After Google Penalizes Your Site, Those Who Stole Your Content Will Rank Above You

Jul 30, 2013 • 8:56 am | comments (30) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization

Google ScraperOne complaint I see a lot from webmasters and publishers is that someone stole their content and is outranking them for their own content. The Scraper and Panda algorithms don't help.

I cannot tell you how many times I hear this complaint and it saddens me to hear it.

Most of the time, not all of the time, but most of the time, the issue is that Google has penalized the site that is complaining about stolen content. Since that site is penalized, Google will rank other sites above it. Now often, those other sites have your content and are targeting your same keyword phrases and thus are ranking for the content they stole from you.

It stinks, it really does. You spend all this time and effort writing great content for your web site. It ranks well for years and makes you nice money. You participate in some link building and Google releases a Penguin update and you no longer rank well.

You then check who is ranking above you and it is your competitors, but not just any competitor, the ones that have literally ripped off your content word for word (even sometimes link by link).

They over take your rankings because Google knocked you down.

Of course, you can issue DMCA takedown requests but then the next scraper will pop up. The only solution, in many cases, is to reverse your penalty or heck, scrape your own site and start new.

Forum discussion at WebmasterWorld.

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Kamaldeep Singh SEO

07/30/2013 01:04 pm

Well written Sir :)


07/30/2013 01:17 pm

True Barry, I read this over and over again in Google Webmaster Central... I guess, looking forward, authorship markup might help preventing this issue...or at least it sends an additional signal to Google who created the content originally.

Agência MACAN

07/30/2013 01:28 pm

What has given much certain is the attribution of authors and implementation of schema. The implementation in many sites can be simple and verified in If your content is unique, and has been traced first microdata correct, it is very difficult to be harmed.


07/30/2013 01:44 pm

Google authorship, or authorship verified through a bio page on your site, or another site besides Google helps tremendously, but if your site practices some strange SEO tactic or any common black hat trick, do not be surprised when other sites out rank your site. SEO is a very tricky business that encompasses many different disciplines, and you do need to do your marketing from a #FUFISM perspective to have any true hold on your position near the top in SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages) If you do not keep up with your social media marketing and the occasional post from G+, and other platforms, referencing your work, it will slowly drop out as the age factor (freshness) becomes an issue. If you have done the G+ authorship thing then this has a bigger impact. Unique content is also a big issue, and how you keep your authorship tags hidden in your links is also important....


07/30/2013 01:45 pm

Yes I have to love when I have links all over content ranking above my own same content (so obviously mine) but they don't even seem to want to rank those links...

josh bachynski (SEO)

07/30/2013 04:24 pm

If one site is a liability, then run 10.

Christopher Meinck

07/30/2013 04:27 pm

Not sure if it's a new phenomenon, but there is a site in my niche that is creating groups of scraped content from leading websites. While I believe I'm experiencing Panda/Penguin issues, it's also outranking a major site in my industry. It has all the appearances of "more content" because they steal from a variety of sites. I sent a DMCA request, which was honored. Scraper kept pages up (same page titles), but removed my content. Since April they've got 1.7 million pages indexed. They outrank me for a discussion: "{mywebsite name} mobile template beta discussion" and still do even though it's been filled with unrelated content to that topic.


07/30/2013 05:24 pm

I think DMCA if have power must knock google for it. Every day news from google become more like from some government. They enjoy their power and enslave internet! FREEDOM FROM GOOGLE!

Ecig smoker

07/30/2013 05:58 pm

All you have to do is just take people's content and improve on it at bit. When they see their original site webstats dropping, then all you do is wait for them to add more content and links and try to improve their site. This is when google demotes their site even more and finally your site (with their content) will rank above them.Muhahaha!

Ecig smoker

07/30/2013 06:00 pm

In addition to what I just said you can rub salt in the wounds of the websites you copied/modified by starting a serious adwords campaign which the adwords team will give you free advice on.


07/30/2013 08:18 pm

the real question is how site that steal content ranks at all, but that's too complicated I guess...


07/31/2013 05:24 am

This is the suckiest thing about Google. They really don't care about originators of content even though profess that they do. you do not have to be penalized for this phenomenon to work.

Sourabh Rana

07/31/2013 11:06 am

YES, this is truth that stolen content websites are ranking high. there is no doubt in this.


07/31/2013 11:37 am

Its amazing that Panda is not helping to the right people.. Every time Google play the noise that they will penalize the copied content site and what is this?


07/31/2013 11:41 am

Google DMCA is a joke. has couple of million Google DMCA reuqests against itself and still it ranks no.1 for 99% of all searches related to mp3.


07/31/2013 12:12 pm

yes, it is fact that stolen content website is ranking high. How to stop them or any idea

Ecig Smoker

07/31/2013 12:27 pm

I have known people who had their technology stolen as well as their client list, not just their website content. The thieves simply copied much of the content of their victim's website and ranked higher than the victim and sold the products cheaper since they did not have to pay for several years development costs. Its unfortunate that this is the way of the world and google can't stop anyone doing this no matter what they say. The google talk is a bunch of bull! This is a dog eat dog internet filled with immorality. Welcome to the jungle.. it gets worse here every day!!!

David Eaves

07/31/2013 04:08 pm

That's nothing, I am currently getting outranked by a directory listing for my own company name


07/31/2013 05:51 pm

LIVESTRONG and other sites are continually scooping content and creating articles, ranking higher than the sites they scooped it from. They will cite where they scooped [thieved] the content within their article, yet it will be a NO FOLLOW link. I wish Google would do something about this. First, they start posting calories and nutritional values of foods - which basically killed a lot of good websites - so they have turned from a search engine to a health-base. Now they allow big brand sites to basically cherry pick from other websites to create articles which rank much higher than where the content originated. Sick of this....

Durant Imboden

08/01/2013 12:47 am

Sure, it's annoying to be outranked by sites that have stolen content from you, but let's be practical: If you get caught selling links (to name just one sin that might trigger a penalty), is it realistic to expect Google to guarantee that all the sites which now outrank you are free from other (and altogether different) sins?


08/01/2013 12:11 pm

Not even from penalized site but I have seen a site ranking in top 1 after scrapping content from Bruceclay and Forbes websites and the copied world count is 4000 words combining the two. Still Google Panda Algorithm is unable to figure out this and is placing this junk WordPress blog cum website for for many many money keywords in top 3. Even this site was removed form Google Search few weeks ago through DMCA request but it jump back in top 3. What is the motive of Google Doing This? Giving low quality sites in search and forcing users to click on ADS. What is Google Doing? Killing businesses in the Name of GOOGLE PANDA AND PENGUIN and promoting SCRAPPERS SPAMMERS who will rob your money if you are going to do business with them.


08/02/2013 04:33 am

The reason Google does this is because they don't really care about ownership of content. If they did youtube and google image search would not exist. What they care about is getting as much fresh content to their users in anyway possible. Happy users means more revenue. Happy webmasters means nothing to them.


08/02/2013 05:50 am

Fresh Content??? A site scrapping content from big brands that were already in Google's index for nearly 4 months to 1 year, does this means a fresh content to Google? If this is true then all the big Algorithm Updates that Google has launched in the last 2 years are full of bugs and they need to be tested before making them live and should not be tested on real business's websites.


08/02/2013 05:52 am

I even have seen sites that are not only scrapping whole content but also title and meta with the company name in it and still ranking above the original ones


08/02/2013 06:11 am

Unfortunately yes that is what Google thinks is fresh content. As is evidenced by the news jacking that is being perpertrated by some big news sites at the moment.


08/02/2013 07:26 am

That is a bug for News Search Results not Web Search Results. And as all know the Google updates Panda and Penguin are for Web Search Results not for News.


08/05/2013 12:56 pm

Google needs to reevaluate their logic behind Penguin. At face value it seemed to make sense, but in practice it appears far more destructive to the link graph and to the web as a whole than it is positive. Instead they should just continue to work on classifiers to root out the most egregious link spam such as link networks, link selling, etc.. and not 'over optimization'. That or perhaps a second algo should run after Penguin that checks to domains of Penguinized sites for content and then scans for duplicates of their content to ensure that they are not rewarding scrapers. Personally as a netizen I would appreciate the first, the later would make me think Google is scared to admit failure.

Nikhil Chandra

09/25/2013 01:07 pm

This is flabbergasting indeed!

Dustin McCluskey

11/02/2013 07:12 pm

I see a few comments about authorship toward the bottom, have any of you had luck with using a G+ account and establishing authorship or publishership for your content? Seems like this is the vehicle google is providing people for protecting their content, doesn't take much to get it done, and now google has a distinct link between you and your content, the minute you publish.


06/27/2014 02:33 pm

Can starting over with a new domain help with this? i get scraped a lot and they all outrank me WTH!

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