanctions
- Examples of Claims
- Free tracking
Which content should be protected
There are different types of pages that require protection. It is worth protecting:
- Landing pages with effective, from a marketing point of view, description. As an example, you can give a page on the Apple-related website containing a marketing description of the new iPhone. Similar short and valuable content can be created for different products. For example, such a description can be created to describe real estate, room equipment services for listening to music on hi-end equipment or cargo cab services;
- Pages with valuable unique text content. As an example, such pages may include device reviews, market analysis or any valuable article;
- Pages with interactive elements. For example, pages with special calculators or designs. Such content can include pages with interactive elements to select real estate, designs for the layout of cars that are used before forming an order;
- Pages with worked-out Intent. Valuable pages also include pages with content, competently created in terms of search engine optimization. For example, the article may not be effective from the point of view of perception and be badly compiled, but contain all the phrases from the latent semantic index.
It is worth protecting any pages or elements of pages with valuable content from competitors, regardless of the volume of content.
It is not worth protecting from copying the page with the characteristics of products and any similar pages. Unique content for these types of pages is not required. The algorithms of page evaluation used by search engines determine the type of page and it makes no sense to conduct work on the protection of content, even if such pages are fully copied by competitors because such content is not valuable in terms of promotion in search engines.
Why should content be protected
Why protect content? There are various reasons why content should be protected. The main reasons:
- Search optimization. If the content is copied to a more authority site, the less authoritative site (the site from which the valuable content was copied) may yield to competitors in search engine optimization (sites where the copied content was placed);
- Protection of investment in marketing. With the protection of investment in marketing everything is clear, because it is clear that individual elements of the site can increase the conversion rate, and search engine optimizers and marketers are looking for similar elements to copy to the promoted site.
The copied content can influence the position of the site in the search output. Even if the search engine determines with high accuracy the original source of content and duplicates containing partially copied content, no sanctions will automatically follow. Let’s look at the reasons.
Why the duplicate can be ranked higher
Google distinguishes between duplicate and copy content.
Sites with copies of content are subject to sanctions from the search engine.
The copied content includes all types of content with uniqueness. Examples of copied content are given below:
- Spinning content;
- Content with a change of words. If you replace the word “find” with “search” in the text, the content will remain a copy;
- Content containing a set of copies from different sources;
- Sites that copy content from dynamic pages.
Google recommends not to use any boilerplate content.
Boilerplate content is any text that can be reused in new contexts without significant changes (without significant differences from the original).
For example, if the site sells iPhones in different colors, you should not create a page with iPhone for each color. It is worth creating one page with the option to select the color without changing the URL. If the content was removed from the site, then after the canonical page is recommended to configure the 301 redirects from a subset of the previous ones.
If creating one document is a difficult task due to peculiarities of the content management system, for example, if it is not possible to add color filtering for iPhone without changing the page address, it is recommended to use a rel=canonical tag for search engine optimization of the site. It is not necessary to close such content using the robots directive.
A duplicate is considered to be copied content, but with added value.
Duplicates are not subject to sanctions and may even be ranked higher than the original.
Without content protection, competitors or any other users, rather than the creator of the original content, may benefit from investing in content. Content copy protection is a way to protect a website’s competitive advantage.
Content can be protected using DMCA.
What does DMCA mean?
DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The contents of the Act are briefly available on the state website under the link THE DIGITAL MILLENNIUM COPYRIGHT ACT Summary.
DMCA is a law supplementing the copyright laws of the United States of America with directives that take into account current technical developments in the field of copying and distribution.
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a set of laws designed to protect content on all digital media, including Internet sites.
The law affects many areas, but the search engine optimizer and marketer are interested in the law in terms of content protection on the Internet.
The law is passed and signed in the United States. Accordingly, referring to the law in theory and practice, it is possible to exclude from the search output of the most popular search engines, such as Google and Bing pages on which the copied content is placed.
Every company in the states is obliged to comply with the law. Any user, even non-resident users, may apply in writing to the U.S. company for deletion by submitting the required documents.
So, since Google is a U.S. company, the search engine is subject to this law.
For the convenience of users, such services as Google, Twitter, YouTube and others have created special forms on sites that can be used to make a request via the Internet. Such requests have legal force and are executed.
DMCA claim. How to send a DMCA claim?
A DMCA claim, often also called a DMCA Takedown Notice, is a claim filed by a claimant for suspected copyright infringement.
Violating the DMCA will result in content being removed.
The complaint should include some information. Consider an example from Google. When filling out the complaint, you should specify the following fields:
- Content of the site, which violates copyrights;
- Search queries to which Google refers to pages that infringe copyrights, as well as the URLs of such pages in the search engine;
- Name and contact details of the applicant;
- Information about communication with the site owner, whose materials violate copyrights;
- Confirmation of the integrity of the statement;
- It is obligatory to have a signature under the application.
It should be noted that the law does not specify the exact time frame for removing the content.
The terms of the procedure are not specified on the Google website. Content is deleted as claims are received and considered. Usually, the claim is considered within a week.
Description of the DMCA on the Google site – the Law “On Copyright in the Digital Age”.
What happens if the complaint is confirmed? After satisfaction of the claim, Google is obliged to promptly remove the material or access to it. Since the content is not on Google servers, the search engine does not delete, but blocks access to documents from the search engine and immediately notifies the person to whose materials access was restricted.
After confirming the claim, the applicant receives the message. Example of a message:
Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), we have reviewed your notice of copyright infringement. We are already working to disable access to these materials, which are available at the following addresses:
[URL of pages where moderators have found your material].
The content will be removed in the near future.
During the recent inspection of the page, no infringing materials have been found.
[URL of pages on which moderators have not found your materials].
If you are still concerned about this issue, please provide us with further information in your reply and we will continue to consider your complaint.
Let us know if you need our help. If you would like to send further requests, please do so via the forms at support.google.com/legal.
After removing access to the page from the search engine, the Google website displays a notice that access to the page was removed due to copyright infringement. It will not be possible to go to this page.
Link to the page is removed from all language versions of the search engine.
Example in the English language version of Google search engine:
Do not make false claims to Google. Filing a false claim may lead to the blocking of the applicant’s account or other legal consequences.
Where to send claims
The list of pages for filing complaints about copied content is given below:
- Submit DMCA request to Google – Send DMCA complaint to Google;
- Submit DMCA complaint to YouTube – Submit DMCA complaint to YouTube;
- Submit a DMCA complaint to Vimeo – Submit a DMCA complaint to Vimeo;
- Filing a DMCA complaint on Twitter – Send DMCA complaint on Twitter;
- Submit DMCA complaint to Facebook – Submit DMCA complaint to Facebook.
If the claim is sent to Google, then after the examination of the application by experts, the page with the violation should be removed from the search engine. The list of appeals for tracking the monitoring of applications is available at the following link – Google DMCA Dashboard. By the way, there is a special e-mail address of the claims processing department, which in fact few people know about. The address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
A complete list of state organizations that support the reception of DMCA claims, with contacts and links to filing applications collected on a special website. The list is open and available to all visitors.
The link to the list is the Copyright Office.
DMCA protected – what is it and how to install
The DMCA law has no official website, no government-authorized organizations with a similar name, and no special government agencies.
The Internet often provides a link to the DMCA website, dmca.com. This site is not an official site and there is no form for applications to companies accepting claims to remove content. At this address is placed the provider of copyright protection, ie service. The DMCA.com site uses only English. This service offers paid services for content monitoring and sending complaints in the case of copies. There is not much point in using such a service in practice.
This service offers a certificate and DMCA protected icon. To put DMCA protected you need to buy a subscription to the service.
Example of certificate:
EUCD – DMCA analog in Europe
By the way, few people know, but the European Union has in many ways a similar law.
In the European Union, there is in many ways a similar DMCA law called the European Union Copyright Directive.
In what cases can this law be useful?
For example, the EUCD can be used if you want to remove a page from a search engine, but also if you want to remove a page from the Internet. You can apply this law to sites located on servers in the European zone. Typically, this law is used to remove the content as part of online reputation management campaigns on the Internet. Based on the law it is possible to remove copied content or unwanted content, such as compromising information.
How do I know if a claim has arisen?
If a set of measures to promote the site in the organic search engine is successfully implemented, there is a risk of facing a SEO attack using DMCA.
When performing a SEO attack on the site:
- The fraudster will first learn about the appearance of new materials on the site by analyzing the site map sitemap.xml;
- Then he copies the new original material to another site;
- Then a claim is sent to Google to the original site;
- As a result, the real original document may be excluded from the search issue.
How do I know if I have a DMCA complaint? It is enough to use the Google Search Console service.
If you add a site in the Google Search Console, then when you receive a complaint in the console panel will be notified.
The following information is specified in the notification:
- Reference to the text of the complaint;
- List of references to documents that violate the DMCA law;
- Reference to the form of a refutation of the complaint.
How to rebut DMCA claim
If the site is added to the Google Search Console, the notice of receipt of a complaint indicates a link to the form to refute the claim. Such a rejection is the official way to refute the claim.
If the claim is unfounded, the request can be easily rejected, and the site will be returned to the results of the Google search engine.
After sending the form should wait for the answer. The answer comes from the e-mail address email@example.com. Example of a response:
If the claim is justified, what should I write in the answer form to get the sanctions lifted? In the content of the counter letter, we inform that the copying of content was not intended to cause damage to the copyright holder and the content was removed.
If the claim is unfounded, what should I write in the form of an answer to get the sanctions removed? If the complaint is unjustified, we inform about the assumption that the claim was made by competitors, which indicates that the third parties concerned created the claim.
If the complaint is partially justified, what should be written in the form of a response to remove the sanctions? A competitor may file a claim from a third party. For example, such a claim may be filed due to the use of the world-famous brand logo on the website. If the complaint is partially valid, we report the assumption that the complaint was made by competitors, indicating that the third party concerned created the complaint. Also in the justification should indicate that the content in question is used on many other sites and add that no sanctions were applied to other sites.
The claimant has the right to counter the response. If within 10 days the applicant does not respond in any way, the page address will be restored in the Google search engine.
The period of restoring the page takes 15-20 days.
What is the legal liability for violating the DMCA law?
Legal liability for violation of the DMCA law applies only to residents of the United States of America.
How to circumvent DMCA sanctions
Sanctions can be bypassed. Everything is extremely simple and easy. DMCA restrictions are imposed on a specific website document address, not on a document.
The document is not hashed and further work to support the lock is not carried out.
Accordingly, it is enough to create a similar document at a new page address to bypass the sanctions. To change the page address it is not enough to change the letter case in the page address. It is really necessary to change the address.
There is another interesting nuance. It is possible to transfer data on pages, which are accumulated by the search engine, to a new document without passing the sanctions.
In the .htaccess file, you should prescribe a directive to create 301 redirect, thereby informing the search engine that the page has moved to the new address. The penalty will not be passed through the 301 redirect.
The 301 redirect will ensure the transfer of accumulated data and traffic from bookmarks and social networks.
Examples of Claims
For your interest, there is a DMCA claims database with a search option.
The completeness of the claim database leaves much to be desired, but such a database is suitable for market analysis and searches for sample claims.
The reference to the service is Lumen. The service is free.
To detect copies of pages, you can use the tracking of references on the Internet. After detecting the copies, you can create claims, the purpose of which would be to remove pages from the search output.
For example, the search engine optimizer promotes the company’s website. If each article mentions the name of the company, then using the system for tracking reputation on the Internet you can track references to the company and the appearance of copies of content made from the company site.
You can monitor mentions using MegaIndex. The service is called MegaIndex Search Engine Reputation Management.
The link to the service is MegaIndex SERM. The service is free.
The system provides all users not only the ability to monitor mentions of any brand, but also allows you to inventory the found notifications by folder. For example, you can create a folder for copies.
If you do not deal with your reputation, your competitors will deal with it.