The risks of using duplicate content online

Writing content for the Web is dramatically different from writing content for a printed publication or for academic purposes, not only in terms of style, but also in terms of what is perceived as good or bad practices. One of the best examples in this regard and one of the biggest content issues for that matter, is duplicate content. Many people don’t understand why it is dangerous and, sometimes without knowing it, they ruin months’ worth of marketing effort by posting plagiarized content on their sites. When writing for a printed publication, you can use a high percentage of quotes or you can use someone else’s work entirely without any problems, but in the online world this are different. Google does not take plagiarized content lightly and you should avoid being flagged as much as possible. Tools like help you avoid the repercussions, but first, here is what you should know about the issue.

What is duplicate content?

Duplicate content is simply a block of text that has been copied from somewhere else, usually from another site. Many webmasters find it hard to produce high quality, persuasive content, so they just copy and paste from other sources, without knowing that there are penalties for this. For example, if you want to publish a blog article and you just use something that you found elsewhere, that is plagiarism. Also, if you write an original article, but post the exact same version of it on 100 other websites, it can also be considered plagiarism.

Why should you avoid using duplicate content?

Duplicate content is a major issue, especially in SEO and content marketing. Google penalizes those who use this practice and have talked openly about it many times. If you are flagged for plagiarized content, then your pages will be excluded from search results, which is completely the opposite of what you are trying to achieve. The worrying news is that Google penalties have become harsher and harsher with every update and they can affect you in the long run, even after you have taken down the copied text. Some say that penalties don’t exist, but they do, and you shouldn’t risk the future of your website.

What can you do to get original text?

There are several ways in which you can get original content and avoid penalties. The first and most obvious one is of course publishing only 100% original content. However, not all webmasters can handle the task. If you’re not a particularly gifted writer or cannot afford to pay a professional content writer, things will be more difficult for you. Do not attempt to use spinning software or automatic translations. Apart from the fact that these two methods are extremely obsolete, they deliver poor user experience. The end result, though original, will be very difficult to read and low quality. So, even if Google will not penalize you for plagiarizing, visitors will not like you at all and will hesitate to work with you. An excellent option are online tools that change characters in such a way that the text looks the same, but appears unique to search engines.


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