Plagiarism is a growing problem on the internet, especially with everyone wanting more and more content for websites, emails and social media marketing. Content marketing rules, meaning there is a great deal of demand for fresh content for websites, blogs, emails, videos and of course social media. This invariably leads certain people to try to cut corners by copying and pasting articles that they see online and trying to pass the work off as their own or worse still selling it to others as if it was their own.
Legal and Marketing Issues
This can obviously create a number of issues for businesses in terms of legality, and search engine rules and regulations. It is illegal to copy anything that you find on the internet without express permission of the owner. There are Creative Commons licenses for certain content, which allows you to reprint material, but it should usually have a link back to the original site and a byline that indicates it was written by someone else. You should never pass other peoples work off as your own.
You can copy and paste, or you can embed an RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication) so that your website is up to date with other peoples content. However, it should be clear the content is not you own, but rather, coming from another source.
The biggest issue with reprints is you really won’t get credit for them, the search engines such as Google penalizes websites for duplicate content. If you are going to reprint Creative Commons material, you should set up the page to be “No index, no follow”. The search engine will not penalize you, but nor will you get any search engine optimization (SEO) credit, and therefore no free traffic to that page. However, your audience members will be able to see it, and you can send people to the page via social media marketing, etc.
If you do reprint, try to add some value, such as a paragraph or two giving your own opinions about the subject matter… after all your audience members want to get to know you.
If you grab the content from somewhere else without any commentary or attribution and the search engines spot it, you will not only be punished for it, you might actually also be causing the original author of that content to be punished as well, because Google might not be sure who is copying whom.
This is clearly unfair, and of course completely avoidable.
The first way to ensure that your content is not plagiarized is of course to write it yourself from scratch. By writing, we mean typing on a keyboard. You can also dictate it via voice recognition software – great for people who don’t type quickly. Speak the content, then polish it and post it online.
If you aren’t a great a writer, you might be tempted to use a ghostwriter – that is, someone who will create the content for you, but allow you to put your name on it as if you were the author. The trouble is that some people can be very unscrupulous when it comes to content creation. They might be plagiarizing the work. They might also write the same content for other people and then sell it multiple times, which means you would incur a duplicate content penalty.
You should not accept this, and you should make it clear that any content you receive from them must be original, and mention that you will check it using a plagiarism checker..
It’s really not that difficult to create good content once you know how… it’s just writing when all is said and done and we can all do that. There’s no need for plagiarism… and remember the more your write and create content the easier it becomes.