The first thing that bloggers want to avoid on their blog or website is plagiarism.
But, What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism itself is a very broad term that has lots of criteria and conditions, but in the end, it means copied content.
When you copy word by word from someone else’s content that is available on the web and use that content for your convenience, on your own blog, that is called plagiarism.
The first rule of writing or having a blog is to have 100% unique content, free from plagiarism.
However, even though bloggers and website owners take every necessary step to avoid plagiarism, it cannot be completely avoided.
A lot of websites and blogs take guest posts or outsource their article requirements to other freelance writers, who are in it probably, for some quick money. So they resort to plagiarism to get their work done faster.
There are many ways to avoid plagiarism and this article is all about that. But for that, you first need to understand what exactly is plagiarism and the different forms of plagiarism.
What are the Different Forms of Plagiarism?
As already said, plagiarism is a broad word. It has a lot of forms, and sometimes even unintentional. Let’s see what the different forms of plagiarism are.
1. Complete plagiarism or content scraping:
This is the most obvious form of plagiarism.
When writers take down entire articles from somewhere else on the web and republish them word by word on their own website, it is called content scraping.
It further adds on, the one who is copying does not take permission from the original source or give due credits to the source. If this becomes a continuous habit, your website might be blocked permanently.
2. Partial plagiarism or spun content:
Spun content is still plagiarism, but partially. this means that a writer copies an article from the web, changes about half of the content by replacing it with few new words and then passes it off as his own creation.
This is the most common form of plagiarism that lazy writers resort to. Just replacing a few words on a copied content, does not make it new or unique content.
3. Lazy plagiarism:
Lazy plagiarism is when a writer copies the basic idea of his article from somewhere else on the web, and then copies and pastes relevant content from a number of sources, without permission or without giving them credit.
It definitely requires effort and time, but still is not original or unique content. This is still plagiarism.
People might think that plagiarism and copyright infringement is the same because both violate the unique factor of someone else’s work. But there is a slight difference.
How is Plagiarism Different from Copyright Infringement?
The basic idea of both the concepts is the same, that is, stealing content from somewhere else. So, even though the idea is similar, they are not the same.
Copyright infringement is when someone copies a material that has been copyrighted and is protected legally. So, copyright infringement is a legal matter.
Also, if you copy the material that is non-copyrighted and belongs to the public domain, it won’t be considered as infringement and legal actions cannot be taken.
On the other hand, plagiarism is more concerned with not giving due credits to the original source. It is more about not following ethics and is an academic issue, unlike infringement.
Plagiarism does not lead to legal actions. The punishment for plagiarism depends on the organization. The maximum they can do is put down the content and ban the writer from writing further articles for that organization.
However, if someone resorts to partial or lazy plagiarism, with giving due credits to all the original sources, the content does not need to be taken down.
Why Should Plagiarism Be Avoided?
If you are a blogger or a writer, you will probably know why plagiarism is so looked down upon.
However, new writers or people who are not very familiar with the concept of plagiarism should know why to avoid it. Here are a few reasons why every blogger dreads plagiarism.
- Every brand or blog wants to provide unique content to their readers. If a reader finds the same content on your site that he found on some other site, he would be confused and wouldn’t want to read it. So plagiarism will lead to a substantial decrease in traffic.
- Secondly, every website or blog wants to build its own goodwill and reputation in the market. If readers find that your website has nothing new to offer, why will they read your content at all? Plagiarism will lead to a bad name in the market.
- Google has a thing against plagiarism like all of us. If it finds or detects any plagiarized content, it will penalize the website and might even block the website if it finds that it is a regular habit.
- Lastly, when you establish someone else’s work as your own, it negates all the hard work and effort that the original writer has put in to write that article. That is quite unethical, to say the least.
Ways to Avoid Plagiarism on your Website or Blog?
Here we come to the most important part of the discussion. There are a few ways to avoid plagiarism at all cost and keep your content 100% unique. Here’s what you can do.
1. Take enough time and manage it well:
Time management does play an important role in avoiding plagiarism.
What a lot of writers do is that they feel it is easier to just copy and paste content when there is a strict deadline. Which is why it is very important to plan your time quite ahead even before you start writing.
You might have only a couple of hours to finish a piece, but you can still make the most of it if you plan it well. So, take your time, build a nice article without panicking and double check it before you submit it or publish it.
2. Keep a note of all the sources:
Even when you are adapting someone else’s content to your own article, in your own style, of course, do not forget to mention the sources.
There might be a lot of sources from where you have done your research and it might get difficult for you to keep a track of all the sources.
The easiest way to make sure that you do not miss out even a single source is that copy paste the URL of that source into the rough draft of the article that you are writing.
Later when you are checking and editing your own article, just add it properly and give the due credit where it should go. This way you will not lose track of all the URLs of the sources from which you have taken the idea for your content.
3. Keep your research broad and from a lot of sources:
When you are writing something that needs research, always do your research from as many sources as you can.
Even if you get all the required details and facts from one source and you feel that is enough, you should still go to other sites and read as much as you can.
What happens when you keep your research limited to just one source is that, you tend to pick up the same sentence structure and the same ideas as that source. This is unintentional plagiarism, but it is still plagiarism.
When you read and research content from multiple sources, your horizon of vocabulary expands and the chances of plagiarism are less.
4. Use quotes from famous people:
This is beneficial in many ways. Firstly, it adds a personal and creative touch to your article, no matter what you are writing. When you use a quote in between long stretches of technical text, readers can connect better.
Secondly, using quotes in your article helps you reach the word limit sooner. A lot of times when the word limit of an article is more, writers tend to drag the content and it becomes repetitive.
Using a quote helps avoid monotony. And most importantly, using a quote is not even plagiarism.
You can use someone else’s words and serve the purpose without even being accused of plagiarism. But do not forget to name the person whose quote you are using.
5. Give proper credits and mention sources:
You might not even understand but you tend to pick up words and phrases from the site, that you read a certain article while in the research phase.
So it is best that whatever sites you research from, use all their links in your story. That frees you from the charges of plagiarism as a writer.
6. If you are taking articles from guest bloggers, do your own checking:
A lot of times websites take in content from guest bloggers and pay them a commission for that.
Guest bloggers pitch in ideas and write stories or submit already written stories to the website. A lot of times, this is mostly scraped content or spun content.
So, check and recheck the piece as many times as you can before you publish it. There are many plagiarism checker tools available that you can use to check the uniqueness of the submitted content.
What Are The Various Online Tools To Check For Plagiarism?
When you copy and paste your content on Copyscape, it will search the entire web to find other websites that contain similar content to the one you posted.
It will then show the URLs of all the sites from where your content has been copied.
It has a premium version too that works better and more effectively and even lets you check your own article for the originality of the content.
2. Google Alerts:
You can use the services of Google Alerts to check if there is any content out there that is similar to the one you are checking for.
You can provide Google Alert with a certain part of your article or the entire article, and then it will ask you what kind of websites do you want to search for similar content on.
The results will be directly mailed to you on your email id.
3. Trackback Notifications:
You can access Trackback Notifications if your website or blog is built on WordPress.
This tool works by linking your website to another website. If you see that some site is being linked to your website quite frequently, you will know that there are chances of your content being copied and plagiarized.
This link is manually created by the person who is linking to your website.
4. Small SEO Tools:
You can use this tool for an intense and in-depth checking of plagiarism. This tool has its own plagiarism checker. But the only drawback is that you cannot put in more than 1000 words in the search.
How this works is quite interesting. It scans your article (per 1000 words) and displays bits and parts of your article if they see the exact same words being used somewhere else.
When you click on the text display that the tool shows you, it will redirect you to the Google search results page and there you can see where that particular bit was copied from.
To conclude, you know that plagiarism is an inevitable part of the web world. You can take measures to avoid it, but it is still present everywhere. Most of it might be unintentional though.
With millions and millions of blog posts being published on the internet every day, there are high chances that lots of facts or phrases or even sentences might be the same.
You cannot avoid this overlapping of information. That is why it is best to get your own article checked on the various plagiarism checker tools that are available. Also, do not forget to mention the sources from where you researched. These two steps will help you go a long way, in avoiding plagiarism on your site.
Happy writing to you!