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How To Avoid SEO Penalties Due To Plagiarism

Aug 17, 2007
In the medieval times, they used to ostracize criminals from society; in today's Internet age, they penalize a website. Penalizing a website is tantamount to making the website an online outcast; something that exists, but cannot be communicated with, for the simple reason that it will probably never show up again on the search results. Search engines make sure that websites do pay harshly for using illicit means to rank higher on their results. And one of the most unpardonable crimes is plagiarism.

Everyone who has had even a single day's encounter with content development knows what plagiarism means. But, what needs to be remembered is that plagiarism is not only copying and pasting content verbatim from another site. Even retaining bits of that content in an otherwise original article is plagiarism. Today there is some speculation that plagiarism only means copying a 'substantive block of data' according to Google's definition of plagiarism, but it is still a risk factor. Let me put it this way, copy is copy. It doesn't matter if one sentence is copied or the whole article. Search engines will still try to skip duplicate content to be faster and more efficient in their jobs. Consequently, the plagiarized website will be removed from further searches. Now, if that isn't a penalty, what is?

At the same time, one needs to sympathize with today's website writers. They are working in a highly competitive market, and there are immense pressures for doing the job on time. Deadlines are getting more and more unrealistic with each passing day. And, today there are hundreds of websites already existing on any given subject. There is a great temptation to duplicate some portion in order to make the job faster.

However, this mustn't and shouldn't be done. Whatever the constraints of deadlines and availability of information may be, no content must ever be plagiarized. Plagiarism is a sure way to attract the vastly debilitating SEO penalty, and that must be avoided at all costs. But there are some ways in which plagiarism can be avoided, apart from writing totally original content, of course. Here we recount some of the ways (the points are targeted at the SEO writers):-

(i) Write your own Content
I know I am repeating this point, but it is very important to put it up in the list here. The most successful, and the safest, writer is one who writes original. Do all your research on the websites, read hundreds of them if you want, but while writing the content, do not copy. Write original.

(ii) Rework and Reword
If you have to submit articles on the same topic to various article directories, then it sure doesn't make any sense to write completely different articles each time, especially if you are linking to the same website. But, my suggestion is, do not submit the exact same articles. Reword the articles to look different. Use synonyms where possible, and try to rephrase each sentence.

(iii) Change the Sequencing
This is another good method to avoid the search engines that are looking out for plagiarism. Change the sequence of the points in your article and rephrase them. If you do this, you will not be spending more than a few minutes; but your finished product will certainly be looked upon as original.

(iv) Hire different Writers
If you are a website owner, and you need to submit promotional articles to several directories, it makes very good sense to outsource your work to freelance writers. Split the keywords you have. Never tell any one writer to write several articles on the same keyword, but distribute between your team of writers. This way you will get original content, and with different perspectives, even.

(v) Check your Articles on the Article Checkers
Howsoever much you trust your article, you must make a point to check it on Copyscape or any other such article checker tool. There might be some duplicate sentences that might have inadvertently cropped up in your article. Checking becomes all the more important if you have hired work from an outside writer.

Plagiarism itself cannot escape the scrutiny of search engines, but some methods can be employed to do short work. By using such clever techniques, the articles can be made to look very different, and will be counted as original. And remember, all these methods are perfectly legal to use.
About the Author
Ryan Smith is the author of the hot, new, ebook "Article Marketing Success." Download your free copy at http://www.e-profitsubmissions.com
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