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How Much Can Your Google Traffic Plummet If You Rip Off Content?



How Much Can Your Google Traffic Plummet If You Rip Off Content?

Do you know what’s not fun?

Another site stealing your content.

Copyright violations have happened since the beginning of Google time. Years ago, I wrote a blog post about what to do if somebody steals your content.

Fortunately, the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) makes it “easy” to get offending content taken down.

In many cases, someone honestly didn’t know that they can’t reuse content from another site. The mistake is innocent, an embarrassing learning experience, and easily fixable.

They’ll never make that mistake again.

But what happens to those other people who love pushing the envelope. They upload other people’s content because “nobody will notice,” and “it’s not like we’re hurting anyone.”


Some people even believe that reprinting others’ content without their permission gives the content “exposure to a new audience.”

Yes. Seriously.

Often, these folks receive multiple DMCA takedown notices. Sure, they eventually comply and take down the content. But many of them go back to their previous dumb behavior and upload something else that violates another person’s copyright.

Why? Because they mistakenly believe that there aren’t any Google consequences.

And they’d be wrong.

Wondering what can happen if you steal content and post it on your site?

Search expert, Glenn Gabe, dropped this bit of Google knowledge. Here’s his tweet:

Yup, you read that right — an 89 percent drop.

Imagine losing almost 90 percent of your traffic overnight?


Oh, it would hurt. And it would hurt bad.

First, OF COURSE, there’s an algorithm designed to catch copyright infringers. The Pirate algorithm has been around for a long time. Like, 2012.

Second, this is Google reinforcing that copyright violation is a big deal. And site owners who continue to do it will be punished the best way Google knows how — cutting off a site’s visibility.

So, know that stealing others’ content has consequences. Google may not punish you immediately. But, know that Google is watching…and that traffic drop-off could happen any minute.

To me, that’s not worth the risk.

What do you think about the “Google punishment” for stealing content?

Have you dealt with a client who felt that stealing content was A-OK? Does knowing that Google is punishing offenders make you smile? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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Google Clarifies Course Structured Data Requirements



Google Clarifies Course Structured Data Requirements

Google updated the Course structured data requirements for appearing in the Course rich results. Failure to follow the guidelines may result in not qualifying for the rich result.

While the added requirement is not new, it was previously missing from the Course structured data requirements page.

Course Structured Data

The Schema structured data for courses is what schools use to appear in the associated rich results, which can appear as a carousel.

The official website defines the Course structured data as:

“A description of an educational course which may be offered as distinct instances at which take place at different times or take place at different locations, or be offered through different media or modes of study.

An educational course is a sequence of one or more educational events and/or creative works which aims to build knowledge, competence or ability of learners.”

As long as schools follow the Google Search Central structured data guidelines and requirements for the Course structured data, students can find courses they’re looking for in the rich results triggered by educational course search queries, and everyone wins.

Unfortunately, the Course structured data guidelines were incomplete because they were missing an essential requirement.


Google Clarifies How to Be Eligible for Rich Results

The change to the Course structured data was to add a requirement missing from the guidelines.

The change is described in a Google changelog:

“Clarified that you must add three courses to be eligible for the Course rich result. This is not a new requirement; it was previously only documented in the Carousel documentation.”

Google added additional sentences to the section of the Course structured data guidelines that is titled Technical Guidelines.

The new wording that was added is:

“You must mark up at least three courses. The courses can be on separate detail pages, or in an all-in-one page.

You must add Carousel markup to either a summary page or an all-in-one page.”

Previous to this clarification, developers and SEOs who followed the Course guidelines would not have known about this requirement unless they had looked at the Carousel structured data requirements.

All schools that failed to mark up three courses and add Carousel markup will not qualify for the Course rich results.

Additional Changes to Structured Data Guidelines

Previous to Google’s clarification of the Course structured data requirements, the word “carousel” appeared only two times.


After the change, the word “carousel” appears six times in the new documentation.

The Carousel structured data requirements were important all along, but the previous documentation did not communicate that importance to the search community.

Check Your Structured Data

If the Course structured data has failed in the past to result in a rich result, it may be helpful to review the current structured data that’s on the pages to ensure that there are at least three courses marked up and that the Carousel markup is also used.


Read the Updated Course Structured Data Guidelines

Use Schema for Course Carousel

View an Archive of the Previous Guidelines Snapshot of Google Course Structured Data Guidelines

Image by Shutterstock/Maxim Gutsal

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