Why you should think twice before sending out a cease-and-desist note.
My column last month was titled: "10 Tips for Pinterest Search Engine Optimization."
I intentionally titled it that because I had a suspicion that people were beginning to think about how Pinterest affected search results.
While I haven't seen the traffic numbers on this column that came from search, I can tell you that it possibly is my most retweeted column. Additionally, it gets retweeted consistently over time. Search traffic is great for driving long-term traffic to your site.
But interestingly, this column quickly got "republished" several places.
As I was logged in to my Google account, I saw this result:
The article from business2community.com is all 10 tips I wrote in my column. The author does link back to my column, but in a fairly inconspicuous way. He links back to two of his own services using keyword-rich anchor text. The anchor text back to my column is just the word "article."
This annoyed me for a couple reasons. Not the least of which was the fact that his article outranked my column - where he took all my tips!
However, I quickly found that when I signed out of Google, his article was much lower in the results. But when I did a search for the exact title "10 tips for Pinterest search engine optimization" I saw there was a whole bunch of people that took the column. Some of them are very kind in referencing the main source. Others are less so.
The question is: What do you do about this?
I suspect there are some organizations that would send out cease and desist letters. That is the wrong move.
If you become known as a person who freaks out every time people reuse your content, you likely will get what you ask for. People will stop referencing you. You will become an island, isolated and not linked to.
We are in an era where referencing your material, no matter how prolifically, is the path to success. It is the gateway to new exposure and new links.
The information age is all about making information free and available. That is the way the current is flowing. Trying to go against the current, swimming upstream, where you erect paywalls and run around threatening to sue people who take your content is a strategy from a bygone era.
Today we have to figure out how to make money by letting people do whatever it is they want to do with our content. This goes for movies, music, and articles.
Here are three steps for dealing with people who steal your content:
This is where content is heading. Your content is only valuable if people access it.
Additionally, this is great link building. Everyone that takes your content is yet another opportunity to get a link. So, new people are being exposed to your stuff, and you are getting new links to your content that will help your search engine optimization.
How could you not want people to steal your content?
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Sage Lewis is the president of SageRock Digital Marketing. SageRock has been a leader in Web marketing since 1999, offering search engine optimization, paid search marketing, social media marketing, and analytics.
Sage speaks nationally with SES and other prominent Web marketing organizations. He is one of the most sought after speakers and coaches in the field of Web marketing. From coast to coast, Sage has trained, coached, and consulted with some of the largest brands and conferences in the country.
Sage is also "The Web Marketing Video Guy" with nearly 500 Web marketing videos published. Sage writes as an expert for ClickZ in the "Search Engine Marketing" section. He lives in Akron, Ohio with his wife, Rocky, and son, Indiana.
His columns can be found in the Search Engine Watch archive.
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