While fast content is the name of the game in today’s highly competitive digital marketing world, businesses have to ensure that their content is original. Not only is plagiarized content unethical, it can also impact your SEO rankings.
But let’s face it, with the sheer amount of information available out there on every imaginable topic, sometimes, accidental plagiarism is unavoidable. The most efficient way of avoiding plagiarism is through using accurate tools to check for originality and getting feedback on whether or not parts of your content are copied elsewhere online.
Let’s delve into avoiding accidental plagiarism.
What is Accidental Plagiarism?
Accidental plagiarism occurs when you copy and paste someone else’s text into your work without citing that person as the source; this often happens when people want to quote a source but forget to provide the right citations.
To avoid accidentally plagiarizing someone else’s work, you must know how to spot potential sources of accidental plagiarism and use tools to help prevent such incidents.
Is Accidental Plagiarism the Same as Intentional Plagiarism?
Accidental plagiarism is not the same as intentional plagiarism.
Intentional plagiarism is when someone intentionally copies another person’s work; you may do this by looking at the source material online or in print and copying that material verbatim without citing it properly.
Both accidental and intentional plagiarism are serious issues that can have severe repercussions for your business, including charges of copyright infringement and loss of credibility with readers and clients.
How to Avoid Accidental Plagiarism?
Plagiarism is a massive problem in the world of SEO. Even when you’re trying to make sure your content is original and unique, it’s easy to overlook seemingly innocent phrases and sentences that end up getting flagged.
As such, it’s important to cite and credit your sources appropriately.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid plagiarism and ensure that your work is 100% original. Here are a few things you can do:
Check Your Sources
Before you write anything, make sure you’ve double-checked all of your sources and citations; This will help ensure that you aren’t accidentally copying someone else’s work without realizing it.
Don’t Copy From the Internet
If you find something useful online, take notes on it instead of copying it verbatim from the page.
You don’t want anyone accusing you of plagiarism because they think they’ve seen your work elsewhere, so write down what’s helpful for future reference, instead of using it word-for-word in an article or blog post.
Write From Scratch When Possible
When using the work of others, rewrite it or paraphrase it as much as possible to avoid accusations of plagiarism.
Copy-and-paste is easy, but it’s also easy to get caught. If you’re unsure how to rewrite a section of text into your own words, ask someone else to help you or ask how they would write it if they were trying to avoid plagiarism.
If there are parts where you can’t rewrite it, use quotation marks to make it clear that you’re quoting another source.
SEO Tools to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism checkers are a class of software tools that help you write better content by detecting and preventing the use of unoriginal material.
While these can be useful for checking if you’re quoting someone else’s work correctly, they aren’t always 100% accurate—so it’s essential to know which ones are more reliable than others.
Grammarly is a powerful tool that uses artificial intelligence to check your work for grammar mistakes, sentence structure errors, and plagiarism.
Scribbr is a tool that allows you to copy and paste or upload content from various sources, including Word documents, PDFs, webpages, and more. The tool then checks for plagiarism by comparing that content against its database of over 5 billion web pages.
Quetext is a free tool that checks for duplicate content on the web. It’s easy to use and lets you see what other people have already written about the topic at hand. If you find something similar, you can use their suggestions for changing your text, so it doesn’t seem too similar.
Unicheck is a tool that checks your text for similarities in over 20 languages and databases. You upload your document or text, and it will tell you if any phrases in your work are similar to other documents on the web.
Turnitin compares your paper against its database using a series of algorithms that look at sentence structure and word choice to determine whether there are similarities between your paper and any other papers on file.
If there are matches between words or sentences, the tool flags them so a human can review them before determining whether they warrant an accusation of plagiarism.
Examples of Accidental Plagiarism
Accidental plagiarism is a common issue. Students, teachers, and even professional writers can commit accidental plagiarism without being aware of it.
For example, a student learning to cite sources may copy and paste the wrong citation format into their paper; this can result in accidental plagiarism because it’s unclear where certain information starts.
Similarly, if you’re writing an academic paper and using many resources for research, there is always the possibility that some of those resources are not correctly cited or credited.
Examples of accidental plagiarism are as follows:
- Copying someone else’s work by accident
- Not citing sources properly
- “Scribbling” over a passage from a source with your own words
- Thinking that you can use quotes from a source in your writing when you can’t
- Not understanding what constitutes plagiarism
- Using a source that you didn’t know was copyrighted
- Accidentally copy/pasting someone else’s work into your own
- Plagiarizing yourself
- Mistaking paraphrasing for plagiarism
- Forgetting to cite sources in the first place
How Google Discourages Plagiarism
Google is constantly working to improve its search algorithm to make it more accurate and beneficial for users. One way Google has been doing this is by discouraging the use of plagiarized content. The way it does this is by penalizing sites, by pushing it down the ranks.
If your content is ranking lower than before, it could be a sign that Google has caught plagiarized content on your site.
Google considers your work to be plagiarized if 25% or more of it is copied directly from sources. If 10% to 25% of your content has been taken from other writers, Google classifies that as ‘partial’ plagiarism and will penalize you accordingly (depending on the level at which they deem it acceptable).
They also want to encourage people to give credit where credit is due, so they have implemented a system where you can report cases of plagiarism you find online.
If you’re worried about accidentally plagiarizing, the best thing you can do is be careful. Use the host of SEO tools available to ensure your content is original, even when writing on a popular subject.
Finally, it is best to write in your own words after doing enough research.
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