Content is king on the web. A site without content is doomed to lousy search engine rankings. Search engine spammers can’t be bothered writing good content. Especially when they can easily steal it from other web sites. How do they do it? They use “scrapers” — spiders that trawl web pages and/or RSS feeds and siphon off the content. They then stick your content on their own site and slap their own ads and affiliate links onto it. The spammers especially want you to use relative links across your web site. That way they can lift your entire website and they don’t even have to go to the trouble of rejigging your internal links to make them point back to the scraped site. Granted, as far as bandwidth conservation, relative links are better than absolute links (also known as “hard links”). But let’s not make the spammer’s job any easier. So use absolute links throughout your site. As a side benefit, if your site responds to multiple domains and you use absolute links, you’ll also be helping the search engines reduce the potential for duplicate content by definitively identifying the full, canonical URL. Also, to check if your site has been scraped, use Copyscape.
Jean Moniatte says
It makes sense. I was trying to think if there are negative effects of having links from a scraped website to the original. Could you be penalized from the bad reputation of the website scraping your content linking back to you? Or would it make it easier for Google to decide that it is content duplication?
I’ve just discovered that my own uniquely written content for a whole travel website has been completely copied or scraped by a couple of competing travel sites (they copied the whole site – I used copyscape)! Recently this site experienced a big drop out of google rankings and having made no changes ourselves in this time, I am wondering the effects of this duplicate content from the copiers (our site is only 1 year old). Could this be why? Any advice appreciated…
Spammers are everywhere, you don’t know when they will attack you, so we all need to be ready and take precautionary measures even before they catch us.