• Learn SEO

Does plagiarism matter in SEO ranking?

  • Felix Rose-Collins
  • 3 min read
Does plagiarism matter in SEO ranking?


It's no secret that plagiarism is a big no-no in the world of academia. But what about when it comes to SEO? Does plagiarism matter in SEO ranking?

The short answer is yes, plagiarism does matter when it comes to SEO ranking. Google and other search engines consider the originality of content when determining where to rank a website.

So, if you're copying someone else's content, you're not going to rank as highly as you would if you had original content.

That being said, plagiarism is a big red flag for SEO, and it's no surprise that Google has been penalizing websites for it since 2011 with the “Panda” update. In this article, we’ll be explaining why plagiarism should be considered in SEO ranking and our source information will remain Google’s official blogs and representatives throughout the blog.

What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism is the unauthorized use of someone else's work. This can include copying and pasting text from a website, taking ideas from another person without giving them credit, or hiring someone to write content for you that is not original.

While plagiarism may not seem like a big deal, it can actually have serious consequences. This is because when you plagiarize, you are stealing someone else's hard work and intellectual property. This can lead to legal action being taken against you, as well as damage to your reputation.

Does Google consider plagiarism okay in SEO in 2022?

The short answer is it depends. There are instances where plagiarism can actually hurt your SEO ranking, but there are also times when it won't make much of a difference. It really all comes down to the context and how Google perceives the copied content.

Here's the best example to understand the above statement:

John Muller was asked a question "why plagiarized content is ranking than our original content?"

John Muller explained first how the original content publisher can take legal action through DMCA. He continued to explain why sometimes plagiarized content can outrank the original content. Here’s his answer:

“From my point of view, it’s something that we can determine to a large extent.

But even if we know which one is the original and which one is the copy, sometimes it makes sense to show a copy in the search results.

So that’s something where it’s like it can happen.

And one of the situations where I have seen this happen consistently is if a website is of lower quality overall, where when our systems look at it they’re like, well we can’t really trust this website.

But if a higher quality website were to take some of this content and publish it, we would say, well we know more about this website and actually, maybe we should show this content in the search results.

That’s also one of the situations that you might be running into where maybe it’s worthwhile to also invest in improving the quality of your website overall.

So not just that one article that apparently people like. But also the rest of your website overall.”

You can watch the video at 11 minutes mark to listen to his answer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGP1bl_HLu0

At the end of the day, the best approach is to just create original content whenever possible. But if you do need to borrow from other sources, make sure you do it in a way that won't get you penalized by Google. Or better, you check the originality of your content by using the plagiarism checker. A plagiarism checker tool helps you detect all types of plagiarism so that you stay away from Google penalties and other repercussions.

Does it mean you can publish plagiarized articles and rank them every time?


Despite John Muller’s answer on outranking original content, he himself discourages plagiarism.

Here’s another response where a Twitter user asked him about the “Accepted plagiarism percentage”.

"@JohnMu is there any specific percentage of plagiarism that is acceptable in content some people says 5 to 10 percent is acceptable. How true is it? Are there any specific guidelines regarding plagiarism"

This is how he responded:

Acceptable by whom? Why not aim for none?

Acceptable by whom? Why not aim for none?

When search engines index content, they compare it against other content on the web to determine its originality. If they find that your content is copied from another source, they will likely lower your ranking as a result. This is because Google can determine which content is originally published and which one is copied.

A typical approach to make your content sound original and unique is paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is a technique of taking ideas from other authors as inspiration and regenerating something new. To help yourself in restating already written content, the paraphrasing tool might be a great solution.


There is a lot of debate surrounding the topic of plagiarism and its effects on SEO ranking. While there are some who believe that plagiarism does not matter, the reality is that it can have a negative impact on your website's ranking.

If you are caught plagiarizing content, your website could be penalized by Google, which could lead to a decrease in traffic and potential customers. Therefore, it is important to avoid plagiarizing content and to make sure that all of the content on your website is original.

Felix Rose-Collins

Felix Rose-Collins

is the Co-founder of Ranktracker, With over 10 years SEO Experience . He's in charge of all content on the SEO Guide & Blog, you will also find him managing the support chat on the Ranktracker App.

Try Ranktracker for FREE