Beginner’s Guide to Preventing Blog Content Scraping in WordPress

Are you seeking a strategy to prevent spammers and scammers from employing content scrapers to steal your WordPress blog content?

As a website owner, seeing someone copy your content without permission, monetize it, outrank you in Google, and steal your audience is extremely aggravating.

In this article, we’ll discuss what blog content scraping is, how to decrease and prevent content scraping, and even how to use content scraping to your advantage.

How to Prevent WordPress Content Scraping

What Is Scraping Blog Content?

Scraping content from multiple sources and republishing it on another site is known as blog content scraping. This is usually done automatically using your blog’s RSS feed.

Scraping content from selected blogs is now so simple that anyone can set up a WordPress site, install a free or commercial theme, and install a few plugins.

What is the purpose of content scrapers stealing my content?

Why are they taking my content, some of our users have asked? The short answer is that you are AMAZING. The truth is that content scrapers have a hidden agenda. Here are a few examples of why someone might scrape your content:

  • Affiliate commission – There are some unscrupulous affiliate marketers out there that are only looking to profit from the system. They’ll exploit your content, as well as that of others, to drive visitors to their site via search engines. These sites are usually oriented towards a specific niche, thus they have related products that they are pushing.
  • Lead Generation – Often we see lawyers and realtors doing this. They want to seem like industry leaders in their little areas. They do not have the bandwidth to develop excellent content, so they go out and scrape stuff from other sites. Sometimes, they are not even aware of this because they are paying some scumbag $30/month to update material and assist them get better SEO. We have experienced quite a few of these in the past.
  • Advertising Revenue – Some persons only want to develop a “hub” of knowledge. A one-stop-shop for users in a specific specialization. Often we find that our site material is being scraped. The scraper always answers, I was doing this for the welfare of the community. Except the site is filled with advertising.

These are just a few reasons why someone would steal your work.

How to Catch Content Scrapers?

Catching content scrapers is a laborious operation and can take up a lot of time. The are few ways that you can capture content scrapers.

Search Google with Your Post Titles

Yup that is as horrible as it sounds. This strategy is probably not worth it especially if you are writing about an extremely popular topic.

Trackbacks

If you include internal links in your postings, you will receive a trackback if your content is stolen. This is the scraper’s way of informing you that they are scraping your stuff.

Many of these trackbacks will end up in your SPAM folder if you use Akismet. Again, this will only function if your posts have internal links.

Ahrefs

You can monitor your backlinks and keep an eye out for stolen content if you have access to an SEO tool like Ahrefs.

How to Deal with Scrapers of Content

When it comes to dealing with content scrapers, there are three options: do nothing, take them down, or take advantage of them.

Let’s take a look at each one individually.

The Approach of Doing Nothing

This is by far the most straightforward method. The most popular bloggers usually propose this because combating scrapers take a lot of work.

Obviously, if the blog is well-known, such as Smashing Magazine, CSS-Tricks, Problogger, or others, they do not have to be concerned. Google considers them authority sites.

However, we are aware of numerous excellent websites that have been tagged as scrapers by Google, believing their scrapers to be the original content. As a result, we believe that this strategy is not always the best.

Takedown Strategy

The “Do Nothing Approach” is the polar opposite of this. In this case, you just contact the scraper and request that the content is removed.

If they deny or do not respond to your requests, you can file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint with their hosting company.

The majority of scraper websites, in our experience, do not offer a contact form. If they do, take advantage of it. You’ll need to execute a Whois Lookup if they don’t have a contact form.

Lookup by Name

The administrative contact has contact information. The administrative and technical contacts are usually the same.

The domain registrar will also be displayed. DMCA forms or emails are available from most well-known web hosting firms and domain registrars. Because of their nameservers, you can tell that this user is with HostGator. A DMCA complaint form is available on HostGator.

If the nameserver is ns1.theirdomain.com, you’ll need to investigate deeper by using reverse IP lookups and searching for IP addresses.

For DMCA.com takedowns, you can alternatively use a third-party service.

According to Jeff Starr’s article, you should block the bad guy’s IP addresses. Check your logs for their IP address, and then block it in your root.htaccess file with something like this:

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Deny from 123.456.789

You can also send them to a dummy feed by following these steps:

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RewriteCond %{REMOTE_ADDR} 123\.456\.789\.
RewriteRule .* http://dummyfeed.com/feed [R,L]

As Jeff advises, you can be extremely creative here. Send them to massive text streams brimming with Lorem Ipsum. You can email them some gruesome photographs of horrible things. You can even send them back to their own server, which will cause an unending loop and kill their website.

The final strategy we employ is to take advantage of them.

How to Make Content Scrapers Work for You

This is how we deal with content scrapers, and it works fairly well for us. It benefits both our SEO and our financial situations

Scrapers mostly exploit your RSS feed to grab your content. So, here are a few ideas:

  • Internal linking – Your blog posts must be heavily interlinked. Internal links in your content aid in increasing pageviews and lowering bounce rates on your own site. Second, it generates backlinks from those who are plagiarizing your material. Finally, you can use it to steal their audience. If you’re a skilled blogger, you’re familiar with the concept of internal linking. You must focus your links on relevant keywords. Make it appealing to the user to click. If you do so, the scraper’s audience will click on it as well. You plucked a visitor from their site and returned them to where they should have been in the first place in an instant.
  • Auto Link Keywords with Affiliate Links – ThirstyAffiliates is one of the few plugins that will automatically replace supplied keywords with affiliate links.
  • Get Creative with RSS Footer – You may customize your RSS Footer with the All in One SEO Plugin. You can put almost anything in this box. Some folks we know enjoy promoting their own products to their RSS subscribers. As a result, banners will be added. What’s more, those banners will now appear on the scraper’s website. We always provide a disclaimer at the bottom of our RSS feed posts in our situation. We gain a backlink to the original article from the scraper’s site, indicating to Google and other search engines that we are an authority. It also informs their users that our stuff is being stolen.

How to Stop and Reduce WordPress Blog Scraping

If you use our strategy of lots of internal linking, affiliate links, RSS banners, and other similar tactics, you should be able to significantly limit content scraping. If you follow Jeff Starr’s advice and reroute content scrapers, it will also block them. Aside from what we’ve just discussed, there are a couple more tactics you can employ.

RSS Feeds: Full vs. Summary

The blogging community has been debating whether to have a full RSS feed or a summary RSS feed. We won’t go into great depth regarding that topic, but having a Summary Only RSS feed has the advantage of preventing content scraping.

You may modify the settings by going to Settings » Reading in your WordPress admin panel. Then adjust the settings. Show: Summary for each article in a feed.

SPAM Trackback

Trackbacks and pingbacks had their time and place, but they are now routinely abused.

Frequently, trackbacks and pingbacks are shown beneath or among the comments in themes. This encourages the spammer to scrape your website and send trackbacks. If you approve it by accident, they will receive a backlink and a mention on your site.

Is Scraping Content Ever Beneficial?

It can be. Sure, if you can see that you’re making money from the scraper’s site. It could be if you notice a lot of traffic coming from a scraper’s site.

However, this is not always the case. Always make an effort to have your content removed. However, when your site grows in size, it will become nearly hard to maintain track of all content scrapers. We continue to file DMCA complaints, but we are aware that there is a slew of other sites taking our stuff that we simply cannot keep up with.

We hope you found this post useful in preventing WordPress site content scraping.