When you research a topic and then write original content in your own words it belongs to you — no ifs, ands or buts about it. After all that hard work and time spent writing, the last thing you want to see is someone copying and pasting your work elsewhere on the Web without your permission, and then claiming it as their own.
While you can always Google particular quotes from your text (with quotation marks around it) to see if someone else is using your words, this can take a lot of time, time that could be used writing. Rather than spend your time Googling, try these other methods to monitor who is stealing your work, and where your work is being used when it’s not supposed to be.
Check Via Your URLs
You can check to see if your articles are being plagiarized through websites such as Copyscape. Simply copy and paste your website’s URL into Copyscape’s search engine. The site will then show you where your content is appearing, or at least the top 10 sites. For a full list of where your words are appearing, you will need to upgrade for a fee.
In a similar vein, you can see if your website’s images are being used elsewhere as well through sites such as TinEye. Like Copyscape, simply provide the image’s URL or even upload the original image. The smart site will then scan the Web and show you where your images are appearing, both on your website and perhaps elsewhere as well.
Use Analytic Tools
Another way to monitor where your words are appearing is through analytic tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster. Using these tools, you can see which websites are linking back to you.
Chances are, if you notice a large uptick in traffic referrals from a particular site to one of your specific articles, they have somehow linked to you, which can be a good thing. However, you will want to know if you are being plagiarized. Check these website links to see if they have just quoted your article, or copy and pasted directly from your site. You can also monitor pingbacks to your site, as they function the same way by alerting you to links back to your site.
Search Through Keywords
Using unique keywords can also be key to discovering if someone else is using your own words. This trick is particularly useful if you are writing about a very specific subject that not many other people write about, such as multilayer actuators, which are materials that generate an electric charge and not a heavily covered topic.
To monitor use of unique keywords, set up Google Alerts, or Topsy, which can scan the Web for uses of your topic or keyword. This way, you’ll receive email alerts whenever someone uses your particular keyword, and then you can check their site. This might be a passive way to see if someone is copying you, but it is an effective one, as it hardly takes any time at all.
Additionally, you can set up Google Alerts for the headlines of your most popular articles, as these tend to be the most likely to be copied word for word. When someone copies your articles, they tend to be lazy and copy your headlines, too.
While finding out that your content has been plagiarized isn’t an easy pill to swallow, it is not always a bad thing. If the content is published on a well-known or highly traffic site, and it links back to you, you might even see an uptick in your page views. Then again, if it’s a lowly site that is just stealing your content, then chances are it’s time to contact them and ask them to take your post down so the site doesn’t negatively affect your search engine optimization.
How would you go about finding out if your content has been stolen? Tell us in the comments section below!