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How to check copied content online for your website

Read Time 14 mins | Written by: Rebecca Gardom

Publishing copied content can be problematic for a number of reasons. When it comes to online content, plagiarised text can negatively impact your website's ranking, so it's crucial that you strive to eradicate copied content from your site. 

There are a number of effective ways to do this, from using online plagiarism checkers to copying passages of the text into Google. If you’re creating or commissioning content for your website or blog, find out how to check copied content online.

Table of contents

  1. What is duplicate content?
  2. Does copied content online really matter?
  3. Finding the right duplicate content checker for you
  4. Top 3 plagiarism checkers online
    1. Copyscape
    2. CopyChecker
    3. Grammarly
  5. Other ways to check for duplicate content
  6. The benefits of plagiarism checkers
  7. The downsides of plagiarism checkers
  8. How to check copied content online isn’t yours
  9. The takeaway

What is copied content?

Copied content is information that appears on the internet in more than one place. You might know it as simply copy and pasting, but duplicate content can also apply to information that is copied on different pages on your site, for example, a company description or ‘boilerplate’ that’s pasted on every page.

In some cases, duplicate content might be used accidentally or used as placeholder text and not removed, but this can all still negatively impact a website’s position in the search results (or even if it gets listed at all).

Does copied content online really matter?

Someone publishing content online - Woman checking pages - How to check copied content online - Copify blog

Yes! For starters, content you find online might be copyrighted, exposing you to legal issues if you re-use it without authorisation. Even if you do have the authorisation, it’s still not a good idea for you or the original content owner.

When it comes to how you rank in search engines, duplicate content can really damage your site’s reputation. Search engines know that their users want to find quality content that offers value, different opinions and accuracy. So if you’re found to be reusing someone else’s content to ‘engineer’ or ‘manipulate’ Google, then you’ll likely be penalised.

Even if you’re not doing it maliciously, search engines can still recognise it, which can cause problems with Google knowing which parts of your content to display to users.

So, if you want to improve your website’s ranking, then investing in quality, insightful and original content which shows thought leadership is the best way to go about it.

Read More: How to use SEO in content writing 

Finding the right duplicate content checker for you

When you are deciding how to check copied content online, it’s important to use the right tool for you. Writers of long-form text may choose to sample sections throughout the piece or use a duplicate content checker which can scan large documents.

Many of the available tools to remove duplicate content issues also have integrated spelling and grammar functions which can be really helpful. For some online plagiarism tools, you simply copy and paste the text, but in others, you can upload full documents in a variety of formats.

Top 3 plagiarism checkers online

Knowing how to check copied content online isn’t just beneficial for writers or content creators, it can be a valuable skill for business owners, bloggers, students and freelancers. There are a number of different tools writers and editors use to make sure the content they are creating is unique. Here are three of the market leaders:

1. Copyscape

Copyscape is one of the most popular and most accurate ways to check for copied content online. If you want to paste in your own content and see whether it matches any other pages online, then you’ll need to pay for this advanced feature. Or if you want to check whether your published content has been duplicated by another site, you can use the free checker.

2. Plagiarism Detector is a simple website that offers a content-checking service, ideal for snippets of text or longer essays. Simply copy and paste your text into the plagiarism tool and it will highlight any potential duplicates. You can only check up to 1000 words at a time but the service is free to use and returns a high accuracy.

3. Grammarly

This popular spell-checker and editing tool also has a plagiarism checker included in its premium features. Grammarly can be used on a variety of platforms, with browser add-ons, and it can also advise on word choice and sentence structure. This is an essential tool for content creators regardless.

Other ways to check for duplicate content

Someone checking written sheets - Woman checking pages - How to check copied content online - Copify blog

There are a number of other simple ways you can check copied content online. One of the simplest - if not more laborious - is to copy ten words from the beginning of a sentence and search it using quotation marks. If you have a large body of text, it might be worth checking a few sections for copied content by searching different quotes on Google. You can repeat this process for random bits of text throughout your website.

There are also a number of other free programs online; however, these are likely to be less effective than paid-for services so bear this in mind if your work is particularly sensitive.

Comparing two pieces

We all use information available online as part of our research. If you have used other content to help develop your piece and want to check that you haven’t unintentionally plagiarised sections, then you can run a side-by-side version compare with some of the tools available online. One to try is Check Plagiarism’s comparison search.

Read More: How to check unique content online

The benefits of plagiarism checkers

There are a number of benefits to using a duplicate content checker. Each has different features, such as keeping a record of your searches so it’s easier to prove content is yours if someone else copies it.

Some plagiarism checkers also allow you to specify the length of text that they analyse so if there’s just one section you want to check for copied content this can be quicker or more affordable. Certain online plagiarism checkers can also inform you what percentage of the text is similar to other website sources.

The downsides of duplicate content checkers

Though duplicate content-checking tools can be incredibly useful, there are some potential things to look out for. There are limitations to duplicate content checkers, for example, free services may not be as reliable as paid tools. If you’re using free tools, we recommend using several to cover your back.

Importantly, if a page hasn’t been indexed by Google yet, it probably won’t find it. Some can also be exceptionally sensitive, which means they may flag common phrasing, data or quotes which is almost impossible to remove without losing the original sense.

How to check copied content online isn’t yours

There is another side to the copied content subject, which is how to check whether someone else has copied your content or plagiarised your work. If you think another site or company has copied your content, then you can use Copyscape’s free service to check whether there are any matches to your site’s content.

You can also use Google Webmaster Tools to check links to your sites. If your content has been stolen, you can contact the site asking them to remove it or provide accreditation and a link if it is a high-ranking site. You can also contact the host of the website to complain about stolen content.


Never take the results of a plagiarism checker at face value – always exercise due diligence and judgement. And of course, the best way to avoid duplicate content is to make sure you use several sources and conduct wide research when creating your content, fact-checking as you write and using your own tone of voice!

Choosing a trusted copywriting service like Copify ensures you avoid issues with duplicate content on your website. We check all our content against other work in our database and we run advanced Copyscape plagiarism checks on every piece, to ensure unique content every time.

Image Credits

Header image: Clément Falize

Embedded images: Sigmund, Scott Graham

Rebecca Gardom

I’m a creative copywriter based in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales, with a varied portfolio, many years of experience and a passion for creating great content. I’ve held a variety of writing roles in a range of industries, including property, the arts, marketing and fashion. I also run a small business and have worked as a freelance writer and artist, before becoming a professional copywriter for Copify in 2020.