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How to check unique content online and ensure your site is original

by Gill Fernley on

When writing content yourself, or hiring a content writer, your aim is to get the best content on the subject at hand. Content that’s fresh, engaging and original. This is the type of content that will draw interested readers, add to your site’s reputation, and give your site a boost in the search engine rankings. But it’s important to check that any writing is original, and you need to know how to check unique content online to do that.

Table of contents

  1. Why should content be unique?
  2. What is acceptable use of other content?
  3. How to check unique content online
    4 plagiarism checkers recommended by Copify
    1. Copyscape
    2. Plagiarism Detector
    3. Grammarly
    4. Siteliner
  4. Takeaway

Why should content be unique?

Close-up of a snowflake -How to check unique content online - Copify blogJust like every snowflake is unique, every website should be too. More than anything, your content should be unique to you because it needs to convey who you are as a business and speak directly to your (again) unique target audience. However, it's not just about branding. Beyond this, there are penalties for ripping off others' content.

You don’t want to be accused of plagiarism or to have your post downgraded by Google. Why would Google do that? Well, put yourself in the role of the searcher. What you want whenever you use a search engine is to receive a range of articles and possible answers on the subject you’re searching for. What you don’t want is the first few pages of Google filled with twenty or more identical articles that all say the same thing in the exact same words. It’s frustrating, and not very helpful.

Since the aim of the search engines is to give searchers the best possible results, the way that Google works is to look at all versions of that article, decide who they think is the original creator, and display that first. The rest of the articles get pushed down the search engine results, which is not something you want to happen to your content.

What is acceptable use of other content?

Further down the page, we’re going to give you a range of plagiarism tools you can use to check for duplicate content. But there are instances where you will get hits on these checkers that don’t matter.

Firstly, if you’re an estate agent, for example, the chances of every other estate agent using the same phrases is pretty high. There are only so many ways you can say ‘house for sale’ or ‘homes for rent’. It’s not uncommon for some checkers to pick out phrases like that.

You’re going to get certain well-known phrases and aphorisms show up too, if used, like ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ or ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’

Quotes from other articles are also likely to create a hit on the checkers, but it is permitted to quote other people as long as you link to their website, if they have one, or give them full credit.

Here’s an apt quote on copying from Judy Garland:

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

You’ll note I’ve put it in quote marks and told you who said it. This won’t stop it from appearing in plagiarism checkers, but doing so counts as acceptable use.

Another genuine reason for hits to appear in a copy checker is that you’re using content curation to add extra content to your site that you didn’t have to write.  This is perfectly acceptable, if done correctly, and an excellent way to build your search engine rankings. But, again, certain sections of your curated articles will show up in a copy checker.

Luckily, there’s no need to panic or fire your content writer. Search engines aren’t looking for the odd phrase or quote to come up. They’re more bothered about whole chunks of identical text and clear signs that an article has been copied from another website.

How to check unique content online

Overhead shot of a woman on a laptop - How to check unique content online - Copify blogThere is a range of good plagiarism checkers available so it’s just a case of trying various ones until you find one you’re happy with. You may also need to decide whether the free version is good enough, which it will be in many cases, or whether you need to pay for the pro version.

4 plagiarism checkers recommended by Copify

Here are some of the 4 best plagiarism checkers out there:

1. Copyscape

We have to start with Copyscape because it’s what we use ourselves. We really do think it’s the best duplicate content checker out there.

There is a great free version of Copyscape that’s easy to use. This will let you input a URL on your site, and Copyscape will check it for you to see if anyone else has used your content.

In the premium version of Copyscape, you can paste in text that you want to check, scan PDFs, search in batches rather than one item at a time, and more.

It’s a great tool and, if you need to check a lot of content regularly, it’s worth investing in the professional version.

2. Plagiarism Detector

You can paste in up to a thousand words in Plagiarism Detector and check them without needing to pay, which is probably good enough for many people. Even if you have more writing than that to check, you can simply paste in the next section, and the next, until you’re done.

For professionals that need to do this often, the premium option will let you check up to twenty-five thousand words at once.

They also have a small suite of other useful tools, including a grammar checker, a paraphrasing tool, and free file converters from PDF to Word, and vice versa.

3. Grammarly

As well as being an excellent grammar checker, Grammarly also offers a free plagiarism checker, along with a premium version that will suggest where, and who, you need to credit if you’ve accidentally quoted someone else.

This checker is a good one to try as it will also look for any other writing issues during the check.

4. Siteliner

Siteliner will regularly check your whole site for duplicate content, leaving one less task on your ‘to do’ list. This nifty tool will also look for broken links.

You’ll get a thorough report that tells you your average page load time, internal links per page, total links per page, inbound links per page, and far more. This gives you an excellent actionable report on your site, not just a plagiarism checker.

The takeaway

Hands pointing at a laptop screen - How to check unique content online - Copify blogSo, how can you avoid that sinking feeling of finding that your new content writer didn’t exactly spend hours carefully crafting expert content for you, because the copy checkers are lighting up like a Christmas tree?

If you’ve used a site like Copify, you’re not going to have this problem as we use Copyscape to scan articles before they are accepted and sent to our clients.

You can also ensure you use a reputable writer or a high-quality content agency with good reviews from a range of different clients.

The fact is, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to writing, just like with most things. So, pay your writers a good, fair rate for their skills and you’re likely to get excellent, original results, not bargain-basement knock offs.

Now you know how to check unique content online, you should regularly check your website copy on the plagiarism checkers to give your readers the best experience and keep your reputation intact.

✏️ Want more writing tools to pep up your content and make it shine? Take a look at our article on the 10 best content writing tools for inspiration and originality.

Header image: Olia Gozha

Embedded images: Aaron Burden, Christina @, John Schnobrich