Should you copy other people’s blog posts?

Coming up with fresh new content on a regular basis can be tough and time consuming. So some people get tempted to look to the web for help and copy/paste entire blog posts to make things easy for themselves. The simple truth is: this is plagiarism. To copy web content breaks copyright laws in most countries. On top of that is very bad for your SEO (search engine optimisation).

Why you should not copy web content

On the social web it is common practice to share other people’s posts and pictures. It is even encouraged. If you look closely though, it always says where the post came from. The original post is always credited. You can see this in the headline where it says: “John Doe shared Richard Roe’s post” or “Jane Doe retweeted/repinned/re-whatevered this thing”. It’s clear that it’s not an original post. Or you can share other people’s articles by adding a link which will take the reader to the original website. It’s all very much above board.

When we blog, however, we could simply copy/paste someone else’s article and pretend it’s our own. We think nobody would be the wiser. But is that true? Search engines have become much more sophisticated. They can tell which is the original article and which is the copy, simply by looking at the publication date. And if they come across a big portion of content that is exactly the same as someone else’s they will penalise the copied version. It is extremely bad for your SEO to have duplicate content all over the web, so simply don’t do it.

And as soon as the originator of the content finds out you can be sued because you’d be breaking the law. It’s plagiarism and against copyright laws, it’s simply illegal.

What can you do?

Other people’s articles can, of course, be your inspiration. But write your own version, giving your own opinion and your own take on things. If you want to quote the original article, you can do so, but only use a small portion such as a sentence or a paragraph and link to the original article giving credit to the writer. This is the only ethical way to copy web content.

Ideally, get in touch with the original author beforehand. Ask them whether you can to use a quote from their article in exchange for a link to their post. Most authors will be happy to do that. This will give them additional traffic to their website and relevant back links. If they refuse, you’ll have to do without that quote or find an author who is more willing to help you out in this way.

Over to you

If you would like well researched, unique articles for your business blog that are specifically created for your business and your potential customers, then get in touch. I have been writing blog articles for clients as well as for my own business since 2008 and only work with 1 client per industry at a time.

Why not get in touch by emailing me at isi@wellorganised.org to find out more?

*Legal Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and not legally trained. Advice given in this article is to the best of my knowledge and research and should not be deemed legally binding.

Categories: Blog and Blogging.
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