The SEO Impact of Plagiarism and Duplicated Content

While it may not necessarily be a scam, per-se, plagiarism and duplicated can have a marked effect on SEO and website performance.

As smart as search algorithms are, they have their limitations, especially when it comes to discerning the originality and authenticity of web content. When Google, Bing or any other search engine trawls the web and finds a number of sites containing the same content, the algorithm can’t tell which site is the originator of the content, and which sites have copied the content. As such, the algorithm doesn’t know which sources to trust, causing all sites with the duplicate content to suffer from lower page rankings and reduced traffic.

Even if you’re not guilty of plagiarism and have simply posted a press release or related shareable content, the lack of original content can cause not only Google but web browsers to see the site as being untrustworthy or a cheap content mill.

Plagiarism is even more damaging than duplicate content, as not only does it lower search rankings, plagiarism is also intellectual property theft, a crime with penalties of up to $117,000 for individuals and $585,000 for companies.

Luckily there are a number of tools you can use to check both your own content and the web to see if you have duplicated content of if another site has ripped off your original content.


While it’s not the most powerful way to search for plagiarism, you can use Google to get a good idea as to if your content has been duplicated elsewhere.

Due to the limitations of Google, you can’t use an entire document or web page as the basis of a search, but if you can identify some unique sentences in your document and use them as a search term, any returned matches could indicate a page has plagiarised your content in full or part. Searching in this manner is quick and efficient, with search results usually coming back within seconds at most.  

Free Sites and Apps

There are a number of free apps and sites offering plagiarism checks. The majority of these allow you to search using an entire document or large block of text as the search query. While slower, these services will usually give you a better indication of if your content has been stolen, even if some wording has been changed to make it look a little original. Some of the best free plagiarism checking sites and apps include:

Plagly indexes 20 billion sources

Plagly Is a free service that searches over 20 billion sources to find duplicate content.  

Plagiarisma is also available as an app

Plagiarisma Allows for web wide or individual URL checking for plagiarism or content duplication.

URL, text and document searching

Small SEO Tools Plagiarism Checker Allows you to search with your URL, a document or up to 2000 copy pasted words.

There are a number of companies and services that charge for plagiarism detection, but unless you’re working on such a large scale that searching yourself would be impossible, or your plagiarism is in a rarefied field that may not be indexed well online, Google and other free services should be able to prove if you have duplicated content or have been plagiarised.

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