There are so many factors that can impact your rankings on Google. One of biggest factors is your website copy. I’ve been given tons of copy from various professionals, over the years, to be published to their webpages or their blog posts. I wish I could say that all this content was original, but unfortunately people often provide copy that makes Google unhappy. Google holds plagiarism to a much higher standard than many humans do.
What is plagiarized copy? Here’s the simple answer: If someone, somewhere, has written something and then you take that copy and use it as your own, that’s plagiarized copy. Even if you make a few little changes, it’s still plagiarism. Now, in case you haven’t noticed, Google is super smart. It’s algorithms (brain) are able to detect duplicate copy. If you’re the one using duplicate copy on your website, then that could be problematic for you.
Plenty of good people unintentionally plagiarize. That doesn’t make them bad people. But Google doesn’t care about the honorable intentions of you or anyone else. It cares about what it sees. You should ask yourself what Google see when it looks at your website. Here are some examples of how professionals, maybe even you, sometime make the plagiarism mistake. Both of these mistakes can have a negative impact on your website rankings, even contributing to having your website banned by Google.
My Company Owns This Copy
There are companies out there who will write really great original copy for their website. Then, as they grow, their franchisees decide they need websites as well. It’s probably a good idea for them to have websites, but it goes bad when the franchisee copies and pastes copy from the franchiser website. Yeah, they are all part of the same company, and want each other to be successful online, but sharing the same web copy is plagiarism, as far as Google is concerned. Google knows who published the content first, and anyone who comes afterwards is pegged as creating duplicated content. That’s a bad thing if you’re trying to rank well on the search engines. If the new franchisee is going to build a website and wants to have good search engine optimization for their website, they need to make sure their content is original. Borrowing copy from the corporate website isn’t a good short cut. Rather, it a way of telling Google that you’re stealing someone else’s copy and passing it off as your own. That’s not good. If you want to succeed, take some extra time and do a good job with your copy.
I Cited the Original Source, So It’s Okay
No, it’s not okay. Legally, you’re covered because you cited the original source, so good job to you! Some people steal copy without citing the original source, and those people risk serious legal problems. Even if you’re giving credit where credit is due, that doesn’t mean Google knows you cited the original source. Citing your copy is good, because that means you don’t have to worry about getting in trouble with the law. However, Google is analyzing the actual text on your website or blog, and it doesn’t matter if the copy you have provides a link and credit to the original source. If Google sees something duplicated, it’s pegged as plagiarized.
Have you noticed that some news sources out there are big about blog curation and will share blog posts from other blog websites in their industry? After reading what I said about plagiarism, you may wonder how these sites can be so successful while constantly sharing duplicated web copy on their own websites, all under the name of “curation.” If they can do it, why can’t you? That’s a really great question. In my next blog post, I’ll answer that question. In the meantime, take a look at your own website and see if you have plagiarized copy. If you do, fix it ASAP! I say that for your own good. If you don’t have duplicated copy, good job. Keep up the great work and don’t start producing duplicate content.
I said you should check your website for plagiarized copy. How in the world are you supposed to do that. It’s not like you can go to every website out there and compare your copy with the copy on that website. Go to this website to see if your website has any plagiarized copy. This tool will make your life much easier. Since using that tool will save time on checking for duplicate copy on your website, perhaps you can take a second to share this blog post through your social media? That would be awesome!