Most people go to Google when they are searching for something and most websites receive their organic traffic from Google searches. So you can imagine my frustration when I found out that for the last few weeks all my new and existing articles have been copied (scrapped) to so called content-mill websites. This means that when potential visitors search for topics covered in these original articles, they will first be shown the imposter or pirate sites because Google gives them a higher search result listing than my site. I also loose these visitors to my site because most people only click on the top search results.
What’s worse is that my site and the source of the original content sometimes do not even show up in the search results at all. In essence Google has put me on its black list (Bing and Yahoo results seem to be unaffected). But what really makes the whole thing so depressing is that my site traffic and revenue has dropped considerably (over 50%) in just a few short weeks. Years of hard work, SEO efforts and writing original content have disappeared virtually in an instant.
I know Google implemented a new algorithm aimed at improving their search results and to specifically target content-mill type sites or those that just syndicate (often without permission) other sites content feeds, but little did I realize my lil ‘ol site would be caught up in this sweep. Unfortunately after doing extensive research on this topic it looks like a number of other innocent sites, like mine, were impacted in a similar fashion.
I am no SEO or technical expert, but after hours of research I still cannot really find a definitive solution (perhaps Google has black listed the site with a solution!). I have tried various options to rectify this situation like contacting the offending sites that have stolen my content. But in a number of cases there is no contact information, their comment/contact forms are bogus and are unlikely to respond anyway. Most of these pirate or scraper sites, run via large development centers in India or China, copy content and place it on their site and use SEO to make the articles appear original and fooling Google (through extensive back linking strategies) to think they are the original source. With armies of people behind them, I cannot hope to keep up with their black-hat SEO techniques.
Other things I have tried are to do are submit tickets for site reconsideration via Google’s webmaster tools and I have also raised a DMCA ticket against the offending sites. I have also shortened my RSS feed content (not something I wanted to do) to try and prevent blatant feed copying. No luck so far though. If you are reading this and have any ideas, please leave a comment below. Any help is appreciated.
For now I am going to keep trying other channels and solutions to build back my “google-cred.” Hopefully Google is working on its search algorithm to ensure that the “good” sites are restored, but it may take a while before things return to normal. The one key lesson from all this is that I need to stop relying so much on Google (my largest supplier of visitors by far) to bring traffic to my site.
I’ll keep updating this post with any new information and if you are interested in following my journey to resolve this issue at www.savingtoinvest.com, please subscribe via Email or RSS, since it is likely that this article will be stolen, copied of scrapped shortly after it is published and won’t come up in search results!
In the meantime, have a look at some of these high quality and original personal finance articles I came across this week:
- Pay off the Mortgage or Invest@ Monevator. While it is a great feeling to pay off your mortgage, I think you need to look at it like an investment. Is it more effective to pay your loan or invest for a higher return elsewhere? The answer will vary depending on where you live and how you invest.
- If you have the time and are interested in at least some good money tips, see CNN Money’s 100 best money moves
- Un-Automating Stuff Can Help Too from Budgets are Sexy. On the flip-side, for more automation see Jeff’s post on 7 Reasons to Manage Your Finances Online
- PT Money present a timely post-tax season topic on the best ways to save for retirement after maxing out your Roth IRA
- With college fees going up in most places, this article from Cash Money Life is helpful – Best Financial Tips for New Graduates
- With social security a hot topic of late in the deficit reduction debate, check out Oblivious Investor’s nice summary on How Social Security Benefits Are Calculated
- How not to panic if you miss the tax deadline and what happens if you don’t file a tax return? @ Bible Money Matters
- The Cost of Raising a Child in U.S – Ouch. With the recent arrival of my second child, clearly I need to start saving more.
- With inflation rearing its ugly head again; here are some tips from Kyle at AAA to beat inflation.
- The Thrift Store Junkie Strikes Again @ Gen X Finance
- With high gas prices, this is useful – 6 Best iPhone Apps to Save Money with Cheap Local Gas Prices. If only we could use these apps to price match at our local gas station!
- And last but not the least, from my partner site – 5 green banking tips to save the planet and 7 secrets retailers don’t want you to know
I would also like to draw your attention to the first ever personal finance blogger conference being organized by PT Money in October. It is in Chicago and if you write about or are just interested in money related topics then this is an event you must attend. You can find out more details here. I’ve got my ticket and hope to see and many other money bloggers out there.