Maybe you’ve experienced this.
You are exploring local pet business websites to see what your competitors are up to when you see the identical words you worked hard to come up with on another pet sitter’s website.
I’ve been there.
A few years ago I noticed a local pet sitter had copied my website content word for word.
I took a deep breath and called her up. We had a chat about this and she was quite embarrassed. She apologized and quickly rewrote and posted her new website copy.
It’s not only annoying to have your words on the web stolen but guess what? It can affect whether clients can find your website online.
Here’s why: web copy that is duplicated word for word on two or more sites results in lower search engine optimization for all of the sites that have the duplicate copy. This is the search engine’s way of making sure the playing field is wide open for all of us and not just inundated with multiple, duplicate sites. (Nice of the Internet, isn’t it?)
So when someone copies your website text not only have they stolen your words but they’ve lowered your search engine optimization ranking (and their own).
Here’s how to quickly check your website to see if your text is being copied and what to do about your content if it is being copied:
1) Go to Copyscape and put a banner at the bottom of all the web pages that you want to protect against web copy theft. Even though I have this banner at the bottom of my website, I still occasionally experience pet sitters copying my text. However, fewer pet sitters copy my text now versus when I didn’t have the banner on there so having the banner does help. I encourage you to get the Copyscape banner on the bottom of all your website pages as soon as possible.
2) Enter your website address into Copyscape’s search bar to see if anyone has copied your website text.
3) If someone copied your text, send them this email:
I noticed that you have copied the text from my website onto
your home page (or whatever page was copied).
Please change your text immediately. If you have the same copy on your site as I have on mine it makes us BOTH go down lower on the search engines and it’s also illegal to
steal website copy. Please email me to confirm that you’ve made the changes by ____________ (a week from the date of the email). Failure to do so will result in legal action.
Your Business Name
Your Business Website
4) If you need to take legal action: Do an Internet search by entering your state and the term “Prepaid Legal Services” online. Prepaid legal services are available in most states and offer inexpensive legal service for $30-40/month.
Included in the price of the low-cost monthly membership, is the option to have Prepaid legal services draw ‘cease and desist letter’ and mail it to the party that has copied your site. If that doesn’t resolve the matter you can retain legal counsel through a lawyer that will be referred by your prepaid legal service at a discounted attorney fee rate. You can cancel the monthly membership after the issue is resolved and start it up again when/if you need additional legal services. Using a prepaid legal service is a very cost-effective solution for pet sitters and other business owners needing to resolve this and other legal matters.
5) Check Copyscape every couple of months to make sure your text is not being copied. Again, this will protect your search engine optimization ranking as well as your text.
Kristin Morrison is the owner of a pet sitting business that she started in 1995 and that has now grown to be one of the largest pet sitting businesses in California. She’s also a business coach for pet business owners and the founder of Six-Figure Pet Sitting Academy. Kristin is the author of Six-Figure Pet Sitting: Catapult Your Pet Sitting Business to Unlimited Success and Six-Figure Pet Business: Unleash the Potential in Your Dog Training, Pet Grooming, Dog Day Care and Any Pet Business She enjoys helping pet business owners from around the country to work smarter instead of harder.