One of the most frustrating experiences for any publisher is discovering that someone not only has copied your content but outranks you on Google for searches related to that content. Now, Google seems to have heard the complaints and has launched a tool to help.
Called the Google Scraper Report, it was announced by the head of Google’s web spam team Matt Cutts on Twitter:
If you see a scraper URL outranking the original source of content in Google, please tell us about it: http://t.co/WohXQmI45X
— Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) February 27, 2014
The Google Scraper Report form doesn’t promise any immediate fix — or any fix at all. Rather, it simply asks people to share their original content URL, the URL of the content taken from them and the search results that triggered the outranking.
Google does have a DMCA system that people can use to remove infringing content, but that can be a time-consuming process. Potentially, this allows Google’s spam team to move against infringing content by considering it a spam offense, rather than a copyright issue.
There’s a slight negative in that potentially, someone reported for spamming as a “scraper” might have a valid copyright claim. But realistically, there are so many terrible scrapers out there, and the activity is often so obviously infringing, that removing such content on spam grounds would allow Google to apply more common sense to the problem, rather than virtual paperwork.
Again, however, it might be that the form won’t do any removals at all. Potentially, Google’s using it as a way just to harvest examples in order to improve its ranking system, so that original content shows up first.