Copied content runs rampant online. During the times when most bloggers copy content available on the internet knowingly or unknowingly, plagiarism, especially of the inadvertent kind is very common.
While it is very easy to copy and paste someone else’s work, there are some website owners who still strive to come up with unique and awesome content for their readers.
While most of us know how to use open-source images and attribute to avoid copyright infringement for images, things are not as clear when it comes to the medium of text and writing.
Therefore, let us first understand what counts and what does not count as plagiarism and how we can avoid them.
Plagiarism: What falls under it
As defined by the University of Oxford, “Plagiarism is presenting someone else’s work or ideas as your own, with or without their consent, by incorporating it into your work without full acknowledgment.
All published and unpublished material, whether in manuscript, printed or electronic form, is covered under this definition.”
As can be gleaned from the definition above, it can be said that plagiarism is nothing but the direct or indirect stealing of somebody’s thoughts in the form of writing.
What does not fall under plagiarism?
A piece of writing is not counted as plagiarized if you cite information that is common knowledge, generic, and widely available by providing due credit to the authentic sources.
However, when the information is available in several sources, it is not mandatory to cite the source.
Reasons to avoid plagiarism in web content
Plagiarizing someone else’s work is unprofessional because one cannot copy the content and claim it as their own.
This would be unjust for the readers and discredits the hard work of your predecessors.
Secondly, a business that is determined to build a brand and maintain its reputation, wants to be perceived as such. If the content is plagiarized, readers are surely not going to like a content spinner.
Thirdly, to gain organic traffic, putting plagiarized content on your website is a big no-no. This is because Google recognizes the duplicate content and can even punish your site for it.
Lastly, website owners can also find themselves entangled in legal issues due to a breach of copyright infringement.
How to avoid and fight plagiarism on your blog or website?
Fighting and avoiding plagiarism is not that difficult and actually easy now that you have a foundational understanding of what does and does not fall under plagiarism.
Here are some ways that you can follow to keep your blog or website devoid of plagiarism.
Cite your source –
When putting forward an idea or wording that’s not your own, add a citation along with the writing helps in avoiding plagiarism.
A citation should include the full name of the sourc and the date of publication. However, there can be a few citation elements that are required in accordance with the style guide you are adhering to.
Use quotation marks –
With the use of quotation marks, plagiarism can be avoided if it is inserted into a source’s words, verbatim. This would denote that the words are not your own and that would prevent it from falling under plagiarism.
A direct citation of the source is also imperative so that readers know who the quote is from.
Paraphrasing basically means rewriting ideas or information from a source and putting them into your own words, without changing its meaning.
However, if done correctly, paraphrasing can also slip into plagiarism. Not using too many similar words or phrases from a source, and formatting them in an original way is the best way to avoid plagiarism..
Since the idea is taken from another source, so including a citation is still necessary.
Explore more than one source –
Instead of referring to only one source’s ideas or words, explore a few more sources. Referring to different sources helps you to come up with an unique perspective or point to the blog.
Taking references from different sites and writing them in your way, without changing its meaning would make you write a blog that is entirely your own.
Even if you are alluding to a source’s ideas or words, make sure to frame your own point to avoid plagiarizing. The danger of plagiarism still persists if you restrict yourself to a single source during your research.
When writers adhere to a single piece of content, there are hight chances that they would stick to its structure, phrasing, and other identifiable characteristics. So, it is better to expand one’s horizon by researching as many sources as possible.
Checking articles before posting them on your site –
Since an established brand works with a number of writers for publishing content on the website, it is important to check their blog from time to time for duplicated content.
Though this practice can be time-taking, writers can be trained how to avoid plagiarism in the following ways.
- Inform your writers that you intend to check for plagiarism randomly and thai might dissuade them from copying their content from any other site.
- Make sure that the writers are well-equipped knowledge of what plagiarism is and how to avoid it.
It should made a mandatory practice for them to use plagiarism checking tools like Copyscape or Small SEO Tools.
Since the scope for checking plagiarism on the free version is limited, giving them access to a Premium account to watch out for copied content would help in avoiding duplicate content.
While detecting plagiarism, experts can spot it immediately when they read widely in their niche area.
You will be able to recognize that you’ve read something somewhere before with a similar idea.
With millions of blog posts being published every day, it seems that plagiarism has become an inherent part of the internet.
There are also chances that some information might overlap or can be similar in structure.
However, nothing can replace your efforts to stay vigilant in your own effort to avoid passing other people’s work off as your own.
Keeping track of your information sources and providing links, besides being on top of your writing game is the primary way of safe guarding yourself against charges of stealing.
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