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Discover How Plagiarism Can Harm Your SEO and Rankings

  • Jessica Day
  • 4 min read
Discover How Plagiarism Can Harm Your SEO and Rankings


If you are a marketing professional or a marketing writer, you know just how crucial it is to create, post, and share fresh content regularly. Whether you are writing about sales techniques or small business phone systems, written content such as blog posts, social media captions, web copy, and more, can boost your brand awareness, engage your audience, and help you sell more.

When it comes to writing content, though, one aspect is essential: originality. Copying someone else’s content – whether intentionally or accidentally – not only is unethical and illegal, but it will also ruin all your hard SEO work. Ultimately, this can destroy your credibility and reputation as a business, and damage your SEO competitiveness.

Are you keen to find out more about the connections between plagiarism and SEO? Keep reading our comprehensive guide below.

Plagiarism (Image Source: Image firstpagesage.com/)

Plagiarism: A Definition

Let’s begin by defining what plagiarism is. When we talk about plagiarism, we refer to the practice of using content created and published by someone else without crediting the original author. Plagiarism extends to all creative areas: from music to visual art, from fashion and video to the written word, and it is no less serious an issue regardless of the field.

In the context of online written content, plagiarism used to be much more widespread than it is now – though this doesn’t, unfortunately, mean that it has disappeared entirely. Search engines have gradually and steadily become much more sophisticated at identifying duplicated and plagiarized content, and they are now penalizing users who follow this practice.

Plagiarism and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

As a marketing professional, you are almost certainly familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In fact, you might even be in charge of creating your company’s SEO strategy, which is aimed at boosting your website’s ranking on google searches and attracting more relevant traffic, and potential customers, to your pages.

For a SEO strategy to be successful, it’s vital that all your published content is not affected by things that can damage your rankings. And guess what? One of the worst offenders is plagiarism.

Once your plagiarized content has been spotted by search engines, you will immediately be hit by a penalty. This, in turn, causes your rankings to drop, hurting your business in a range of ways – and causing your seo cost to spike. Not to mention any possible legal ramifications.

Google, for example, is well known for rewarding high-quality, original content by pushing it to the top of its SERPs. If your content is deemed as copied or plagiarized, the opposite will happen. But there’s more.

With plagiarism, not only do you receive punishments from search engines, but you also lose the trust and loyalty of your audience. Simply put, people will no longer want to read your content or visit your web pages. This, ultimately, hurts your rankings and CSAT data even further, jeopardizing all your SEO efforts and your overall SEO strategy.

Plagiarism and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (Image Source: Unsplash)

What Can You Do? Best Practices to Avoid Plagiarism

Avoiding plagiarism is not only essential, if you want your SEO strategy to work and your audience to trust you, but it is also easy to achieve. Read on to discover some of the best practices that you should implement whenever you create a new piece of writing for any of your online outlets.

Double-Check and Proofread Your Content

The first action to take before hitting “publish” on a new piece of content is, of course, to review it. Remember, in fact, that plagiarism also includes self-plagiarism – the (often) accidental practice of copying and posting your own previous work, but claiming it’s an original piece.

Therefore, make sure that you invest enough time in carrying out all the necessary checks to protect your content from any copying or self-copying issues. Check the content for readability, grammar, structure, and keywords. If anything sounds repetitive or unoriginal, flag it up and make sure you get to the bottom of it before making your article public.

Be Original Every Time

This can be particularly tricky if, for example, you write product descriptions for an online store. In these cases, it’s easy to use the exact same content for items that only differ in, let’s say, color or fit.

However, it’s crucial to try and be original in each and every description. Be creative and add something unique to every piece, whether it be talking about what mood that specific color might suit, or how you can wear that item.

Be Original Every Time (Image Source: Unsplash)

Pay Attention to Your Meta Information

Meta information is another essential aspect to consider when ensuring that you do not fall into the trap of plagiarism. While, of course, you’ll want to use popular and high-ranking keywords, you need to be wary of copying the exact strings of words from other websites.

Once again, investing in creativity and originality pays off. Search engines, in fact, take your meta information and compare it to the rest of your website, running an analysis that determines whether or not the data is relevant and unique. If it does, you’re good to go, but if it doesn’t, you might get penalized.

Use Plagiarism Checkers Regularly

Earlier we mentioned that plagiarism of online content is no longer as widespread as it used to be a few decades ago. Do you know why? We have online plagiarism checkers to thank.

Platforms like Copyscape and Grammarly, for example, help content creators ensure that their written text is always fresh and unique. All you need to do is simply input the text that you have written into the platform, and you will be alerted to any potential similarities – or full-blown plagiarism – to other pages.

This way, you can make sure that every piece of content that you go on to publish remains original and plagiarism-free, protecting your SEO efforts and delivering something valuable to your audience every time.

Use Plagiarism Checkers Regularly (Image Source: Unsplash)

Protect Your SEO with Original, Plagiarism-Free Content

Creating and publishing online content that is free from all types of plagiarism – including self-plagiarism and accidental copying – is paramount if you want your SEO strategy to work. This is because search engines are trained to spot unoriginal content, and they will hit with a penalty those websites that make use of it.

Being creative might require a bigger effort compared to simply copying and pasting content that someone else has already written. The payoff, though, is what really counts: higher rankings, better visibility, and a loyal audience that loves to read and share your content.

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Jessica Day

Jessica Day

is the Senior Director for Marketing Strategy at Dialpad, a modern business communications platform that takes every kind of conversation to the next level—turning conversations into opportunities. Jessica is an expert in collaborating with multifunctional teams to execute and optimize marketing efforts, for both company and client campaigns.

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