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Copying Resources From Another Site For SEO or In General

The legal jargon with respect to digital copyrights can be confusing – especially since different countries have their own laws and regulations.

With this post, we hope to dispel a few myths and pull together a complete list of resources for teachers and students to use when blogging and working with content online.

1. You Can’t Use Everything You Find On the Web

Just Because You Found it On Google Doesn't Make It Free for Website and SEO
Just Because You Found it On Google Doesn't Make It Free
Most of the internet users are under the impression that if it is on the web, then it is up for grabs, well it's not for sure.

2. There Are Resources You CAN Use

One of the myths out there is that you can’t use any image, video, or content from another website on your blog.

That simply isn’t true, and we’ll cover our favorite sources of “fair use” and “public domain” sources in this post.

It is troubling that while copyright is important to protect the hard work of others, it can also stifle creativity and hamper educational goals.

Understanding Fair Use

For example, if an image, text, video, etc. is being used for educational purposes, there might be more flexible copyright rules.

For example, a video that was purchased in a store can usually be shown in a classroom when the video is tied to the curriculum being taught. Otherwise, showing a class full of students a video would be considered a “public performance” and would be against the law.

The trouble is, most of the laws and rules that cover fair use and education were written well before the invention of the web.

But make sure to check specific copyright restrictions before uploading anything you’ve scanned to the web!

What Can Be a Violation?

Here are the most common types of content that we have been contacted about and asked to remove on our blogs:

  • Images – mostly found through google image search
  • Curriculum docs – especially handouts and student activities
  • Text and quotes – copy/pasted from other websites (even with a link or attribution it still may not be legal)
  • Music – usually mp3s that students have uploaded to share on their blogs
Google makes it incredibly easy for companies and content creators to seek out those posting their work on the web

What Is Creative Commons?

One thing to look for when figuring out if a resource (ie. image, video, text, etc.) is free to copy or embed on your blog, is a Creative Commons license.

Most of the sites use this for letting others know that they are free to use anything on their blog as long as you:
  • give an attribution or credit that lets others know where you got the info with a link,
  • won’t profit in any way from using our content and use it for non-business purposes only, and
  • anything you create with our content, you must use the same license.
Luckily, the CreativeCommons.org website has a ton of excellent information and makes it easy to grab the license you wish to have on your own blog. If you (or your students) have blogs, then it is a good idea to choose the most appropriate license and make it visible on your blog.

Where To Find The Free Stuffs?

Best Free Resources Right Under Your Nose SEO and Website
Best Free Resources Right Under Your Nose

Images

Videos

You are free to embed any video from YouTube, Vimeo, WatchKnowLearn, etc. on your blog or website as long as it gives you the embed option. That being said, you (or your students) can’t necessarily use parts from videos on YouTube (or other sources) to make mashups or as part of another video. Be sure to have permission to use any video that you are cutting, making changes to, or adding to a project.

Content and Text

  • Wikipedia – Quote away (with a link back) to any information you find on Wikipedia
  • Curriki – An open curriculum community
  • Collaborize Classroom Library – A growing resource for discussion questions, lesson plans, and more
  • HighWire Free Online Full-text Articles - HighWire Press is the largest archive of free full-text science on Earth!
  • Free Website Content - Free daily content for your website - Word of the Day, Article of the Day, This Day in History, Today's Birthday, Today's Holiday, Quote of the Day, Hangman, Word Match Up. Also: Reference lookup box, Javascript double-click code. Easy-to-use wizard generates HTML code for your page. Interesting and educational material will make your website sticky. Free content for webmasters
Have we missed any important tips or good sites to find resources that are free to use? 

Let us know in the comments below and we will be sure to add it to the post!

Do Not Copy - Copying Resources For Website and SEO

Can we copy the resources from another site?

You can copy the ideas, not the resources. Also include your innovative ideas and create another website.

Certain things you may, others you may not. JavaScript code, for instance is exposed and you may take some liberties there if it doesn't breach any copyrights/licenses such as in the case of proprietary code. Images, text and other content, you may not unless they're marked royalty free or come under appropriate fair usage policies.

Does Copying Content Effects Google SEO Rankings With Or Without Permissions

Google sees 2 or more sites with the same content. It's not gonna show you all of them, because it's not really a good resultpage if everything is the same. So it starts to decide which of the sites will be shown.

It does this based on a few factors like:
- Which site had it first (on same publish date, this is THE FIRST FOUND, not perse the original)
- Which site has a better ranking?

After some formula they show you one, the others don't get shown. You do not get a penalty, but no points for content either.

In your case, it does benefit you a bit; you get points for users on your site, and the time they're on your site. If you have a blank website, they leave fast, if you have some basic content they stay longer.

The linkbuiling is something you should be carefull with. Quality over quantity, only get links from relevant sites' relevant pages. Don't expect too much from this. Also, check if their anchors have rel="nofollow". If so, you dont get ANY SEO value from it at all :)

Let me give you practical answer. If yours is heavy backlink profile from high worth sites then chances of Panda penalty will be much less than if you hadn't.

Secondly if you're copying articles "as is" then it is adding to internet spam. Everyone wastes time and energy on such sites. Google abhors such sites.

These ways you can help reduce web spam:

  • So you should use rel=canonical on such copied pages pointing them to original versions. In that case, Google will take care to discount your "copied" pages in the SERP and Google index.
  • Use meta tag noindex to show the search engines you don't want them crawl it
  • Disallow such pages through robots.txt. For example you can have all copied pages within /copied folder and use Disallow: /copied/ within Robots.txt
  • Host such copied material with Iframe. Such content within iframe will be ignored by Google etc. I think this is the best way to show copied content. You need not maintain any versions nor spend disk-space for duplicate content.
Set a preferred URL for your content using canonical URL

A canonical link element is an HTML element that helps webmasters prevent duplicate content issues by specifying the "canonical", or "preferred", version of a web page as part of search engine optimization.

What is rel=canonical and Why Should I Use It:

When you run a data driven site or have other reasons why a document might be duplicated it’s important to tell search engines which copy is the master copy, or in the jargon, the “canonical” copy. When a search engine indexes your pages it can tell when content has been duplicated. Without additional information, the search engine will decide which page best meets the needs of their customers. This might be fine, but there are many instances of search engines delivering old and outdated pages because they chose the wrong document as canonical.

link rel="canonical" href="URL of the canonical page

It is very easy to tell search engines the canonical URL with meta data in the HEAD of your documents. Put the following HTML near the top of your HEAD element on every page that is not canonical:

Having quality, authoritative, regularly updated content on your business’s website is important for several reasons:
  • Shows your expertise and knowledge.
  • Helps potential customers make purchasing decisions.
  • Increases the likelihood of visitors to your site returning again.
  • Makes it more likely that other websites will link to you.
  • Increases traffic from long-tail searches.
Unfortunately, many business’s overlook this important aspect of their website and the SEO process.

You can copy content from other websites if you have the permission of the copyright owner, or if you are sure the content is not subject to copyright (if it is in the pubic domain, for example). 

In all other cases, copying content is illegal, and also against the AdSense terms and conditions. 

Copying from a newspaper is almost certainly an infringement of copyright. The fact that one blogger appears to be getting away with it for the moment doesn't change that. 

The best advice is always to create your own content. If you really must quote from another site, get the owner's permission first.

This is how Google sees duplicate content:

Google sees 2 or more sites with the same content. It's not gonna show you all of them, because it's not really a good resultpage if everything is the same. So it starts to decide which of the sites will be shown.

It does this based on a few factors like:
- Which site had it first (on same publish date, this is THE FIRST FOUND, not perse the original)- Which site has a better ranking?

After some formula they show you one, the others don't get shown. You do not get a penalty, but no points for content either.

Google's Matt Cutts: Duplicate Content Won't Hurt You, Unless It Is Spammy : 

Matt said in the video, “I wouldn’t stress about this unless the content that you have duplicated is spammy or keyword stuffing.”

Copying that works for SEO

There are however two ways in which copying does not affect, and may even raise, your rankings:
  • You are copying small amounts of text and placing them within original and unique content in the same way that one book might quote another. But the original content makes up the majority of the text.
  • You mix and match which we'll discuss now
Mix and match is just a way of explaining that you don't just take RSS feeds wholesale and dump them on your page. Using code you may mix several RSS feeds together to give, for example, "Reviews of Uncle Rakesh's Orange Juice" which contains reviews taken from several other websites.

Now you are copying but you are also creating genuinely useful information as you are providing original content by bringing a number of pieces of data together - but not in the same pattern as everyone else. This makes it unique and SEO can help promote it.

Useful links to learn more about copying content from other website:

Duplicate contentGoogles Matt Cutts: A Little Duplicate Content Wont Hurt Your RankingsCan I use text from another website on mine?How To Use Content From Other Blogs Without Violating CopyrightHow scamming and copying affects SEO of a website

Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. This post is not intended as legal advise. If you have real concerns that you MIGHT be violating someone’s copyright, do not use it. Or ask permission first. Sharing quotes, facts, and images from other blogs is something many content creators do instinctively, without thinking about whether they are doing anything wrong.

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