Duplicate content is not a topic I usually talk about with my website clients. Perhaps it’s because of my academic background and the fear of being accused of plagiarism that my professors drilled into me.
I presume small business owners know they shouldn’t put content on their websites that they didn’t create themselves, but recently, I realized this was an incorrect assumption. And like I usually do when something surprises me, I write a blog article about it ðŸ™‚
What is duplicate content? For this post, I use “duplicate content” to mean textual content that is found elsewhere on the internet, either in other pages on your own website, or on the pages of other people’s websites.
What Does Google Say About Duplicate Content? You can read about what Google says about duplicate content here. While there some debate in the online world whether having duplicate content will actually cause search engines, like Google, to penalize your website’s rankings, there is agreement that it’s a bad practice.
Can I use quotations? It’s fine if you comment on other people’s content and include quotations – this happens in blogs all the time. But if you’re copy and pasting (with or without citing) large blocks of content from other people’s websites, this is not only unethical (you might be violating copyright laws), but it also won’t substantially help you get more traffic via search engine rankings – because search engines are smart, and they can tell unique content from duplicate content.
How Would You Feel If Someone Stole Your Content? The practice of using other people’s content for your own website content rather than writing content yourself, is called “scraping“. And there are even companies who now specialize in helping you determine if your website content has been “scraped” or copied verbatim on some else’s website: Check out Copyscape.com.
Create Your Own, Unique Website Content. To avoid being penalized by search engines for duplicate content, or getting into trouble with copyright violation – do the right thing and create your own unique content. If you don’t like to write, you can hire a copywriter to do this for you, but don’t steal content from other websites – it’s a losing game.Jill
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.