How to Check that Content Is Original
Everyone’s online presence, from blogs to websites to Facebook pages, represents them. Any online medium, even short tweets, is similar to an internet ambassador. As the world of a network grows, your website or social media becomes the face that embodies you or your company, the easiest place to learn about what you have to offer. If you want to keep people interested and coming back for more, then you need to provide them with fresh, original content on a consistent basis.
However, sometimes it’s difficult to spare the time to write several articles a day, even a week. When a company outsources, they hire content writers to be their online voice. While there is no problem with the majority of content writers, some writers can plagiarize and give your website or blog a bad name, turning your loyal followers against you. How can you protect your site against plagiarism and make sure all the articles are original?
Why You Need Original Content
When you provide fresh content, it should inspire people, make them think, and ultimately make them want more, which in turn builds your readership. If you are constantly updating and informing your readers of new content, people will link to your page. Just as you may reference a website in your blog, if you provide new relevant information, share an unusual stance on a topic, or explain something in an original way, people will link your page as a source. This increases your website’s reputation as an authority.
Another big reason original content is important is it boosts your search engine rankings. The more you update your site, the more a search engine will visit and re-evaluate your website’s rankings. While a search engine’s frequent indexing isn’t enough to make your site rank higher, using quality keywords in your content, getting comments on your articles, updating your site with fresh content, and forums will help your position on the index. Keep in mind that while keywords are important, quality content is more important. Writing an article around a set of keywords won’t help your site’s ranking. Instead, you should provide articles for the readers.
Plagiarism is the literary form of stealing. In its most simplistic form, plagiarism is passing off someone else’s ideas as your own without giving any credit to the source. While in the academic world plagiarism is taken extremely seriously, the professional world has a few blurry spots, especially now with how much information can be accessed online. However, even posting images, videos, or music without crediting the original creator is plagiarism.
Plagiarism is not only bad for your online reputation. Copying other’s writing creates duplicate content that will lower your search engine rankings
. This also goes the other way. When you have original work that is plagiarized somewhere else, it can also hurt your site’s traffic. Protect your site using copyright laws. A piece that has been created is copyrighted as soon as it is fixed into a concrete medium, meaning your work is copyrighted the moment you hit “save,” “post,” or “publish.”
How Are Research and Plagiarism Different?
The biggest differences between research and plagiarism are referencing your source and originality. In the academic, scientific, technical, or some other professional world, research, quoting others, and footnoted references are expected. However, in consumer publications, quotes tend to be looked down upon. In that case, more background research material is expected. This can be referenced in the article or as a list for an editor to use when fact-checking.
With background researching, it is important to note that if the same information is available from multiple sources, there is no need to reference all the sources. The key idea is to make sure your article is original. This means using research to back up your ideas and point and not rewriting another person’s ideas.
Checking a Copy for Originality
The first step in checking for originality is to fact-check and verify the article's sources. A form of plagiarism that is becoming more common is called patchwriting. Patchwriting is taking an article and rewriting without adding original ideas. The danger of patchwriting is it can slip past a computerized plagiarism checker, but a human reading the two articles side-by-side can tell.
That being said, online plagiarism checkers are great resources for both content buyers and content writers. Two favorite checkers include Copyscape and Content Plagiarism Checker. While you do have to pay a small price to check, they are quick, easy, and professional sites. Plagiarisma is a free service that searches through Google and Yahoo while showing the number of matches phrases. Grammarly is another tool that can be used free or a paid premium service. Grammarly can check both for plagiarism and for grammar issues, an ability that is extremely handy for freelance writers.
The Bottom Line of Original Content
The bottom line is fairly simple; use common sense. If you hire a writer, don’t just publish whatever they write for you. Be vigilant in checking the article over for any red flags and putting it through a plagiarism checker. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you still have an article if you take out all the quotes and research. If there is no new or original thought from the author, it might be time for a rewrite. Providing clear guidelines and outlines for your content writers will help ensure better writing, but also spending the money
for quality writers. You get what you pay for as you do with most things.
Whatever article you receive, whether it is original or not, it should embody your online voice. It doesn’t matter if the writing is elegant and fresh. When an article doesn’t fit your brand and deliver your message, it isn’t right for your blog and it’s time to rewrite. If you follow these tips, providing fresh content for your readers will be easy and you’ll be well on your way to a great website.