Beware The Copyright Grue and Google Deindexing!

Copyright takedown trouble: a growing problem

Copyright, Infringement, Deindexing, Indexing,You may think that the content that you use for your website is safe. “Hey, I use original content. I have great creative, we play fair and safe, we own all of our own work. No one will bother us!”

Not so fast. Over at the Google Transparency Report, the online counter reports 1.78 Billion urls have been removed due to copyright infringement requests. According to Search Engine Journal, between September 2015 and September 2016 there has been a 53% increase in takedown requests based on Copyright alone. A mere 39 million requests, according to SEJ, were rejected, with the rest granted and the sites being deindexed from Google.

Regardless whether your site deserves to be deindexed or not (and if you’re reading this article and if you’re interested in white hat practices, it doesn’t), you can take reasonable steps to make sure that no one will make such a request.  If they do make such a request against you, for whatever reason (say, an unscrupulous competitor, or an online harasser) it will be swiftly rejected.

Here are some common sense guidelines

  • Become knowledgeable about copyright.  A good place to start is at the source with the United States Copyright Office
  • Make sure that you follow full-fledged white hat SEO practices. This means making sure that all of the images and content are images that you own or have licensed. The Photoshelter Blog has a full guide on registering your original image content. Over at Didit, their blog has a great guide to several different sources of public domain content. Finally, Getty’s Istock service is a huge source of professional, reasonably priced stock images for your licensed use. Whatever you do, do not steal content…not even by accident.
  • Make sure that all of your images and pages are appropriately marked up – alt tag all of your images, make sure all of your pages receive appropriate schema markup, and so on. This will explain the context of your page and make your case to the Google copyright team if someone makes a claim against you.
  • Finally, if someone does make a claim against you, you can make a counter claim through the Google search console. Take a look at the actual tool at Google to learn more.

As the online world of content becomes more and more complicated, it behooves publishers and business owners to pay attention to issues of copyright and fair use.

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