Feel free to do a DMCA request, but I'm already passing this to my team as a spam report and we'll dig into it. I don't know how Getty deals with scrapers though, so you'll need to look into that on your side.
I made a video with advice about dealing with scraping a few years ago that might be useful for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5CosWAVLCZg
Thanks for the response - I guess my mom's site is good enough to ward off a cheap attack. Thanks for passing this on to the team - that host has a ton more sites similar to my mom's so anything that can be done to help the original owners would be awesome. It sucks worse for people who aren't familiar with the web and just have to deal with the consequences of someone else's actions. Anything Google can do to help is appreciated and I suspect this problem will only get more difficult.
I'll past that video on to my mom as well. Thanks again.
Can you pass along the scrapers details to the Adsense team too... I would think that account should be shutdown.
So? What if that is not the goal?
Is it possible that some users might not type their searches in a Google-sponsored search bar or a Google-controlled browser's "omni" bar?
Is it possible that some websites might get traffic from their domain names alone, because these names are descriptive? No search engine needed: Type your search into the address bar and add .com.
I believe this is called "direct navigation". Presumably, these sites generate small scale (but targeted) traffic on a site by site basis that might only be significant when aggregated across many sites. Contrast this with the immense traffic received by a search engine acting as a portal to the rest of the web, for which each site must compete... by purchasing ads or placement or "SEO" services.
Interestingly, there is no AdSense on the imposter site mentioned in the article. The only outbound links is a search form pointing to https://www.google.com. Thus this imposter site is not a landing page for Do Re Mi but for Google.
So essentially this guy is building this site, ranking it in Google using the churn 'n Burn method, then once its ranking well he'll contact local business saying he can link to them in return for a fee.
Even though the domain is 6 months old, if you look at ahrefs this guy has 33k backlinks to the homepage. Google had a major SEO update on October 4th which essentially fucked up their algorithm more than it already was. This churn 'n burn method means that you spam out a zillion backlinks and you will rank really well until the next Google update comes along (which is around 3-4 months) You could do this in the previous Google update (Penguin 2.1) and I thought Google would fix this but they just made it easier. This is a good example of the method: http://www.blackhatworld.com/blackhat-seo/black-hat-seo/5769... (This was the one of the guys that essentially figured out this method from what I can tell)
So with this new Google update, they are getting rid of some of the spammy sites, but more spam sites just taken their places in the rankings. Now they are focusing on the amount of content on your site rather than the backlinks. So now 10 year old sites with hundreds of legitimate, high authority backlinks are getting outranked but spammy sites with 14 backlinks and 300 gibberish articles.
I've also been reading that with local Google searches, you get results from completely different countries. For example, people in the UK were reporting that they were getting results from sites in Russia, Argentina and New Zealand instead of UK results. I don't think this happens as much in America from what I know.
So I'm guessing Google is eventually going to iron out these problems, but it's a battleground at the moment.
If you do get outranked by this guy, make a video with your keywords in the title, same with a Facebook and LinkedIn page and then buy a bunch of backlinks off Fiverr. They should outrank pretty much any other website in a matter of days.
Your explanation of this scam shows some of the flaws in relying on Google's methodology and ranking system to (re)"organize the world's information".
Imagine if the world's libraries worked this way.
The flaws should not simply be opportunity for scammers, they should be a signal to entrepreneurial innovators.
In the same way that the flaws in first generation search engines like AltaVista (e.g., blurring of the line between commercial and non-commercial content in search results) were a signal to the entrepreneurs who created Google.
I'm going to take this opportunity to suggest people check out Duck Duck Go. That is all.
Of course, it would still be worth it to get your own content rewritten at least once before you hit them back.
I know people won't agree with this radical solution but for those black hat guys the web is a war zone. Good luck.
Turns out that they actually filed a DMCA request against my mom's site for the photos she took. That's some chutzpah.
I'd do some research before embarking on this. Remember, they copied your mom's website, they have duplicate content. I wouldn't be surprised if Google's crawler already knows that. So if you make their site look shady, your mom's site may be hurt in SEO rankings for being guilty by association. Ironic, I know. Again, I am not sure if this could be the case, but you may want to get an expert's opinion.
Any suitably popular site is going to have all sorts of people ripping off your content. Google knows this, and work very hard to deal with it. I just searched for a bunch of things related to your site and the legitimate pages appears to be winning them all, and I don't even see the bad page showing up in the top 10.
If the site is sapping traffic, file a DCMA against their hosting provider (though there are some shady web-hosts who won't do anything about it). Obviously if they are filing a DCMA request against you, defend yourself. But just because somebody is ripping off your content doesn't necessarily mean you need to do anything.
To note - my mom found out about this site when she received a note telling her she needs to pay close to a $1000 to license the photo that was ripped off from her site. Otherwise she wouldn't even have found out about this.
To me this is smells like the real motive behind this. It's not about trashing your SEO, or stealing traffic, but rather to scare those small website owners into paying some kind of 'fee'.
It's pretty safe to assume lots of small websites for local businesses use various photos they found online or downloaded from Google images, rather than their own content or images they bothered paying license for. Copying those images onto a seemingly legitimate site and then filing a claim for license payment seems like a pretty good strategy to milk money out of innocent site owners.
I'd be curious to see the note your mum received and what kind of language or tactics it's using.
However, tricking Google is another matter. The site I used to work for has had probably hundreds of other sites steal content from it, some of them really egregiously (IE mirroring the entire site). It didn't matter though, because our site had a better reputation and had the content first. For example, let's compare your site to that other domain:
1) Your site was registered over 4 years ago. The knock-off site was registered 6 months ago.
2) Your site is hosted by a reputable web-host, linode. Their's isn't (or at least the whois for their IP range doesn't look reputable).
3) You had the content first.
4) Your site has some reputable incoming links, their doesn't.
5) Their site's IP is hosting tons of other sites, yours isn't (I'm assuming)
You are obviously the more reputable site, and that is why you are going to rank and they aren't.
The best defense is just to look more reputable than your competition --- the easiest way to do this is to be more reputable than them!
Three quicks things that I noticed you might want to improve:
1. Change the http://doremi-nj.com --> http://www.doremi-nj.com redirect from a 302 to a 301. A few incoming links are coming to the non-www version of your site, and theoretically a 301 is better for passing SEO juice than a 302. (In simple cases like this I'm sure Google figures it out anyways, but might as well help them).
2. Make sure you are giving Googlebot a sitemap with links to all your content to help them crawl it first. There isn't one in your robots.txt, so I'm not sure if you have one. You can just upload this directly into Google Webmaster Tools as well.
3. Have better meta descriptions. For example for the search "guitar lessons livingston nj", you come up 2nd. Very good! But, the snippet for your page is "Do-Re-Mi School of Music & the Arts93A South Livingston Avenue,Livingston, NJ973-758-1500 We offer instruction in Acoustic and Electric Guitar and Bass, ...". This is not a good snippet. For your main 20-30 landing pages (which you can find in GA) write custom meta descriptions that are going to look good in the Google snippet. This will not only directly help your traffic, but this is also is a good reputation indication! Human written meta descriptions look more human than robotic ones.
The #1 thing Google is concerned about for search is webspam. The #1 thing they are concerned with for Adsense is click fraud. So in this situation, we probably have a) a site which gets little traffic because google search has detected it is webspam and b) a site which makes little money because it gets little traffic, and c) doesn't engage in click fraud. Therefore, it still is a member of Adsense, but gets no search traffic in google search.
In the process of rewriting, change some of the key URLs, i.e. some of the pages that link to a lot of other pages on your site, and submit those changes to Google for recrawling
This will help defeat a copycat who has munged up their timestamps because Google will now believe that your mom's site is the original.
Don't rewrite too much, i.e. no need to change every word, but just try to improve every page, make it a bit clearer, restructure the content to put the most important info first using journalistic pyramid style writing. Change some of the wording in headings and titles. Never make a change just for change's sake, but always make changes when they improve the content, and help the target audience for that page. You could even test a few pages on actual target audience members and ask them if they think the rewrite is better and clearer.
Once you go through all of this, keep up the resubmissions to Google when key pages change, for instance the site map, index pages, portal pages, and so on.
They will no doubt copy your site again, but it will do them no good.
P.S. if you want to try an underhanded attack on the people doing this, don't go to a blackhat link spam site. Instead contact the site owners of all the real sites, and offer to help them for free, in making their site copy-proof. If you find anyone who actually paid money, urge them to report the fraud to police. Keep hunting for the people behind this, and when you find them, send a copy of all the official fraud complaints from all over the country to their local police department. That way you keep the moral high ground.
Thanks for letting me know.