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Plagiarizing your own content can be costly. Make sure you always attribute your work. It will help your readers understand that you are not just regurgitating prior content.

Plagiarizing Your Own Content Can Be Costly

do not duplicateSelf-plagiarism may seem like an oxymoron, but in reality it can kill your search rankings as well as put your reputation as a writer at risk. Self-plagiarism happens when you use the same or similar content from another piece of work and incorporate it into new content without proper attribution.

Since you created the original content, how can it destroy your reputation? Easy answer. People who read your content will start to see a pattern of regurgitation, using different words and phrases to make it seem unique. You will not look like an authority on the topic and likely be considered a marketing hack rather than a professional.

Professor Miguel Roig of the St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in New York told Times Higher Education, “When someone reads a work, he or she is under the assumption that it is original and new. Recycling involves an element of deception.” This is where your reputation comes into play. If you want to give people a reason to read your content, regurgitation certainly is not something you want to make a habit of. While there is nothing wrong with quoting previous work, make sure people know you are doing so or they may think they are being deceived.

“Self-plagiarism can have the same effect as spun content,” stated Slava Orishechko, head of marketing for Unplag. “Despite it being ‘unique,’ it is substantially similar and can be picked up by Google as duplicate content.” So, if the content is “unique,” how can Google still detect it as plagiarism?

Google uses what is known as latent semantic indexing, or LSI. When searching a term or phrase in Google, you will see highlighted words in the description of results. They are not all the same as your search term, but very similar. That is because Google’s algorithms are programed to recognize these words and return valuable content to users. If you do not link or attribute your work, Google could think you are trying to game the system, which could be disastrous to your search rank.

Unplag has capitalized on same and similar content with its plagiarism detector. It not only searches for same content, but also similar content that could potentially be seen as duplicate content by Google and other search engines. “Repots include detailed information about sources used by you as an author,” added Orishechko. “They show up as direct hyperlinks to the original site sources so you can see whether all the information was properly cited or there’s something that you need to put in quotes or attribute in another way.”

“You need to be careful with how you write,” stated Brian Horvath, a freelance writer for Business2Community. “Reusing any content can get you into trouble which is why you need to always need to supply the name of your source, even if it your own prior work. I use both Copyscape and Unplag to check my content before submission. The last thing I want is an email from the editor asking me to explain something I wrote. Copyscape will show me duplicate content while Unplag provides me with a report that I can email directly to the editor if needed.”

Regardless of your view on reusing content, make sure you always attribute your work. It will help your readers understand that you are not just regurgitating prior content. Don’t let Google mark you down and keep your content fresh for your readers. Your reputation and your search rankings depend on it.

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About Randall Radic

Left Coast author and writer. Author of numerous true crime books written under the pen-name of John Lee Brook. Former music contributor at Huff Post.

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