Get Free Content Marketing Advice

Sign up below and learn how to:

  • grow your online brand with content marketing
  • create valuable content that attracts customers

Sign up

Content Thieves and Google’s New Gatekeeper

Last week the head of Google’s Webspam team, Matt Cutts explained the algorithm changes they made to prevent content scrapping.

It was long overdue. Google has been under a lot of pressure to penalize content thieves who benefit from higher search rankings at the expense of content creators.

But there are two things that worry me.

Firstly, exactly how does Google determine the original source of content? Matt Cutts explained on his blog that Google will be:

“evaluating multiple changes that should help drive spam levels even lower, including one change that primarily affects sites that copy others’ content and sites with low levels of original content.”

That’s great! But I want to be certain that the system is fool-proof. That it does not inadvertently penalize the wrong website. I would imagine that the originator would need to authenticate his content using some kind of validation mechanism.

I’m also worried about the impact this will have on content curators, permission-based syndication sites and guest-bloggers who re-publish their own content on third-party sites. Will they be lumped together with scrappers and thieves or will they be recognized as a different category of content producers?

The immediate result of this change is that a lot of brands will need to re-evaluate their content strategy. I think the message that Google is sending is that pure content creation is the way to go.

It will be interesting to see how quickly brands adapt to the new ‘gatekeeper’.

Do you have any concerns about Google’s new algorithm?


  1. Patricia – Overall, I like this update. Any change like this is going to have a possible downside for a handful of folks, but I love the central premise that Google is trying to kill spam even more and further credit the original content creators. This is good news for us who create the goods.

    As for curators, I guess I don’t see their main value coming in SEO. In other words, the mash-up should be a service, a convenience, to already subscribed readers. So the search implications shouldn’t be as big a deal. And for those curators who are targeting search as your primary motivation for collecting all that content, I think you’re the very people that probably needs to get a Google slap.


    • Thanks Brett. I think you’re right about curators & SEO – perhaps my worries are misplaced. I tried to do a search for (the best known content curator I can think of) by using most likely key words such as ‘magazine’, ‘stories’, ‘story’, ‘communication’. None of them produced a result for Altop. And yet, Altop has an unparalleled reputation of providing valuable information in an organized and presentable format. The scheming curators on the other hand certainly deserve the penalty!

Speak Your Mind