Whether your website is just very old and you might have accidentally or intentionally duplicated your own content somewhere on your website or you get your content from a freelancer and you want to make sure that it is completely original, you will periodically want to check your website for duplicate content.
This can protect you from having content that is actually owned by another party on your website, from having your own content stolen and used on another website, and from your own content being duplicated on your own website, which can affect your automotive SEO.
Why is duplicate content a band thing to have on your website?
Mostly because it confuses the search engines.
If the same exact content is found on your website and on another website, Google will not know which website should have the higher rank, and therefore, probably will not rank either.
Instead, it will flag both of the pieces of content and might even remove those pages from the search results altogether, even if the duplicate content is hosted by the same domain (meaning that you’ve copied and pasted content from one part of your website onto another).
There are tools that you can use to autonomously prevent people from stealing your content, including making it impossible to select the text on your website or adding a widget that makes it impossible to copy and paste the content without including a link back to your website.
The truth is, however, that if you write great content that is fully optimized for your automotive SEO campaign, you simply are going to see people trying to steal it and use it on their websites.
Many of these people might never even understand that they are doing something wrong.
They read your content, think it’s great, and think it would work perfectly for their website, too.
Even if their intent is not malicious, the results still will be.
Here’s how to check for duplicated content both on your website and out in the wide expanse of the internet and what you should do about it if you find it:
How to Check for Duplicated Content
While not completely necessary, a tool that automatically checks for duplicate content can be one of the easiest and fastest ways to see if your content has been used either anywhere else on your own website or on someone else’s website.
The most popular of these tools is CopyScape, but there are also a wide variety of free tools that provide you with essentially the same information about your content.
There are two ways that most of these tools can be used.
You can either input your URL and have the tool check your entire website, or you can copy and paste in a piece of content. In either case, the tool will then scour the internet for anywhere else your content might have been used.
One of the benefits of CopyScape is that they show you your content side by side with websites where that content might have been stolen from or stolen by, highlighting the words that are the same.
Most tools will then give you a percentage.
This will either be a percentage of the content that is original or a percentage of the content that has been plagiarized.
A note here about these percentages: If you see that 2% of your content has been plagiarized, you might start to panic, thinking that it is not original and that you are going to be penalized by Google.
The truth is, however, that if there are only so many ways to construct sentences and only so many words that can be used to discuss a topic.
It is likely that you or your freelancer has written a sentence that has a phrase or is in its entirety exactly the same as what another writer has generated.
Your totally original content can have some similarities to another piece of totally original content. This is not a cause for concern.
What is a cause for concern is if more than one sentence, if, instead, entire swaths of the content has been copied.
This is where you really should start to worry and should take action.
What to Do If Your Content Is Duplicate
What you need to do if you find out that your content is not original will depend on your situation.
If you received content from a freelancer, ran it through a plagiarism scan, and found that they lifted the entire thing from a website and delivered it to you, you should remove that content from your website as quickly as possible (and have a discussion with your freelancer).
If, on the other hand, you find that you have the same content in more than one place on your website, you have a few options. You can remove it from one of those places.
You could also add a canonical tag to one, so that Google knows that you only want them to index and rank one of those pieces of content.
If you discover that someone has scraped your content and is using it on their website, you have a few options.
Do not, however, just wait for Google to figure out this issue on their own.
Usually, the algorithm will not take the time to see which piece of content is original and which is the duplicate.
It will just downgrade the ranks of both pieces of content.
The best plan of action is to contact the administer of the website where your content has been posted and ask them to remove it.
If they do not, it is time to file a DCMA complaint.