This is something that many people who write content worry about.
Writing content is going to be a huge part of your automotive SEO campaign, and if your website is found to have plagiarized content on it, you are going to earn a flag from search engines.
All search engines frown on duplicated content, but is it possible you might have duplicated content on your website and not even know it?
There are two situations in which this might be the case.
First, you have somehow strung together the exact same words in the exact same order that another person somewhere on the internet already has.
While unlikely, it is not impossible.
A phrase or two that is exactly the same as phrases in another piece of content is not going to earn you a flag.
There are only so many words and so many ways they can be arranged into sentences.
Second, if you employ a ghostwriter or a content writer to create your content for you, it is possible that an unscrupulous freelancer might just copy and paste content for you, hoping that you will not check its originality before posting it to your website.
You can also plagiarize yourself, something that too few people realize.
If you use the exact same content on more than one page (for example, if you have multiple landing pages and you use the exact same content on them, only swapping out keywords or location names, this could be branded as duplicated or copied content, even if it is actually original to your website.
Are there different degrees of plagiarism?
If you were to look at the amount of content on the internet, you would probably be surprised by how much of it has been copied and pasted from one source to another.
A lot of plagiarism is direct.
This is the type of plagiarism that is going to get your automotive SEO campaign in trouble with Google and probably the most hated among writers, especially because some people actually do this copying and pasting, truly believing that they are not doing anything wrong.
It’s actually a widely held belief by anyone who has no familiarity with copyright law, that if something is not explicitly denoted as being copyrighted, that it is free for the taking.
That’s just not true.
One of the most common types of plagiarism is simply cutting a piece of writing from one website and pasting it onto your website.
Some people will combine clips from several different websites, mistakenly believing that this Frankenstein’s monster type of content will not earn them a flag on Google, even though it totally will. Even if you weave different copied and pasted sentences together, search engines are still going to see that that content is not completely original.
It is possible to accidentally plagiarize something, especially to plagiarize yourself, simply because those who write fall into patterns and usually stick to one specific style.
Over time, as they write more and more, they mind find that they have written nearly identical paragraphs about two topics that are pretty similar, even years apart.
This is probably not something that you really need to worry too much about.
Is all duplicate content bad?
With so much being said online about how dangerous duplicate content is and how difficult it is to recover from this kind of flag on the search engines, most people will avoid duplicate content like the plague.
And this is usually a good thing.
The practice of copying and pasting your own content onto several different pages is a bad idea and it is not really useful for your readers.
And this is the crux of the entire topic and why search engines fight so vehemently against plagiarism and against duplicate content: it is not useful for readers.
Search engines want only the most relevant, the most topical, the most thoroughly research information to present to their searchers.
Link after link of the exact same content (not just the same topic, but the exact same words) helps no one.
That said, there are types of duplicate content that are perfectly fine.
If you handle your duplicated content carefully, including citing the source or specifically tagging content that you are using more than once on your website, so that Google disregards the duplications, there are ways that you can use words you have already written or that were written by someone else on your website without having to worry about getting dinged for it.
What do I do if someone plagiarizes me?
Simply being aware that plagiarism is a serious offense when it comes to automotive SEO should help you avoid doing it.
But what can you do if you find not that you have copied content on your website but that someone else has copied your content?
This is something about which you should be diligent.
Thieves can actually take your content and then use it to outrank you, especially because you can actually be penalized when someone else steals your work. Google’s algorithm is just that, an algorithm.
It is not always perfectly able to figure out which content came first, who is the original creator of the content, and who therefore, deserves to be pinged.
Sometimes it takes its wrath out on the wrong party.
What can you do?
Regularly search your content to make sure that no one has ripped you off.
If you find that they have, file a complaint with that website’s webmaster.
If your website is flagged, use the tools provided by the search engine to prove that the content is yours, so the flag can be removed.