23 Aug Don’t be a copycat ..use Copyscape
In my last post, we looked at some of the different ways of defining original content that you may not have considered when writing your blogs. I introduced the idea of using Copyscape to ensure that there is no duplication within your posts, and this week we’ll look exactly at how you can use that tool to your advantage.
Copyscape is designed primarily to prevent plagiarism. Often, websites use it to ensure that no one else has stolen their original content. It is also a great tool to use as a writer. When I’ve discussed this with other writers in the past, I’ve received looks like I’m crazy using Copyscape on my own writing – because it should be pretty clear to me whether or not I’ve plagiarized the content.
That may be true, but as we covered last time, there are other definitions of ‘original content’ and if I want to ensure that I meet the criteria for one of those – ensuring there is ZERO duplication within the content – Copyscape is the best option.
Want to know more about using Copyscape to ensure your content is original ?
To ensure that your content is entirely original and free from any inadvertent duplication, you can follow this procedure in Copyscape:
- Plug your content into Copyscape – Copy and paste your content into the appropriate text box on the Copyscape site, or use their Premium service to do a batch search that allows you to enter a URL so it can check all content on a site.
- Get your Copyscape results – Provided you’ve supplied a sufficient amount of content (300 words or more) the tool will provide you with fairly sensitive results. If there is a single sentence that is too similar to something else online, or even just a few words that appear in the same order, Copyscape will highlight them. If you only plug a few sentences into Copyscape, it typically won’t provide such in-depth results.
- Interpret your Copyscape results – Look closely at which words Copyscape has highlighted. They have no idea whether or not you’ve quoted a source or used quotation marks around a ‘borrowed’ statement. These should not be major areas of concern as strong references can help lend credibility to whatever you’re talking about. You may also find that very simple terms in a sentence are flagged, for example, “and then the man…” What you should be concerned about are not those results, but instances where slightly more complex sentences are highlighted, like the example I outlined last week: “Withdrawal from painkillers often involves fever, nausea and insomnia.” Identify these issues so that you can address them.
- Fix the duplication – As I mentioned in the last post, fixing this kind of duplication is simple. All you need to do is re-order the words or re-phrase the sentence. Of course, you only want to do this if your content was not plagiarized as changing the work enough to slip under the radar brings up a bit of an ethical issue.
Remember, using Copyscape in this manner helps you take the idea of original content to a fairly extreme level. It’s also a great tool to use if you are publishing guest posts on your blog, and want to ensure it is free from plagiarism. You can also use Copyscape to verify that no one else online has stolen the content you’ve placed on your blogs without permission.