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Monday, September 28, 2009

Can Content Scrapers Hurt Your Google Ranking?

Posted by @ 10:15 pm

Content scraping is a fairly common practice whereby other websites will copy some text, links or images from your site to use on another domain. If you’re writing content for the web, there’s a good chance this may have happened to you, but does this practice actually impact your Google ranking?

While many webmasters fear that content scraping may result in duplicate content penalties, the good news is that it’s unlikely to have any negative impact on your position in search results.

According to Google’s Matt Cutts, scraped content could actually have a positive impact, with the scraped site providing a link back to your content. Here’s a video below where Matt discusses the topic in more detail:

Matt points out that Google is usually quite good at determining the original source of the content and won’t penalize your site if it finds this content elsewhere. If you’ve had any experience on the issue, post a comment below to let us know how it impacted your site!

Matthew Elshaw Matt is a marketing professional at, an international search marketing firm. Matt's passion for online marketing began at university and has proved invaluable in steering product development and marketing initiatives at the company. Matt is a regular contributor to the ineedhits search marketing blog.

View Matthew Elshaw's profile

Discussion (10 - comments)

I had a scraper take my content from but he took my google analytics code also – so I was able to track straight away that my content had been stolen. I sent an angry email to webmaster at the domain and it turned out the scraper was only 16 and was very frightened about how I formulated my email. The content was removed in 5 hours. Perhaps you could add a transparent 1×1 gif to all your content and using your web server logs you can track if you get repeated hits from somewhere other than your website.

By Shane - September 29, 2009

Google ranking aside, it’s annoying when a competitor lifts text or photos from your website without permission, and it’s copyright infringement. This has happened to me several times. You can check your website at

By Colleen - September 29, 2009

rival business man took the name of my company, bought a domain name with the name of my company and when his website is hit it says that This is not (the name of the company) but that his company offers the same service.
All perfectly legal but without any integrity whatsoever. The shame about it is that it has been accepted by Google.

By Graham Hunt - September 29, 2009

I have had people steal my content. I have had Google penalize me by replacing my high ranking page with the duplicate. Worse, if a lot of stuff is taken, particularly in a short amount of time, I’ve had Google completely remove everything else that resides in the same folder, whether it was taken or not. Also, it doesn’t matter if there is a link back to the source on our site or not. So what Matt is saying is more wishful thinking than anything.

By Rob - October 2, 2009

[...] the recent comments by Google’s Matt Cutts says that scrapped content even has positive impact as scrapped site will normally have a link back [...]

By How to have a definite backlink to your blog post from content scraper sites « - by - October 2, 2009

my legal name is used by a competitor , I emailed Google regarding misuse the name of

Smile Angels Of Beverly Hills, and the told are you sure your name is registeres?

By Bruce vafa DDS - October 2, 2009

I agree with Matt, to a point. Scraper sites are often poor quality and are not any actual competition, the backlinks are always welcome.

What rob mentions seems more like a 302 redirect hijack by the way
( )


By juust - October 6, 2009

We had a huge issue whereby Google listed a framed version of our site which caused use a HUGE issue within the SERPs, in the end GoDaddy removed the site for us! Which makes you wonder and worry about whether Google is all that clever at crediting the correct sites.

We are/were hoping that with Caffeine (Googles new search set-up) being faster at indexing, our content would get picked up and marked as ours, then copy sites actually were given minus markers. This would deter and eradicate this problem.

Our content is lifted all the time, its annoying as hell because we spend so long ensuring that it is accurate and relevant. Then someone spends 10 seconds copying it and gets some neat content for nothing. I always wonder if it affects our position in the results pages. It seems strange that we go in high with fresh page content… then slowly get moved down the page one results. So much that we are considering setting up reminders so that we can go and alter our content, which isn’t easy if we’ve got it well written the first time round!!

Perhaps an ownership feed would be good? The first to submit a copy of the content to a Google centre gets the credit for it. This way the big (and small sites worried about this) could submit it then post it online.

By Kelvin Jones - December 1, 2009

My site is penalised by Google because I am a victim of content scraping. It is highly unlikely that a site rank spontaneously goes from the first place down to more than one hundredth in a short time.
Since Google penalises building links and content scraping, it also penalises websites which have links to them on many other websites simply because they deserve that, or because they are victims of content scraping, or because someone (for example their competition or hate groups) wants to ruin their Google rank by building links to their site or by content scraping.

By victim of content scraping - March 5, 2011

[...] Can Content Scrapers Hurt Your Google Ranking? [...]

By Google Forces Raven Tools To Kill Off Ranking Tool | SEO Crazy - December 20, 2012

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