Website content is extremely important for SEO purposes. But sometimes webmasters choose copying website content from content that already exists somewhere else, rather than creating their own – is this okay?

When it comes to optimising your website, content is extremely important. High quality, well-written and informative content forms the basis of any successful web presence. Furthermore, regularly updating your website content has many benefits; it shows your expertise on a particular subject, encourages potential customers to make a purchase, and makes it easier for websites to link to you.

The importance of quality content

Unfortunately, many website owners overlook the importance of quality web content.

That’s why they often cut corners, and choose less expensive solutions to develop their content. This can include taking existing content from similar websites. They often focus more on the design of the website itself, than the content that goes along with it.

You need to remember that people prefer informative, valuable content over a visually stunning design. It will often be the difference between making a purchase, and simply moving on to the next supplier. It’s therefore essential that you understand the importance of good quality content. Even if it is a hassle to produce the right copy for your website.

Copying text from somewhere else is extremely easy. Simply copy and paste. Often times, web owners will make a few minor edits before they use the content, to ‘improve’ the existing copy. But it still remains copied content – even if it seems like an affordable, quick solution.

Copied content can be detrimental to your online success.

Web content is covered by copyright law and comes with heavy penalties. You wouldn’t take a book, change its name and try to resell it under your own name, would you? The same principle applies to online content. It takes time to craft a well-written, optimised web copy – but it’s worth it.

Copying website content: taking a chance

Of course, with millions of websites out there, people think that there will be little chance of getting caught. But with so many tools available, keeping an eye on copied content is easier than ever. You can make use of a number of services that will notify you when your content is being used somewhere else.

You can also do a simple search for a piece of text by using a search engine like Google. It will show you a list of results where this exact sentence(s) show up. This is one way of finding out whether your website content has been copied. Even images can easily be found with a tool such as TinEye.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) specifically works to reduce online copyright infringement. This includes all types of content – text, images, audio and video. If you find out that someone has copied your content, you can have their website completely taken off the internet.

But it’s not only the law you should be afraid of. Using copied content can severely damage your search engine rankings. And that’s not something you want for your online business.

Google severely punishes copied content. If your content has been used somewhere else online, you can notify Google. Google may then remove the pages that contain copied content from their search results. In severe cases, they can even remove the entire website from your search results. This can have a massive effect on the website impression. They will experience a significant drop in visitor numbers and this can be as much as 90% instantly.

Search engine penalties

Even if you don’t even notice that your website has been copied, the infringing website can still be punished. Google regularly scans for copied content, and they are clever enough to figure out where content has been published first. This will be taken into account when rankings are determined.

This is why it is so important to never copy content from somewhere else.

Google wants to give its users the best experience possible, and this means access to fresh, relevant content. When Google displays search results to users, it will typically include a message that reads “In order to show you the most relevant results, we have omitted some entries very similar to the one already displayed. If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.”

Almost no one is going to repeat the search and look through results with similar content. Although you may not see this as a penalty, if you use copied content you will miss out on a huge potential audience.

Although it may take you five minutes to copy a web page, the end result is not worth it. Spend a little more time, or hire an experienced SEO copywriter to ensure that you provide your audience with the best, most valuable and original content on your website.

Matt Cutts from Google Webmasters talks about how Google treats duplicate content

If you need original, well-written content that will boost your SEO efforts, work with a professional team of copywriters. The Content Works can provide you with a unique content plan for your needs.

 

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