Plagiarism in Blogging: All You Need to Know

Search Engine Optimization

Plagiarism in Blogging: All You Need to Know

02/19/2022 5:30 PM by Margot.C in Digital marketing, blogging

Plagiarism is a huge problem in the blogging world. Many people don't understand what it is and end up plagiarizing unintentionally. Other bloggers just do it because it is easier. Indeed, it can be tempting to copy someone else's work and call it your own, but this can have serious consequences for your website.

In this article, we will discuss what plagiarism is, what you risk by doing it, and how to protect yourself from plagiarists. We will also discuss how to avoid copying others yourself when writing a blog post. Follow these tips and you will be safe from plagiarism!



What Is Plagiarism in Blogging?

In blogging, plagiarism is the act of copying someone else's work and claiming it as your own. Bloggers who plagiarize others' content often do so because it's easier than coming up with their own ideas and writing them out in a way that makes sense to readers. In some cases, plagiarism isn't even intentional, but that doesn't make it any less serious.

For example, if you found an interesting article on the internet and ¨borrow¨ some content but didn't credit the original author or ask for permission, then that would be plagiarism. If you copied someone's words word-for-word without the use of quotation marks and without giving credit to the author, that would also be plagiarism.

Note that we are not only talking about texts here, but also images, videos, and any other type of content that would be stolen from its rightful creator or owner.

Can You Plagiarize a Website?

The short answer to this question is no. However, it is a bit more complex than that...

1.     How Much plagiarism is too much?

It all depends on how much content is considered ¨plagiarized¨. To measure the level of plagiarism, checkers use various online detection tools such as Turnitin, Grammarly plagiarism checker, and Copyscape.

Generally speaking, if you plagiarize less than 10% of the text, it won't matter much as long as you give attribution. There is nothing wrong with quoting someone more knowledgeable than you in your article if you make it clear who is the original source of the quote and you get permission. In fact, the author might be grateful to you if you add a link to his/her own website. I mean, who would refuse a good backlink?

Moreover, you can't expect anyone to create 100% unique content when writing a blog. People sometimes have the same ideas and opinions and you might unintentionally write a sentence very similar to one already used in another blog about the same topic.

In other words, there is some margin of error. Plagiarizing one sentence from an article that has 100 sentences in it isn't plagiarism unless that single sentence is copied word-for-word. That being said, I would strongly discourage you from plagiarizing someone else's work voluntarily. Not only is it illegal, but it can also have serious consequences.

2.     What are the penalties for Plagiarism?

In the U.S. for example, plagiarism is considered a form of copyright infringement and can be punishable by law. Plagiarism laws also apply to images, videos, and any other type of content. The punishment may vary depending on where you live, but it's always best to aim for as little plagiarism as possible (or at least less than 10%).

In the worst-case scenario, the original creator could sue you and ask for monetary compensation. But this is quite rare as most people won't want to waste their money and efforts to pursue those cases.

Another risk would be to lose your website altogether. If the plagiarized content was from a website that does not allow people to copy parts of their pages without permission (for example a government site or news organization), then there are other dear consequences that you could face such as a DMCA takedown.

DMCA takedown is when someone plagiarizes your work and you send a request to the website owner to remove all stolen content. If that person doesn't respond or can not prove he/she is the original creator of the content, then all plagiarized pages will be removed from Google search results and his/her website will be taken down.

Why is it Detrimental to Your Website?

If you are plagiarizing other bloggers' content, there is a chance that they will eventually find out. When they do, they may take legal action against you. This could result in your website being shut down or fined, as I mentioned earlier.

And even if no legal action is taken against you, plagiarism is not good for your website's reputation... What do I mean by that? Well, plagiarism is a form of cheating, and people don't usually like cheaters.

Google especially will check your website and lower your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking if it suspects you of plagiarism. To be more precise, Google will scan all the pages of your website and see if the same content can be found in other pages published earlier than yours.

Actually, even if you use your own content, publishing the same content twice on different websites or in two different blogs of the same website will be considered as duplicate content by Google which will also cost you a lower ranking in search results. In a sense, duplicate content means you are plagiarizing yourself...

For example, let's imagine you are selling Japanese matcha green tea and you want to write various blogs about the topic to promote your products on your website. Even if it is tempting to use the same word-for-word definition of what is matcha in all your blogs, doing so will create duplicate content that will just destabilize search engines.

Google likes it when your wording is unique, no matter if you are writing about the same topic or not.

How Do I Know if My Blog is Plagiarized?

I think the easiest way to know if someone is stealing your content is through advanced plagiarism detection tools. FreeSeoTools provides you with a Plagiarism Checker Pro which will analyze your content and tell you exactly which percentage of it is unique and which is not.



In case of potential plagiarism, it will also give you the source so you can check for yourself if your content has indeed been copied. The tool will automatically delete the scanned content to protect your work and privacy. so Just copy and paste your text in the provided space or enter your website URL directly.

Other reliable plagiarism detection tools include Grammarly and Copyscape. However, even if those tools are getting smarter and smarter, they're not perfect. Sometimes, the results returned by them can be incomplete.

Here are a few easy tips to further your research :

  • To find word-for-word plagiarized content, pick out a random sentence from your original work and search it on Google using quotation marks. For example : ¨Matcha is a fine green tea powder exclusively producingJapan¨.
  • To find spun content, make a quick Google search query using full sentences from your original work but without quotation marks. Then check the results for any suspiciously similar content. Sometimes, people will just slightly re-write a sentence or paragraph while changing a few words.
  • Simply read and compare your work with other published articles on the same topic. See if you can find any similarities.

How to Protect My Content from Being Stolen? 

There is no sure-fire way of completely protecting your content from plagiarists. You may want to consider one or more of the following approaches:

  • Write a plagiarism disclaimer at the bottom of your page, next to your copyright notice (©All Right Reserved). It should state that copying and/or plagiarism will be subject to legal action.
  • Legally copyright your website through official registration with your government for a fee. In the U.S., you will need to contact the U.S Copyright Office. A basic registration digital content such as blogs will cost you anywhere between $35 and $65.
  • Make regular use of plagiarism detection tools like the ones I mentioned earlier to scan your work for duplication.
  • Watermark your images and videos with your name or website URL. This will help deter people from stealing them without giving you credit. You don't need to use big, colorful words. A discreet gray watermark will do.
  • Embed image rights metadata inside your image by filling the IPTC fields for ¨creator¨, ¨credit line¨ and ¨copyright notice¨ so it shows on Google image search results. Here is how you do it.
  • Encourage your readers to report plagiarized content if they come across it.

7Tips to Avoid Plagiarism Yourself When Writing Blogs

Indeed, the first impulse of a blogger when starting a new article will be to look at other websites in the same field and read what they have to say about it. The problem occurs when you begin copying parts of their text word-for-word or just paraphrase it a bit without giving them any credit.

You will find below 7 easy tips to avoid plagiarizing people's work accidentally:

1- Do Your Own Research First

Before you start writing, make sure to do your own research and really understand your topic. It might sound obvious, but not understanding fully the concepts or ideas you are talking about will lead you to rely heavily on referencing others because you don't feel capable of explaining anything with your own words.

You can also compile a list of sources that you will be quoting or paraphrasing from. This way, you can avoid plagiarizing anyone's work inadvertently.

2- Add Your Own Ideas

When you are referencing others, don't just paraphrase what they wrote. Add your ideas and opinions to it so that the reader understands that you have a distinct voice.

You can also give examples from your personal experience or explain in detail how things work if you feel like there is more information the reader needs. Remember, you are not just a copying robot and your blog should reflect that.

3- Ask For Permission

Keep in mind the best way to use others' content without getting into trouble is to ask their permission directly! Especially when faced with copyrighted content... Make sure to ask permission first from the copyright owner before quoting them or borrowing any ideas.

4- Make Proper Quotations

When writing a direct quotation, quote them properly by using quotation marks ("...", «…» or „…“) and reference the author (and website with a link when possible) to legitimate your quote. For example:

As Malcolm X said, ¨The future belongs to those who prepare for it today¨.

5- Always Give Credit

When borrowing other people's ideas, summarize them with your own words and give credit where it is due. Again, mention the source (author, original website's hyperlink). The same goes for other data such as statistics and graphs.

When borrowing pictures, make sure to use images that you have the legal rights to publish. Always ask for authorization from photographers and give credit by including a link back to their website.

6- Plagiarism Detection Tools

Use plagiarism detection tools like Plagiarism Checker Pro before publishing your work online. If you have more than 10% of plagiarism, consider rewriting part of your blog to aim for less.

7- Royalty-Free Images

Look for images that are safe to use, even for commercial purposes. You can easily download royalty-free images (no copyright and no attribution required) via websites such as Unsplash or Pixabay.

A Final Word

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what plagiarism is and why it's so bad for your website. If you are writing a blog post, it's important to be mindful of the risks and consequences that come with plagiarizing others. You should always make sure to give credit where credit is due for any information or ideas that you borrow from someone else.

Also, try to protect your original content from plagiarists and avoid stealing from others yourself by using our various tips mentioned above. If you found this article helpful, please share the post with your friends and leave a comment below to let us know what you think!

leave a comment
Please post your comments here.