4 Major Rules for Copying Content

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Adding unique and qualified content to your website or blog can be a difficult and daunting task. Content is seemingly all over the web, but it’s just out of reach for the common website owner.

The most important thing to realize about the content that you create on the web is that all of it is proprietary and none of it can be duplicated. It takes effort to create new content. Takes a lot of effort.

Of course, the best content on the web is hand written and unique, found nowhere else on the internet. That means it’s all 100% unique work attributed to that author alone.

With so much content out there, you’ll find similar articles, but you shouldn’t find the same one twice, especially if it is being pulled by the search engines.

Copying Content on the Web Must Be Done Right…

1. Borrowing others’ content

Because content is such a fragile topic, it is important to learn how to use borrowed content. If you intend on borrowing someone else’s content, you should always give them a link back and reference the original article.

To do this you simply find the original article and paste a link where you found it.

There’re multiple reasons for doing this primarily being for courtesy to the original author, but also it’s important for your SEO.

There is nothing wrong with referencing somebody’s original work, but this should be used sparingly. In general you don’t want to be copping an entire article and pasting in on your blog just giving the the original author a link back. Using a piece of the original authors work is just fine however using the entire article is not really necessary. This is where quotes come in.

Quoting somebody’s work and then referencing where the original work came from is the best way  to reference already published material.

2. Canonical Links

Canonical links refer to those links found in your SEO.  These are the links that point back to the original article in the code. If you’re pulling full articles from an RSS feed and then putting them into your blog, that canonical link isn’t warranted. If you’re just using a piece of the material quoting it a back link is warranted.

A canonical link helps tell the search engines that you are not the original author, and you are giving credit to the original author  by putting a link back to their article within your actual code. This can help you avoid duplicate content violations.

3. Copyright

Copyrighted material exists all over the web, and it is to be assumed that all material that you read is copyrighted; hence, the copyright logo at the bottom of the page.

Nearly every single piece of material written, every image published, and every video created is copyrighted and attributed to somebody who originally created it. Alway assume that the copyrighted material that you may want to publish is well…protected by copyright.

If you intend on publishing copyrighted work, there’re a couple ways to go about this. First, you can ask the author for permission to use their work. This can include an image or picture, an article, a video, or anything else published on the web. In general, this is the best way to use somebody else’s copyrighted work.

They may want to attribution for that work as a back link on your site as well. Again this goes for both search engines end-users and help prevent duplicate content violations.

Sometimes the author Will let you use their work free of charge without any attribution. This is very commonplace for websites like Pixabay, and other free image sharing websites.

Often times you can find an image that requires no attribution is royalty free and can be used anywhere you’d like so long as it’s not used for commercial purposes. Even sometimes you can find images that can be used for commercial purposes too.

A lot of these websites will mention how to use their copyrighted material. If it’s not explicitly written on the website, it’s probably a good idea to contact the author.

4. Duplicate content

Duplicate content is also a huge issue, especially since a new algorithm updates with the search engines. If you get hit with the duplicate content violation it may not actually affect your rank, but it also won’t help you rank.  your content to simply be ignored in the search engines.

Will Google does is scans all the content on the web. If it finds any duplicate content, or content that has been published repeatedly, it’s simply attributes the original work an indexes that. It may index the other work as well, but it won’t but it wont rank as high in the search engine results.

Simply put if you’re not the original author any planet copying an entire website, it’s not going to help your rank.  In fact, if you do it enough it could actually start hurting your rank. This is where canonical links come in.

Canonical links point up to the original author, and the original location of that article.  Each canonical link represents a vote. The more votes a particular article has the more Google will recognize it as the original article. This is just one of the ways Google identifies duplicate content.

Of course there are many other ways Google tries to identify duplicate content, but this is how we play fair when borrowing content on the web and avoiding duplicate content violations.

In general we want to make sure that article is about 80% unique. If we start copying large chunks of quoted material from other places it quickly breaks down and reduces the amount of original work. It’s not necessary to put canonical link for quoted material but it is necessary to back link that article.

Always provide attribution for those who put effort into creating the content. Because it’s always nice to be recognize for the work you put into the web. If somebody else steals your work, without attributing it to you, how would that make you feel?

What other strategies can you recommend for utilizing other peoples work? Please comment below.

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Yury Vilk


Yury is a web entrepreneur, owner and founder of WP Soar. His expertise is in WordPress, Internet Marketing, and PPC. He has been working on the web since 2006 helping businesses achieve their online goals.