Is Your Website Guilty of Plagiarism in Google’s View?

By Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer

Red computer key with "Copy / Paste" text on itRecently, it happened again. We discovered one website that published a content match of a competitive website. We see this nearly every day, but this particular incident was extraordinary. The two websites used exactly the same words, content and design. Is this similar or “overlapping” content, or is one of these websites guilty of plagiarism in Google’s view?

But wait. The story gets worse as the answer unfolds. On this day, we found dozens of websites with cookie-cutter content. There were more than 40 competitive sites when we stopped counting. The content matchup was more than incidental, and definitely not accidental.

Search engines scour the web daily. When Google discovers two or more websites publishing the same material, it negatively impacts your ranking in search results. In some instances, it is possible that publishing duplicate text is unintentional. But this could also have legal consequences.

The trouble with duplicate content…

As smart as they are, search engines don’t know what to do when they find the same material on more that one website. For one thing, Google (or other search engines for that matter), don’t know which version is the original and which is the copy.

Consequently, they don’t know which website to trust. An Internet visitor is also confused. They can’t identify an authoritative resource. They are either confused or search elsewhere. Duplicate content sabotages your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. It causes lower page ranking, and worst of all, a loss in visitor traffic.

And plagiarism is worse…

By definition, plagiarism is worse. This is where the content of another author is stolen and/or wrongfully represented as someone’s own (original) material. This isn’t legal advice, but stolen material is intellectual property infringement. Websites lose visitors without fresh, authentic and original content.

How to detect duplicate content and plagiarism in Google’s view…

You may not know it, but in the eyes of Google, your website could be guilty. Most often, we discover duplicate content and plagiarism problems in “low cost” websites. Inexpensive—often templated—websites have a deceptive appeal. The low price tag is attractive to many people.

It’s a self-defeating situation. The website buyer is paying for SEO visibility, but the duplicate content of a cheap website violates SEO good practices. Buyer beware; you get what you pay for.

Fortunately, there are several online tools that duplicate content in your Internet presence. Copyscape is a free plagiarism checker and duplicate content detection software. By entering your URL, Copyscape scans the entire web checking for plagiarism and reporting any duplicate content pages.

Plagiarism is illegal, unethical and bad for business. Buying into an inexpensive–template or DIY–website often means buying into duplicate content problems. And the penalty is the opposite of good Search Engine Optimization…your website listing disappears from view.

Buying into SEO trouble…

Your best course is to avoid using a “bargain-priced” website.Get professional guidance and insight in creating an authentic, original and unique website. Invest in effective SEO techniques that give your website visibility.

If your website is guilty of plagiarism in Google’s view, the consequences can be severe. Unoriginal content means ineffective SEO, crummy page ranking, poor online visibility and virtually no new business.

If you’d like to get your website to safe, solid and effective high ground, please give us a call at 800-656-0907. We’ll provide a complimentary website SEO report or marketing assessment.

Stewart Gandolf
Chief Executive Officer at Healthcare Success
Stewart Gandolf, MBA, is Chief Executive Officer of Healthcare Success, one of the nation's leading healthcare and digital marketing agencies. Over the past 20 years, Stewart has marketed and consulted for over 1,000 healthcare clients, ranging from practices and hospitals to multi-billion dollar corporations. A frequent speaker, Stewart has shared his expertise at over 200 venues nationwide. As an author and expert resource, Stewart has also written for many leading industry publications, including the 21,000 subscriber Healthcare Success Insight blog. Stewart also co-authored, "Cash-Pay Healthcare: Start, Grow & Perfect Your Cash-Pay Healthcare Business." Stewart began his career with leading advertising agencies, including J. Walter Thompson, where he marketed Fortune 500 clients such as Wells Fargo and Bally's Total Fitness.

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