Google explains the possible impact of content theft on a website’s rankings
Google’s John Mueller had the following answer:
“So from our point of view, other sites copying your content wouldn’t be something that would negatively affect your website. So that’s a very common situation, that sites copy content.
…if you’re not seeing those copies showing up in search for the queries that you care about then it might not be the highest priority to focus on.”
First, John Mueller has clarified that stolen content that does not have any negative impact on the original website’s search engine rankings.
Second, he makes an interesting point about copies appearing in the SERPs for queries you care about.
It is important to understand that websites with copied content do not usually rank on the top for actual search queries. So, you should be safe there.
On the other hand, when it comes to very long tail-keywords and non-competitive queries which don’t always make sense, those snippets may get ranked on top. However, that should not be a big deal in terms of traffic loss.
As this can be confusing to some, here is a brief summary:
- If a website steals your content, your website will not get penalised in the SERPs.
- Stolen content does not usually rank well for actual search queries.
- Those stolen content snippets, however, may get ranked for non-competitive keywords. This does not indicate that your website has lost its relevance because of plagiarism. It is only a reflection of how search algorithms work for non-competitive keyword phrases that don’t always make sense.