February 2019's SEO Superstar
Google does rank stolen content higher than the original often. There is such a case from Search Engine Land that highlights how Screaming Frog did this with Google's content a few years back: https://searchengineland.com/googles-seo-guide-search-rankings-hijacked-270362.
If a website has higher authority and hijacks content, Google may rank it higher until its algorithm shakes it out, or it is reported as copyright infringement. Using tools like Google's web search or Copyscape can help you identify other websites that are using your content as their own. You can't control what other people do with the content you put out there. You can control what content you are putting out there - making it better than everyone else's. Eventually, Google will catch up. If they don't, file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) complaint against the website to get your content removed and ranking on top.
When search engines come across the same content multiple times, it becomes tough for them to pick out the one piece that works best for a particular query. In such cases, the chances are that the search engines exclude the duplicate content. Google has its way of
ranking, where it places individual words on different pages and shows results related to a query by finding the set of pages that contain the keywords, it then ranks the pages according to the relevance. When the words of a query, say "digital marketing" and they are placed together in an article you posted, the chances of ranking increases. But the scenario changes when the content is repeated, and it becomes tough for the crawlers to find it. This is when Google decides to block all the copied content. If you feel like your content has been stolen or duplicated, then you must keep an eye out by using Google Alerts. Various other tools are available on the internet that help you find out if your content has been used without permission.
Everything is possible, and, unfortunately, ranking stolen content higher than the original is not an exception. Theoretically, Google should rank the original copy, but you shouldn't be surprised if you see other websites getting top-3 spots using your content while you
are chilling on the second page. Usually, the reason is that they have better-ranking signals like backlinks and on-page optimization. That's why you should regularly check SERPs on your target keywords and check your content for plagiarism using tools like Copyscape. If you catch thieves red-handed, file a DMCA takedown notice. Keep your content unique and useful!
This is a rare scenario because websites that steal content tend to be low-authority and low-quality. If the content is used by high-quality websites, then I try to contact them for using rel=canonical and link back to my original piece of content. I don't separately check if my content is stolen. However, when checking for backlinks through a tracker, if I find new links, then I check the article linking to my site. If your content is duplicated, then you will find it out here.
Yes, it is possible for Google to rank stolen content higher than original content due to the publication date. A stolen piece of content could set their publish date to an earlier date than that of the original content, so when Google scrapers are looking through content they would rank the earlier publishing date first.
Then depending on how popular that topic/keyword is, when people are searching for the term and see the higher-ranked (but stolen) piece, they could click that first. Which would then propel that stolen content to remain in a higher-ranked position. In order to keep a regular check to ensure your content isn't stolen, you could copy some of your unique content into Copyscape. This checks the copy against other replicas that could possibly be on Google. You could also paste that content into Google Search and see if anything exactly like it shows in the results. Another tactic could be to use Google Search console: after publishing any new post, go to Search Console > Crawl > Fetch as Google, then Paste your URL > Fetch > Submit to Index. When you add your website and post to Google Search Console, it acts as an extra verification of your website for Google. If you find stolen content, take screenshots and compare it to your own site, and reach out to the webmaster. It may be a simple mistake and they might take down the post, or add canonical tags. It is best to reach out to them first if you can find their email before filing reports as it could solve the problem quickly and easily. If this does not work, report it to Google. Contacting their web host with proof that they have stolen this can also reduce the chances of them stealing from you again.
Yeah, it's possible that someone ranks with stolen or syndicated content higher than the original. Let me explain the difference, syndicated content is when you've given the permission or intentionally published the same content on other sites. It's possible
that stolen ranks higher than the original. To keep an eye if someone is stealing your content, you can set up an alert with the article title of any new post that you publish on your blog. Investigate the theft and see if it's at scale, or if the stolen content is ranking higher for an important keyword that you're after. If that's the case, you can reach out to the webmaster and ask them to add a link to the original page with a rel-canonical tag or to remove the stolen content. If they don't respond, you can reach out to their hosting provider or file a DMCA request.
Odyssey New Media
Calderon Marketing Systems