How Keyword Thieves Steal Your Google Rankings


As a citizen of the internet world, you must have seen a lot of silly behaviors people boldly display, especially theft: stealing tweets, user profiles, personal stories, business ideas, and more. People also steal on the eCommerce side of the internet, and keyword poaching, a type of website scraping, is common among digital marketers. The ultimate goal of these bold thieves is to generate traffic, or clout, as people say on social media. Right now, there might be people lurking and checking your web pages against SEO tools to collect data about your keywords and discover which keywords you rank for.

How Digital Marketers Steal Your Keywords and Google Rankings

Thieving digital marketers use SEO tools such as Shine and Ahrefs to steal your keywords. These tools were meant for business owners/digital marketers to see how their websites perform by giving them access to the website analytics. But keyword poachers use their SEO tools to peek at other people’s websites, particularly rivals. Here’s how a keyword thief can poach your keywords:

  • 1. They copy and paste your website URL into the site explorer feature of an SEO tool.
  • 2. The site explorer reveals your website analytics to them.
  • 3. Next, they use the organic keywords feature to see all the keywords your website is ranking for.
  • 4. They use filters to fish out the keywords with the most search volume or monthly traffic.

They can do a lot with SEO tools. They can use filters to determine the difficulty level of all your top-ranking keywords. They can also automatically make a list of your top-ranking keywords with low competition. With all that data, they can write much better articles to use the keywords to generate better results than you on Google. They can outrank your website, steal your traffic, display ads, and your affiliate marketing income. And that’s just awful.

Why You Should Be Concerned About Keyword Theft

First, keyword poachers typically steal keywords from new websites in their first or second year because it is easy to dominate with their keywords as a website with bigger domain authority. Keyword thieves know they can outrank new websites with lower domain authority with the same keywords. They don’t go after established websites with big domain authority.

That said, you need to be mindful of keyword poaching because it can retard the growth of your website, especially at its early stage. As your website is getting a lot of monthly traffic and searches for keywords, especially keywords with low difficulty, keyword poachers are already lurking. At this stage where your paid and unpaid SEO efforts are what give your business awareness, traffic and sales, you don’t need any keyword poacher stealing from you.

How to Protect Your Website From Keyword Thieves

You should not watch while eCommerce bullies poach your keywords and outrank you for the same keywords. Even though your website has lower domain authority compared to theirs, there are a few things you can do to protect your website, which are:

  • • Publish outstanding content
  • • Use code to prevent poachers from easily copying your website
  • • Set up complicated honeytraps

Let’s talk about them in detail.

Publish Outstanding Content

The first step to making it hard for keyword thieves to outrank you even if they poach your keywords is to create and publish outstanding and high-quality content that they can’t copy. You won’t be too worried about their poaching because you are confident that they can’t create better content than yours, and they will also see that. And that defeats their purpose.

Here are some of the things you can do to create outstanding content:

  • • Write and publish valuable and relevant content, especially original content
  • • Write long-form articles that cover all necessary details and perspectives –– 2000 words or more per article is ideal
  • • Publish relevant data, surveys, and statistics to back up the topic you’re addressing
  • • More points if you conduct and publish original research
  • • Use relevant images, memes, gifs, and videos to communicate your message more clearly –– use high-quality media
  • • Use user-friendly formatting, such as clear fonts, simple and uniform design
  • • Master basic SEO and implement them
  • • Ensure that your content has zero errors
  • • Personalize your content with your brand voice and personality

Use Code to Protect Your Website from Keyword Poachers

The code doesn’t guarantee complete protection from keyword thieves, especially tech-savvy poachers, but it will slow them down, and that’s a win for you. It will stop them from right-clicking and copying your website content. You don’t need to be a pro coder to use code to protect your website. Input this CSS code into your website:

body {

user-select: none;


Go to your website WordPress dashboard

Go to “appearance”

Go to “customize”

Go to “Additional CSS”

Copy and paste the above CSS code into the text box

Click “publish”

Test to see how the code works on your live website

Make sure you add the code correctly to avoid disrupting anything on your website. But if you can’t insert the code yourself, you can hire a coder to help out.

Set Up Complicated Honeytraps

If you are not skilled at this, there’s no point in attempting this by yourself. Hire an expert. You can read this Stack Overflow discussion to learn about honeytraps and related actions you can take to prevent website scraping.

That said, here are essential things you can do to set up complicated honeytraps and prevent anyone from poaching your keywords:

  • • Monitor your website analytics to detect any unusual activities ASAP
  • • Block the IP addresses you found doing the unusual activities
  • • Use captchas
  • • Change your website HTML regularly
  • • Include fake data on your website
  • • Use premium anti-scraping software

You can also adopt rate limiting. Rate limiting is a tactic you can implement to regulate access to your website as you see fit. For example, you can use rate-limiting to limit the number of connections an IP address can make to your website at the same time. Hence, a single IP address won’t be able to connect multiple bots or devices to your website at the same time. Another way people use rate limiting is to limit the number of possible requests o the same server within a given time.

Many eCommerce newbies may not know this, but you can report any website that copies any content directly from your website. File a Digital Millennium Copyright Act Contact (DMCA) request to take down your content from the thieving website. Although, it doesn’t work for stolen keywords.

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