What is Data Scraping and Why Should It Matter for Content Distributors?

April 20, 2014 Courtney Brady

If you own a content distribution site, you should be keenly aware of a practice called data scraping and how it can affect your site’s performance. What is data scraping, and why should matter to you? Ultimately, data scraping can lead to the theft and re-distribution of your copy, it can hurt your SEO rankings, and it can give your competitors access to your products, prices and other brand-specific information. Clearly, it’s something you want to avoid!

What is Data Scraping?

Data scraping is when an automated computer program extracts information, data and content from your website.  All website owners have to worry about this tactic, as it can have significant negative effects on traffic, SEO and other areas of web performance. But scraping is particularly detrimental to content distribution sites, which rely heavily on the unique copy and content housed on their web pages. With data scraping, this content becomes vulnerable, and competitors across the web can use it, pass it off as their own, or even sell it for profit.

Specifically, here’s how data scraping can hurt your content distribution site:

  • Give competitors access to your copy, content, images and other data. They can then use this content on their own sites, sell it to others or masquerade it as their own.
  • Allows competitors to see your product listings and prices. They’ll then be able to outbid you, offer a lower price and steal customers away from your business.
  • Lowers your SEO rankings. Google, Bing and other search engines penalize sites with duplicate or plagiarized content, and only original, unique content is shown on the top spots in search results. If other sites scrape your data and post it as their own, your content is no longer original on the web, and can make your own content look plagiarized. This sends up red flags to search engines, and can make your site drop in the rankings almost immediately.

Obviously, data scraping is a serious concern – especially for content distributors. Want to learn more about how to protect your site from content theft? Contact Distil Networks today. We can help.

About the Author

Courtney Brady

Courtney Brady is the Director of Marketing at Distil Networks. She comes to Distil Networks from a variety of start-up companies, routed in SaaS and DaaS solutions. Formerly the global communications manager at multiple companies, Courtney is responsible for developing the company’s marketing strategy and branding campaign.

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