Dallas, TX – In a recent English Google SEO office-hours session, John Mueller has answered complaints from their followers reporting expired previously-owned government domains and duplicate web pages ranking well in the search engine result pages or SERPs. Mueller generally pointed out the need to see the specifics of the expired domain issue and recommended reporting duplicate content using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA.
The office-hours session started with a report from a concerned netizen regarding expired government domains which are ranking well in search.
"So from the past few weeks, there are some sites that are ranking prominently in search. So when I look at their website, they don't look like quality websites. To my notice, those domains usually like they belong to Indian government agencies some institutions, you know government institutions," the netizen told Mueller. "So initially, they started writing about government jobs, and then they started writing about education. now they are writing about health topics back on vaccines, and they are ranking prominently on like best action, the best vaccine to take all this stuff."
The netizen believes that these domains are ranking only based on their history and asked John what Google can do about it. John answered that it's difficult for him to explain how it happened without going into the specifics of the problem.
"It's hard to say without looking at the specifics, but we do have systems in place that try to catch these expired domains and to figure out how to handle them better, but if you have some examples, I'm happy to pass them on to our team," Mueller told the netizen.
Mueller pointed out that the netizen himself is not sure if the content on those expired domains is spam or not and recommended using the spam report form to let his team know the specifics of what's going on.
"It also sounds like something where you're not sure if it's spam or not, and for those kinds of things, I would just also use the spam report form and kind of let us know from there what you've been seeing and if it's not spammed then the website team will recognize that as well, but that's I always think a useful approach too."
Another complaint comes from an SEO guy who claimed that websites that blatantly copied the content on his site are ranking well on search and it sort of turned out that Google has treated the original site's content as the duplicate one.
"We have a website that's been around for nine years with a huge copyrighted database of 200,000 profiles that we've manually written over nine years with a team of 40 writers," the SEO guy told Mueller. "And there's always been websites that have copied our entire database and just literally sometimes they copy our terms use page and our team page that are blatant about it, but they copy our website, and we've noticed that they're showing up in search uh sometimes above us."
The SEO guy said that the most concerning issue, aside from plagiarizing their content, is that those websites are ranking ahead of the original source of their content. There's an instance that he believes that the original content is omitted from search results.
"It's never been an issue because we've ranked ahead of them, but lately, they've been ranking ahead of us with our copyrighted content. And I think the most concerning thing we noticed is that when a kind of do a quote search and for two of our sentences in Google, six copycat sites show up and then our site doesn't show up and it says in order to show you the most relevant results we've admitted some entries."
The SEO guy and his team think that the situation has been reversed. Google Search now treats its original content as the copycat instead of the original source. They have already reported a couple of copycat sites using DMCA, and their hosting service removed them. However, they transferred to another hosting service and went live again with the plagiarized content.
"So you know we're running in circles. We got two of the sites removed via DMCA web host, but then they just moved to another host. We are the source, it's a copyrighted database, but other sites are ranking ahead of us with our direct content. So we're kind of uh running in circles," the SEO guy expressed his frustrations.
John responded to this situation by telling the SEO guy that the DMCA approach is the right way to solve it.
"I think in general the DMCA approach is probably the correct approach to take there because that's kind of the most direct process that involves that. It is something that is on a per URL basis primarily, so if you have a lot of I don't know or if a site has a lot of copies of your content, then it's kind of a lot of work to get that done, but that's kind of the ideal approach because that's I don't know the official path for you to say it's like well this is my content. It's not their content, and I can prove it to you, kind of thing," Mueller explained.
The SEO guy then asked Mueller what they can do for these websites plagiarizing their content, especially those that once their duplicate content is taken down, they simply move to another hosting service and upload the duplicate content again.
John told him that there's no simple solution and suggested focusing on reporting those duplicate pages that rank above their original content.
"I don't think there is like this one trick that you can do to say that it's like well this is always our content. So that's one thing to keep in mind. The other thing I usually try to recommend is to focus on sites that are actually a problem for your site in terms of, are they actually ranking above your site or not."
John also said that the web pages containing the original source being omitted from the search result have technical issues.
"I think that's more of a technical thing with regards to kind of how you search. So that's something that depending on the type of query that you do, it's possible to trigger that, but it doesn't mean that Google thinks your site is a copy," Mueller explained.
One of the most rampant problems face by website owners these days is their content being plagiarized. Storytelling company Content Marketing Specialist Agnes Zang knows fully well how frustrating it is, especially when plagiarized content ranks well above the original source.
Zang agreed with Mueller that the right solution is to take the DMCA approach. But Zang suggested first contacting the owners of those websites and amicably asking them to take down the content they plagiarized. If they won't respond to that, the next step is to contact their web host to remove the plagiarized content. And, the DMCA path should be done once these two solutions don't work.
On the other hand, Zang believes that content from expired domains is not much of an issue because Google has spam filters and tools users can use to report such type of content. If those content is ranking well at the moment, sooner or later, it will be demoted and eventually get deindexed if proven that they don't bring value to users.
Published by: Agnes Zang
Release ID: 25585