It seems that SaaS blogs have a serious problem with their stolen and reposted content.
In fact, 60% of blog posts from the top 50 SaaS companies are no longer site-specific. That’s according to a new study of over 52,000 blog pages from these brands.
In its study, PlagiaShield also uncovered some interesting insights into the types of content these top SaaS blogs publish:
- The average blog post length was 2,200 words.
- The median word count was 1,050 words.
- For these non-unique pages, 54% of the text could be found elsewhere on the web.
- The typical SaaS blog post had 1,600 potential thieves.
It should be noted that the study refers to these reposted/duplicate messages as being taken by “potential” thieves.
Indeed, the reprints included articles that had been entirely plagiarized but also those where a few sentences had been copied, or the blog post had been distributed by authorized partners.
What is the risk of having the content of your blog plagiarized?
While Google’s Gary Illyess has previously clarified that duplicate content on websites is not a problem as long as the correct canonicals are set up, content thieves are highly unlikely to follow this rule.
Additionally, thieves take the costs associated with creating your content (time, research, quality writers, etc.) and use it to:
- Increase the visibility of their brand.
- Develop their authority.
- Potentially scamming other people.
- Potentially duplicate your site to spread viruses.
Stolen content can be a significant problem for SaaS companies
Paid advertising requires a considerable budget if companies want to target relevant SaaS search terms.
Therefore, SEO is often used to fill gaps where the costs paid are too high.
Additionally, blog content is a huge part of traffic generation for leading SaaS companies:
It could be higher if thieves weren’t stealing your content and, by extension, your audience.
As the study noted, there are many legitimate reasons why your content might appear elsewhere online, including:
- Public relations distribution sites.
- Podcast directories using your episode descriptions.
- Medium, LinkedIn, or other employee articles you’ve reposted.
- Guest posts you’ve written using large portions of existing blog posts.
When content theft is killing your business
Many view content theft as just an inconvenience or something that cannot be avoided. However, it can cause real damage.
Jérémy Mauboussin, founder of PlagiaShield, explained that it was actually a friend who inspired him to look into the issue of brand content plagiarism. Jeremy was working in agricultural engineering at the time.
His friend had spent years cultivating a website with 2 million monthly site users. He had put a lot of time and effort into creating long, high-quality content.
In 2019, within a day, it lost 70% of its traffic along with rankings and revenue.
Mauboussin built PlagiaShield to see if the sudden slowdown was due to content theft. And after using the tool to determine what content was stolen and by whom, his friend was able to work to have the stolen copy taken down.
How to turn content theft into an SEO advantage
There are three popular opinions when it comes to managing stolen content:
- Ignore it.
- Ask them to remove it.
- Contact the server hosting the domain.
Automating the process of finding plagiarized content on the web and identifying who reprinted it gives you three additional options:
- Ask for compensation.
- Require a backlink.
- Submit a DCMA to Google.
It also lets you see which reprints are legit. This ability to filter out syndicated plays, licensed reprints, correctly cited passages of text, etc. lets you focus on cases where your content is being used without permission. Then you can…
Ask for compensation
When PlagiaShield searches for a stolen copy, it extracts the contact information of the webmaster/owner, their server provider, etc.
The tool also stores email templates so compensation requests can be sent out in minutes.
If you ask for the content to be removed and compensation paid, but the thief responds by only removing the content, you have not lost anything. But you have the potential to earn a lot more.
Require a backlink
An alternative option is to specify that they are allowed to keep the content they stole, but only if they cite your brand as author and provide a backlink to your site.
However, this option should be taken with caution. You don’t want hundreds of low-quality websites linking to your brand.
Analyze the quality of the website to determine if this is a path you want to take.
Take advantage of the information extracted by the tool to reduce the time spent on this task.
It’s also a great way for agencies to build quality backlinks to their clients’ websites without having to spend a lot of time researching potential websites, contacting them, and then creating unique content.
Submit a DCMA takedown request to Google
An option in Google Search Console allows you to submit a request to Google to remove the URL hosting your stolen content from search results.
The problem is that these can be frustrating and time-consuming. For each, you must include:
- The URL of the infringing content.
- Describe how you know the content was stolen.
- Exact citations of stolen content.
That’s a lot of time spent digging around and gathering evidence.
Automating the collection of this information on your behalf and the filling out of the form reduces the time spent creating and submitting this request to minutes.
It allows you to step up your efforts to protect your branded content.
There’s tremendous value in high-quality content, and sadly, I can’t imagine a day when writers and brands will be safe from thieves.
But you may be able to reap compensation in the form of compensation or backlinks.