03/28/19
Writing Copy

Improving Your Content Through Copyscape

Copyscape is a free duplicate content and plagiarism checker software and website. Although their premium version is more comprehensive, I’m just speaking about their free version that resides on their web site today. Specifically how you can use there “checker” to improve the quality of your content and check to see if anyone is using your content who shouldn’t be using it.

People have used Copyscape for ages to make sure others aren’t stealing their content, but I’d like to put a little twist on what Copyscape can do to improve your rankings in the Google search engine, and ultimately improve your blog and content material.

If you don’t know, Google rankings are in part contingent on quality original content. I stress original in reference to content and it’s what this blog post is all about.

There might be hundreds of thousands of pages about a topic, but the ones that reach the top of Google’s search engine ranking are the ones that provide the best quality (in Google and your visitors eyes) of original content.

Before we get into how Copyscape can help you, lets very quickly talk about quality content.

What is Quality Content in the eyes of Google?

In the previous paragraph I mentioned that quality is determined by “your visitors eyes.” But how do you know what is good in their eyes? In a short answer – engagement. You want content that people are staying on your site and reading.

If people are taking action with regard to your call to action, that’s engagement. When people are making comments or sharing your content, or even taking the time to fully read your content, that’s engagement. Google looks at these factors to determine if your content is useful to others.

This isn’t by any means the only criteria, but it is a often overlooked criteria by many looking that can improve their blogs content quality. So try to get people to engage, and leave a comment or share your post. Asking them directly to do so can help (and works.)

Another metric Google looks at is word count. You can’t just write words for the sake of word count – you do need to be on topic and provide worthy information, but the number of word do count. A recent study found articles at the top of Google’s ranking averaged about 2,200 word each.

Here’s an interesting graphic that the web site hookagancy.com shared:

word count

The above graph was taken from the following web page: > https://hookagency.com/blog-length/

Besides those few mentioned metrics; relevancy, trust, understanding the subject matter, and originality are also indicators of quality content.

Does that content speak to it’s audience in a manner that will make sense to them and they will find useful. Or is the content just looking for a Google ranking by stuffing it with technical jargon and keywords and it ignores what the reader is looking at.

Trying to rank with keyword stuffing is a sure fire way to not get ranked.

The overall idea I’m trying to get across is write to give useful relevant information for your reader. Tell stories the grab people’s attention. And be aware of what Google considers to be quality content versus scraped or low quality content.

So how can Copyscape improve your content?

In a word – duplication.

Google frowns upon duplicate content and penalizes site that have a high degree of duplicate content. Copyscape can check your individual blog posts for duplication and you then can change that post and remove the duplication, thus improving your content and making it original for both your visitors and Google’s algorithm.

Does Google really concern itself with duplication?

The short answer is yes, but how much are you penalized is debatable. I have the attitude of not risking duplicate content and writing original content is always the best possible way to go.

Here’s a quote from Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines published on July 20, 2018. (I’ve provided a free PDF download at the end of this article.)

The Lowest rating is appropriate if all or almost all of the MC (main content) on the page is copied with little or no time, effort, expertise, manual curation, or added value for users. Such pages should be rated Lowest, even if the page assigns credit for the content to another source.

While the quote doesn’t mention duplication or duplicate quality directly, it does use the term copied, which obviously is considered plagiarism. I decided to use this quote first because curation seems to be a tactic people use quite a bit. In my view, curation not done properly is copied content and will hurt your rankings. I wont tell you not to curate articles or content, but I will say I despise the whole idea of curation.

Okay, back to duplication content. So what does Google consider duplicate?

 

Duplicate content generally refers to substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely match other content or are appreciably similar. Mostly, this is not deceptive in origin.
…..

Google tries hard to index and show pages with distinct information. This filtering means, for instance, that if your site has a “regular” and “printer” version of each article, and neither of these is blocked with a noindex meta tag, we’ll choose one of them to list. In the rare cases in which Google perceives that duplicate content may be shown with intent to manipulate our rankings and deceive our users, we’ll also make appropriate adjustments in the indexing and ranking of the sites involved. As a result, the ranking of the site may suffer, or the site might be removed entirely from the Google index, in which case it will no longer appear in search results.

The above was taken from Googles web page about duplicate content.

The above page also lists ways to avoid duplicate content penalties.

Note: Do not try to use an article spinner to make your content original. This actually could hurt your page/article more than using duplicate content because Google as part of the algorithm checks for spun content and also penalizes it.

Okay, I get it – use original content, but how does Copyscape help and work?

As I stated above, you can use their free web page checker to check your posts for duplication across the web. Duplication can happen for a variety of reasons, and it’s best to avoid when you can.

As an a point of reference, using quotes is perfectly okay, and although Copyscape will flag that quote as duplicate content, but if you’ve cited the content properly than Google won’t penalize you. Google does understand that quotes are necassary.

To cite a quotation properly is simple. To do this simple follow the coding for quotes:

<blockquote><cite> Here is some kind of quoted text or content.  Be sure to al;so include the source or person who made this quote or where you got this content. </cite</blockquote>

Notice the use of the <cite> code in the above example.  These tell Google your quoting some source directly.

 

Using Copyscape is as easy as copying your article content page web address and pasting it in their content duplication form. This is a free tool and can be found here: https://www.copyscape.com/

Once there paste your web page address into the form on the page and click the go button.

Copyscape Form

Copyscape will search the internet for duplicate content and report the result back usually within a few seconds.

Copyscape Results

That’s all there is to it.

What do I do if there’s a problem?

Look to see why it came back as duplicate content. If it’s a quote, and you’ve cited it properly than don’t worry about it, you’ll be fine. If you haven’t cited it, go back to your content and fix the citation.

If it’s a small phrase that came back as a duplicate, you’re probably okay. These things happen, you can’t expect everything you write to be not thought of by some else. For example, if your taking about email marketing and you use a line such as “Your email subject lines are one of the most important parts of your email efforts” and that comes back as a duplicate – you’re okay. Sure you can rephrase the line but make sure you don’t lose the intention and meaning of the line when doing so.

An entire paragraph or section comes back as duplicate. I would rewrite that specific part of my blog post.

And in the unlikely event that large sections or your entire article comes back as being duplicate content – then there’s a problem. Start again, or rewrite it all. This type of scenario is never good for anyone.

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If you’d like a copy of Google Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, I’ve provided a PDF for you to download. There’s no opt in – you can download it right now. Download your copy. (It’s 16.79mb)

I hope you found this content useful
Talk to you soon,

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