As link builders, we rack our brains trying to figure out how to get “big wins,” and I am no different. Nothing gets me more amped than earning 20 linking root domains from high domain authority sites with some great link bait. However, sometimes we can get so focused on the big wins, that we forget about the low hanging fruit.
Recently I’ve been working on a site that provides a lot of fantastic resources for its readers. These resources are so fantastic that they have been duplicated and reposted all over the web. We’re not talking about scraper sites here, this content has been reposted on various respected and authoritative sites. I was searching for one of their resource pages by its title one day and I found that there were numerous other websites hosting the exact same content.
I’m sure some of you are thinking:
“Oh no! JH!! Your client has duplicated content across multiple domains! You need to contact those sites and have them take down all of that content now!!”
I understand where you are coming from, but my client created this content to help and inform the public. Other people found this content to be so valuable that they wanted to inform their own readers about it – the content is serving it’s intended purpose and there is no way I am going to ask webmasters to take it down. Good content spreads, that’s the nature of the web.
To be an effective link builder you need to be able to put yourself in another webmaster’s shoes and break free from SEO tunnel vision. Most likely, a webmaster saw a cool or informative piece of content and wanted to share it with their readers – where’s the harm in that? If you were the original creator of that content and Google cached it, it’s not going to hurt your site if people repost it.
There is no way I am going to spend my time contacting a bunch of random site owners begging them to take this content down, instead am going to thank them for reposting the content… and then ask them for a link.
By using the premium version of CopyScape, a well known plagiarism tool, you can find all the sites on the web that have duplicated even small portions of your content.
To streamline the process, I like to throw all the Copyscape results into excel and then use Niels Bosma’s SEO Tools For Excel and grade by Page Rank of the root domain. This lets you cut out most of the low quality scraper sites that you don’t want links from anyway.
I am a big fan of using the phone when it comes to building links. Mainly because emails can be deleted, but phone calls during business hours generally get answered. If you can’t find any contact info on the site, do a WhoIs look up. Yes, it’s an aggressive manuever, but let’s not forget – these people have lifted content from your site and you have every right to contact them.
Here’s generally how the exchange goes:
JH: Hi, I’m John-Henry from SEER Interactive and I wanted to talk to you about some content on your site that was originally written by my client.”
Webmaster: Uh… Oh, jeez, Ok. What’s up?
JH: First of all, thanks for putting that on your site, my client created that content for this exact purpose. We’re really glad you could find some use for it.
Webmaster: Thanks, I really liked that post and I thought my readers would too!
JH: Awesome, glad you liked it. I was hoping you could do us a small favor. My client spent a good chunk of time researching all that inforamtion and putting together that resource. We would really appreciate it if you could put a link next to the content that says “Information provided by (client)”
Webmaster: Yeah sure, no problem!
The one caveat about this tactic: it only works if you are consulting your clients to create truly great content. Mediocre content might get scraped and spun and respun and posted all around the web, but truly great content that provides value will generally stay intact. This is an easy link win and CopyScape is dirt cheap (5 cents a scan). If your client is getting their content reposted, hopefully this tactic can work for you too.