Can’t I just copy content from another website?

Posted on May 29, 2008


If you’re planning to add content to your website yourself instead of paying someone else to do it, you might be thinking what’s wrong with simply finding a website that has content relevant to you and just copying it. After all, what are the chances of your readers, your customers, actually finding the website you’ve taken the content from?

It’s true. The odds are no one will know. If your website sells snooker and pool tables and you want some content on your site to attract people who are interested in snooker and pool, you could easily find a site that offers snooker news and just copy some of the articles and paste them onto your website.

However, while your customers might not notice, Google will. Copying someone’s content becomes ‘duplicate content’ and Google frowns very heavily on that. If your site is just a copy of someone else’s in terms of the textual content, your site will be heavily marked down by Google. The content you’re adding will be of no benefit whatsoever, and in fact will have a detrimental effect on your search engine rankings.

You will be harming your website’s performance in Google.

This is important to understand because website owners still do this. They think that content is easy to create, but when they realise they don’t have the time to do it themselves they ‘borrow’ it from another website.

It’s just about the worst thing you could do. Content has to be unique, original. That’s why it takes time. That’s why it works.

Google likes sites with fresh, original, unique content because the website owners have clearly invested some time in their site. They’re providing Google with what it wants, so Google can provide its clients what they want.

If you help Google, Google will help you.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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