One SEO professional was concerned about stolen content.
They found that when they searched their target keyword phrase on Google, they were able to see 3,000 doorway sites that stole their content.
Within six months, they had them all removed from Google’s index via DMCA requests.
They believed they did a great job with removing these requests. However, this did not have any impact on their ranking positions.
So their main question is: does a significant increase in the overall uniqueness of a site’s content have any impact on the site’s ranking and visibility in the search results?
Is it even worth it to fight content theft?
John explained that as far as he knows, there isn’t any aspect of their algorithms that says “Oh, this is something that’s extremely unique on one site, so we’re gonna rank this higher for all the other queries.”
He also provided an example: If there’s a unique type of shoes, and somebody is looking for shoes on Google, it’s not that they would rank your site because it’s a unique type of shoes.
But, rather, it’s more like “you have shoes, then this person is looking for shoes, and perhaps other sites also have shoes, then we rank them based on that shoe content that they find there.”
It’s not a matter of Google going through and saying “Well, there’s only something very unique here. Therefore, we should rank it higher for this more generic term because of that uniqueness alone.”
But, if someone is actually searching for that unique thing, then they will try and show your site there.
This is also the reason for the DMCA complaint process, where somebody else is ranking with your unique content, and you don’t want them to show up because that’s your content.
Or, you have a copyright on it at least. For this process that makes sense.
However, if there is a generic case of somebody searching for a generic product or service, and you have unique things that also map into that generic category, they don’t believe they would rank pages higher just because they’re unique.
The key takeaway from John’s information is that there are other factors, rather than just blatant uniqueness, that contribute to rankings.
This happens at approximately the 43:14 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
John (Submitted Question) 43:14
Every article on my site has a specific phrase in the beginning. Through a Google search for this exact phrase, I found 3,000 doorway sites that stole my content. And within six months, I had them all removed from Google’s index through the DMCA.
I did a great job, but it had no effect on my positions. So the question—does a significant increase in the overall uniqueness of a site’s content have no effect on the site’s ranking and visibility in the search results?
Then is it not worth the effort to fight against content theft?
John (Answer) 43:48
So as far as I know, there is no aspect in our algorithms that says, Oh, this is something that is very unique to this one website. And we will, because there’s something very unique here, we’ll rank it higher for all kinds of other queries.
So if you’re selling, I don’t know, a unique type of shoes and someone is searching for shoes, then it’s not that we will rank your site, because it’s a unique type of shoes. But rather, you have shoes, this person is looking for shoes.
And maybe other sites also have shoes, and we’ll rank them based on the kind of shoe content that we find there. So it’s not not a matter of us kind of going through and saying well, there’s only something very unique here. Therefore, we should rank it higher for this more generic term. Obviously, if you have something unique and someone is searching for that unique thing, then like we will try to show your site there.
And that’s kind of the reason also for things like the DMCA complaint process, where you can say, Well, someone else is ranking with my unique things and I don’t want them to show up because that’s my content. Or I have a copyright on it, at least. And for that, the process makes sense.
But for the generic case, where someone is searching for something generic, and you have unique things that also map into that generic category, I don’t think we would rank your pages higher just because they’re unique things.
And kind of like from that point of view. So I think if you’re seeing that other sites are ranking for your specific thing for that unique thing that you have on your website, and you have a copyright on your content, and whatever else aligns, that you can use a DMCA process for that.
That’s a perfectly fine tool to try to help clean that up. But it’s not the case that we will rank your website higher just because we’ve seen some unique things on your website.