Your website is set to rule the interweb, gain top rankings, and convert in the high 90s– at least! Or that’s how it feels, because you worked for months on an up-to-date responsive design. Your brand story is front and center and the smiling faces of your team are sprinkled throughout the website after your professional photoshoot. There isn’t a stock image in sight! You have everything you need to dominate the digital space– or so you think.
What is SEO?
If you’ve spent any meaningful amount of time online you’ve surely heard of SEO or search engine optimization. But you may not know what SEO means. This concept is the language by which browsers communicate with and analyze your website and all those it’s competing with. If your website is your college chemistry final, SEO is the rubric.
Why is SEO Important?
While Yahoo, YouTube, and Bing are some of the biggest search engines in the world, everyone knows that Google is king. This puts a lot of authority behind Google’s algorithm (or Google’s rubric). You can have the best site in the world but if you aren’t discoverable, there will be no one looking at your beautiful team photos.
A Common Oversight in SEO
Best search engine optimization practices take many forms but a major red flag to Google’s algorithm is often ignored: Plagiarism. It seems simple enough, right? Don’t copy. Be original. But in a time with more written content to consume than ever before, people (and artificial intelligence) are doing whatever they can to get ahead.
Consumers and Computers recognize what works. When Kenny down the street is going viral and likes, follows, and shares speak for themselves– it’s natural to try to mimic success. Additionally, “www” may as well stand for, “wild wild west” because protecting intellectual property is a tough game.
Why Plagiarism Negatively Affects SEO
According to Google, its mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Their purpose is to provide the most relevant content possible. When the algorithm’s site review finds pages chalked full of text already found across the web it’s going to see your site as repetitive, unoriginal, and label it as duplicate content, resulting in plummeting search rankings.
The bottom line is: Google is smart and plagiarism messes with its bottom line. It knows what it’s doing and it’s impossible to hide behind a page of copied content.
How to Avoid Plagiarism and Plummeting SEO
Your site can’t perform without content. But you don’t have time to write an entire site from scratch yourself or an industry hot take blog every month. It’s very normal to work with freelance writers, marketing companies, and influencers to generate relevant content for your audience. But how do we ensure their content is original?
Here are some ways to proactively avoid duplicate content:
- Understand where your written content comes from- If you hire out your content, understand where your team draws inspiration from and what their research process looks like. Make it routine to check in on best writing practices.
- Utilize 3rd party review software- There are many plagiarism checkers such as Plagium (which even works with Google Workspace) and Copyscape. These programs provide reports on how much of your content is at risk, where it comes from, and edit suggestions.
- Rewrite & Recrawl- If you find yourself with duplicate content, once updated, you can request a recrawl within Google Search Console. By requesting a recrawl your updated content is elected to a review queue. Recrawling alerts Google that updates have been made to a page and reanalyzes for relevant content.
- Be Original- While this answer sounds like bad dating advice from your entirely unhelpful friend, it works! Be genuine. Be yourself. Because Google really likes (and promotes!) the real you behind your brand.
With so much content flying around us all the time there’s lots of opportunity to miss something when it comes to SEO. If you’re looking for help in creating, updating, or monitoring your business’s content, Digital Limelight Media (DLM) can help.
DLM was an early adopter of SEO and has brought clients successfully through many Google algorithm updates, utilizing both on-page and off-page SEO tactics. If you are interested in learning how to protect yourself and boost your rankings, fill out our online contact form today. We’re excited to hear from you!