How to Check for Duplicate Content: Step-by-Step Breakdown
From an SEO perspective, duplicate content is a big no-no. Not only because all of your content should be original but because two similar pieces of content can compete against each other in the search engine resulting in a negative outcome for both pieces.
In some cases, this might not be your fault. If someone else is stealing your work, duplicating your content, or plagiarizing your work; it can cause you to get penalized even though you didn’t do anything.
Regardless of the cause, there are ways to check for duplicate content and you have exclusive rights to your content if someone is stealing it from you. Let’s help you figure out what your options are and how you can keep your content safe online.
What is Duplicate Content?
While the concept of duplicate content seems pretty simple, it can manifest itself in a variety of forms. Some duplicate content is done on accident while others happens as a result of malicious intent.
There are four types of duplicate content I want you to understand:
Internal Duplicate Content – Internal duplicate content happens when you accidentally publish something very similar to another piece of content. This can happen easily, especially on websites that have a lot of articles and pages. It’s important to keep your content organized with a tool like Clickup or even a simple spreadsheet that can prevent you from coming up with similar topics.
Cross-Domain Duplicate Content – Plagiarism and syndication are two examples of this. In some cases, it’s unintentional but it can also be on purpose. In the world of content marketing, we’re always copying what the guy ahead of us is doing and this can lead to a lot of similar content in the SERPs.
URL Variation Duplicates – Let’s say a dental office chain has 50 offices across the country and each has their own URL but they all have the same content on the page with the location being the only differentiating factor. This is duplicate content and can lead to penalties if you’re not careful.
Content Scraping – Scraping is an example of a malicious practice where artificial intelligence copies content from one site and automatically publishes it on another site. This is illegal under copyright laws but can wreak havoc on your traffic if you don’t catch it quick enough.
Regardless of what type of duplicate content you’re dealing with, it’s important that you’re able to check your website for duplicate content to prevent unnecessary punishment.
How to Use Google to Check for Duplicate Content?
Google actually recommends that you copy a phrase from the start of a sentence and paste it into Google to see what comes up. This is their suggested method of checking for duplicate content and it works quite well.
I took a snippet from Linkwhisper.com to test it out.
I took a phrase from an article about how often Google crawls websites to see what comes up. For the most part, this checks out okay.
If you’re finding exact duplicates on the phrases you’re checking then you might have an issue with duplicate content and you’ll want to determine if it’s accidental or deliberate.
Best Duplicate Content Tools
Now let’s discuss how to find duplicate content on a website using some effective duplicate content tools.
Copyscape is an online plagiarism detection tool widely used by content creators, website owners, and digital marketers to identify instances of duplicate content across the internet.
It uses a web search feature to identify cases of plagiarism so you can compare your work to other websites.
While it’s free to use the tool, it’s worth getting Copyscape Premium because this allows you to check for duplicate content before you even publish your pages. This prevents accidental duplication so if you find any duplicate content on your site, you’ll know it was someone else.
Duplichecker allows you to copy and paste your content directly into the search box and scan it to see if it matches any other webpage online. I find this tool to be incredibly easy to use and my favorite feature is the batch search.
With this, you can compare all of the pages on your website at the same time to find all cases of duplicate content on the internet.
Originality.ai is a cool tool that allows you to scan your content for plagiarism but also for AI-generated content. While the jury is still open on whether or not AI content is good or bad, it’s still good to know if someone is using AI to write content for you.
This tool is useful for content marketing agencies and website owners who want to ensure that all the content they publish is authentic.
The main thing that separates Siteliner from the other tools on this list is the fact that it’s designed to scan for internal duplicate content. You can crawl your site once per month to find duplicates while also looking for broken links and other user experience related issues.
Plagium operates by comparing a submitted piece of text against a vast database of indexed web pages, articles, and other online content. Plagium offers an “Instant Search” feature, allowing users to quickly check for duplicate content without the need to register or log in. However, there might be some limitations on the number of searches for unregistered users.
There is also a bulk search feature for this tool and the deep search component is what really stands out about Plagium.
Grammarly provides a whole host of benefits including grammar, sentence structure, and tone of voice. It also offers a plagiarism checker for the premium subscription. While I find that Grammarly isn’t quite as accurate as Copyscape, you get a lot more than just checking for plagiarism with your subscription.
This is a highly reputable tool used by educators and journalists to find plagiarism-related issues including duplicate content. You can drop files directly into the tool regardless of their length and it will highlight the exact phrases and provide you with the website where it is duplicated.
How to Know if Your Content Has Been Scraped?
So, we’ve talked enough about how to check for duplicate content but how you specifically know if your content has been scraped?
Under DMCA you have legal right to all content published on your website. No one is allowed to steal your content and take it for their own. DMCA offers a badge that you can put on your site to hopefully scare scrapers away.
By using plagiarism tools on a regular basis, you’ll be able to identify issues with duplicate content before they become a serious problem. Google Alerts is another great way to find scraped content related to your brand.
If you believe that someone has scraped your content, start by contacting the owner of the website and let them know you’ve found duplicate content on their site. You can ask them to simply link to you but if the site is low-quality, you’ll want to get the content removed.
If they refuse or don’t answer you, go to https://www.whoishostingthis.com/ to find contact information about the host and contact the hosting company. You can also go to the DMCA website I linked above and hire them to do the work for you.
Knowing how to check for duplicate content is a part of owning a website and trying to rank content for various keywords. Whether it’s by accident or on purpose, you need to know how to find it and get rid of it so it doesn’t hurt your chances of success.
Another important aspect of ranking content is internal linking policy. By having an effective internal linking strategy, you can ensure that all your relevant articles are connected. Link Whisper makes this whole process easier by automatically providing internal link suggestions and anchor text. Click here to learn more!