Most people go to Google when they are searching for something and most websites receive their organic traffic from Google searches. So you can imagine my frustration when I found out that for the last few weeks all my new and existing articles have been copied (scrapped) to so called content-mill websites. This means that when potential visitors search for topics covered in these original articles, they will first be shown the imposter or pirate sites because Google gives them a higher search result listing than my site. I also loose these visitors to my site because most people only click on the top search results.
What’s worse is that my site and the source of the original content sometimes do not even show up in the search results at all. In essence Google has put me on its black list (Bing and Yahoo results seem to be unaffected). But what really makes the whole thing so depressing is that my site traffic and revenue has dropped considerably (over 50%) in just a few short weeks. Years of hard work, SEO efforts and writing original content have disappeared virtually in an instant.
I know Google implemented a new algorithm aimed at improving their search results and to specifically target content-mill type sites or those that just syndicate (often without permission) other sites content feeds, but little did I realize my lil ‘ol site would be caught up in this sweep. Unfortunately after doing extensive research on this topic it looks like a number of other innocent sites, like mine, were impacted in a similar fashion.
I am no SEO or technical expert, but after hours of research I still cannot really find a definitive solution (perhaps Google has black listed the site with a solution!). I have tried various options to rectify this situation like contacting the offending sites that have stolen my content. But in a number of cases there is no contact information, their comment/contact forms are bogus and are unlikely to respond anyway. Most of these pirate or scraper sites, run via large development centers in India or China, copy content and place it on their site and use SEO to make the articles appear original and fooling Google (through extensive back linking strategies) to think they are the original source. With armies of people behind them, I cannot hope to keep up with their black-hat SEO techniques.
Other things I have tried are to do are submit tickets for site reconsideration via Google’s webmaster tools and I have also raised a DMCA ticket against the offending sites. I have also shortened my RSS feed content (not something I wanted to do) to try and prevent blatant feed copying. No luck so far though. If you are reading this and have any ideas, please leave a comment below. Any help is appreciated.
For now I am going to keep trying other channels and solutions to build back my “google-cred.” Hopefully Google is working on its search algorithm to ensure that the “good” sites are restored, but it may take a while before things return to normal. The one key lesson from all this is that I need to stop relying so much on Google (my largest supplier of visitors by far) to bring traffic to my site.