How to Prevent Blog Content Scraping in WordPress

Blog content scraping is a huge problem facing website owners today. Scrapers illegally copy written content, images, videos, and more from sites to reuse on their own websites. This steals your hard work while hurting your site‘s search engine rankings and monetization.

In this comprehensive guide, you‘ll learn what blog content scraping is, why it happens, and most importantly – actionable tips to prevent and deal with scrapers stealing from your WordPress site.

What is Content Scraping?

Content scraping refers to the automated or manual copying of text, images, videos, or other assets from an original source website. The stolen content is then republished without permission on other sites.

Scraping most often occurs via a site‘s RSS feed. But content thieves may also manually copy and paste content, or use tools to extract assets from your pages‘ source code.

Scraped content is reused for various purposes:

  • Ranking stolen content pages higher in search engines to divert organic traffic and make money from ads.
  • Generating affiliate commissions by adding scraped content to affiliate niche sites.
  • Building authority sites in certain niches by stealing others‘ high quality content.
  • Redistributing pirated media like ebooks and videos.

Why Does Content Scraping Happen?

Scrapers want to profit from content without doing the work to create it themselves. Original high-quality content takes a lot of time, effort, and money to produce.

By scraping content, sites can quickly build up material on their own sites to rank higher in search engines. Or they can directly monetize the stolen content through ads and affiliate links.

For little effort, scraping allows sites to benefit from others‘ hard work and increase their own traffic, leads, and revenue.

Is it Possible to Fully Prevent Content Scraping?

Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to completely prevent content scraping. Scrapers who are determined to copy your material will likely find a way.

However, that doesn‘t mean you shouldn‘t take steps to protect your content. This guide will cover many techniques to reduce and discourage scraping.

And when your content does get stolen, you‘ll learn how to find scraped content and have it removed. Stopping all scrapers may not be possible – but you can minimize the problem and take back control.

How to Limit and Prevent Content Scraping

Here are powerful tips to make stealing your original content more difficult:

1. Copyright Your Site Content

Registering a copyright for your site content reinforces your legal ownership. Displaying a copyright notice also informs scrapers your content is protected.

To register a copyright:

  • For content published in the US, you can submit an online application and pay a small fee.
  • Talk to an intellectual property lawyer for help registering copyrights if based outside the US.

Also visibly display a copyright notice on your site. For example:

"© Your Site Name, 2022. All Rights Reserved."

Update the notice yearly. This warns scrapers that legal action may follow if they steal your content.

2. Disable Full-Text RSS Feeds

Most content scrapers target sites‘ RSS feeds to automatically grab new content.

Limit your main RSS feed to only show post excerpts, not full content. This gives scrapers less material to work with.

To disable full-text feeds in WordPress:

  1. Go to Settings → Reading
  2. Under Syndication Feeds, select Show excerpts
  3. Save changes

Also consider limiting RSS feeds to only recent posts. This gives scrapers less archived content to target.

3. Block Scrapers at the Network Level

Identify scrapers accessing your site and block their IP addresses from connecting. This instantly cuts off access to your content.

To manually block IPs:

  • Check server access logs to find suspicious IP addresses
  • Copy IPs into a text file for reference
  • Use your host‘s IP blocking tools to deny them access

For better automation, use a security plugin like Wordfence to automatically detect and block scrapers. The premium version includes advanced IP blocking functions.

4. Make Text Selection Difficult

Many scrapers manually copy and paste content from sites. Make this tougher by disabling text selection on your pages.

To disable text selection in WordPress, add this CSS:

.disable-select {
  -webkit-touch-callout: none;
  -webkit-user-select: none;
  -khtml-user-select: none;
  -moz-user-select: none;
  -ms-user-select: none;
  user-select: none;

Then add the disable-select class to containers around your content. Users won‘t be able to highlight or copy text from those elements.

5. Watermark Your Images

Scrapers often steal site images along with text content. Watermarking makes it clear stolen images are yours.

Watermark images before uploading them to your site. Use image editing software to overlay your site name, URL, or logo in the corner.

This identifies the images as your property. Watermarks also remain even if images get resized or cropped.

6. Delay Full Content Availability

Give search engines a head start in finding your new content before scrapers can access it.

Plugins like Feedzy allow you to delay when new posts appear in feeds. Set a delay of 24-48 hours.

Search engines will still immediately index your content. By the time scrapers can access it, your site will rank better for it.

7. Don‘t Ping Sites About New Links to Them

Scrapers used to target pingbacks – pings sent to notify sites when you link to them. Disable pingbacks to avoid attention.

In WordPress, go to Settings → Discussion. Uncheck Allow link notifications from other blogs.

Disabling trackbacks and comments on posts may also help. Scrapers look for these as signs of sites they can target.

8. Password Protect Content

For particularly valuable content, password protect the page so only authorized viewers can see it.

Choose a strong password not used on any other sites. Only share with your email subscribers or paid members who should access it.

Scrapers won‘t be able to access and copy content on password protected pages. But also remember this limits access for legitimate readers.

Finding and Removing Stolen Content

Even with precautions, some content scraping will likely occur. Here‘s how to find and address it:

Search Engines Like Google

Search for unique phrases from your posts in Google. Results will reveal sites copying your content. Click a result and verify it‘s unchanged copied content.

Use Google‘s DMCA removal request form to report verbatim copied content. Complete details on the source page and scraped page. Google will de-index the scraped page if it violates your copyright.


Copyscape is a plagiarism checker designed for identifying copied web content. Enter a unique paragraph from your post:

  • Copyscape searches the web for matching content.
  • It returns a list of pages containing that text, indicating scraped copies.
  • You can then send DMCA takedown notices to those sites‘ webmasters.

The free plan checks 250 pages per day. Paid plans allow more searches.

Google Analytics

Check your Google Analytics account and look under Acquisition > Referrals. Scraped sites linking back to your original content may appear here.

Investigate sites sending you unusual amounts of referrals. Confirm if they have copied your content without permission.

Reverse Image Search

Use Google Images or TinEye reverse image search to find copies of your site‘s images posted elsewhere. Upload images you suspect may be copied:

  • The tools will scan the web to find matching images.
  • Results reveal which sites are using your images without permission.

Image scrapers can be hard to police. But reverse search helps track them down.

DMCA Takedown Notices

When you find sites scraping your content, send them DMCA takedown notices requiring removal. Be sure to include:

  • Identification of the copyrighted work being infringed
  • The infringing content URL that should be removed
  • Your contact information
  • Statement that you believe the use is not authorized

Sites must comply or face legal consequences for copyright violation. This sample takedown notice template covers the key details to include.

Take Advantage of Content Scrapers

While preventing content scraping is ideal, the reality is that some amount will likely always occur on popular sites.

In these cases, focus on using scrapped content to your advantage:

Link Internally

Include contextual internal links in your posts. These provide backlinks from scraped copies of your content across the web.

Make internal links point to related helpful content on your site. Scrapers will unknowingly link back to you when copying these.

Auto Link Keywords

Have certain keywords automatically link to your affiliate offers or products. Scrapers will copy the links along with your content.

This allows their theft to generate sales through your affiliate links. You profit from the additional exposure on their site.

Promote Your Site in Your RSS Feed

Alter your RSS feed to include links back to your site in the header and footer. Scrapers using the feed will also carry these links.

Highlight your latest content, valuable pages, or contact information to take advantage of placement on their sites.


Getting your content scraped feels awful, but is hard to prevent completely. Focus on making it tougher for scrapers through smart precautions.

Finding and removing copied content can be a game of whack-a-mole. But keep pursuing DMCA removals to discourage repeat offenses.

With the right tools and tactics, you can minimize the SEO and financial damages of content theft. Don‘t allow scrapers to benefit from your hard work.

Written by Jason Striegel

C/C++, Java, Python, Linux developer for 18 years, A-Tech enthusiast love to share some useful tech hacks.