Why content isn’t king if it has been copied

angry looking frog wearing a crown
angry looking frog wearing a crown

Why content isn’t king if it has been copied

As primary school children, we are taught that copying someone else’s work is cheating and that it can get us into serious trouble. Somehow, this tends to be taken less seriously when it comes to online content. Articles that you publish on your news page should never come from another web page – even if it is owned by the same company. Any digital marketing expert will tell you that content is king and Google is on an ongoing quest to provide fresh, interesting content. Copying an article will hinder rather than help your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts.

Google’s response to copied content

From an SEO perspective, when a search engine like Google detects that content has been duplicated, they will take the action that they deem appropriate. According to Google, your website’s ranking may be penalised as a result of duplicating articles that have already been published elsewhere. In the worst-case scenario, the site could be removed from Google’s index entirely – which means that no page on your website will appear on any search results page.

The line between original and copied content

If you were to copy and paste an article and place it on the news page of your agency’s website, this will obviously fall into the “copied” category. The same applies if a few words have been changed here and there, but the content is still largely the same. The rule of thumb is that it is acceptable to duplicate a small section of an article or blog (a sentence or two) when writing an original article, with the intention of discussing what the article’s author has said. The original author should always be acknowledged, and duplicating an entire paragraph should be avoided.

Facts and figures may be readily shared, provided that you don’t copy the exact wording that was used in the original article. For example, if you were to read an article about the most recent interest rate cut, you may decide to write an article on the topic for your own website. In this case, the fact that the repo rate cut which took place in July 2020 took South Africa’s prime lending rate to 7% is a fact, and Google will never penalise you for stating a fact. The way the rate cut is described and interpreted, however, should not be duplicated.

Pair your content with permitted images 

Thanks to the proliferation of websites offering stock images – some of which are free to use – it is generally easy to find a great image. Websites like Freepik provide a huge library of pictures that will complement any general article that you write. However, it can be a lot trickier in the real estate industry. If you are writing an article about a small town in the Free State, for example, there may not be any stock image available. This is where the temptation can arise to borrow an image that you find on Google Images. This may not be done without the permission of the photographer. Crediting the photographer in a situation where it proves impossible to reach him or her is not enough. If you can’t get permission, don’t use that photograph. 

Your website’s news page can be an incredibly valuable tool. By regularly posting original news, you show those visiting your website that you are on the cutting edge of South Africa’s ever-evolving real estate market. Similarly, sharing tips and tricks related to finding the perfect home, selling a home, and moving makes you a go-to source of information for your clients and potential clients.

Trust us with your content needs

Creating quality news articles for your website involves time and talent. Prop Data’s marketing team has a wealth of experience and an endless list of original article ideas. Take advantage of our content creation service and allow our team to keep your newsfeed fresh and interesting.