The Panda algorithm shift seemed to have wiped the slate clean and NOW whoever’s article comes from a site with more authority for instance, is the one that does best. You might ask, “is that a bad thing?”. I would say in true SEO fashion, “that depends”. If you are not looking to build your own site’s authority, and you are just sharing to share, then let others copy at will and without your permission. If you are looking to build your own site’s authority, online visibility, trust factor and reputation, then syndicate safely. Remember the days when you would have html instructions on a webpage on how to link back to your site for the non-html savvy? Why not do that now to protect your copyright and include the 3 conditions for syndicating below from Eric Enge on Search Engine Land that outlines what I call the good-better-best situations when syndicating content. And let me be clear, syndicating means giving others permission to repost your content, not just outright copy it.
Add a direct attribution link to all your articles and posts and maybe even pages. By placing a link on the page right back to itself, you at least ensure you will get a link right back to your article in the anchor text of your choosing. At the very least, if it’s a worthy publication and it will get you good visibility, follow their guidelines.
Ask publishers to use a meta robots noindex tag. That way they are allowed to republish the article, but not compete for rankings in the search engines.
Gently ask publishers to use the rel=canonical tag and point it to the original article.
Creative Commons Licenses
Don’t forget to take advantage of Creative Commons licenses. On the Internet since 2002, Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing of content with the use of free legal tools. CC licenses work together with your copyright enabling you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs. You might want different licenses for different types of content. By following the “good” recommendation all of the time, and getting others to comply with “better” and “best” most of the time, it signals to the search engines that the content is yours and should be attributed to you.
DCMA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act
If duplicated content becomes a real issue and you find publishers are not asking permission and won’t comply with “better” or “best”, and you have not given them express permission to copy your content, and they are not helping you in any way, you can file a DCMA request asking Google to remove the content.
To see if your copyrighted content has been plagiarized, try an age-old tool, Copyscape. It will show you what sites have copied your content and outline the copied content. Paid versions can help you keep an eye out for copied content.
I hope this helps clear some things up regarding syndicating and copied content. If you think you may have an issue with duplicate content, contact me and we can have a quick look.