How do I know I've been plagiarized?

Spotting plagiarism is easier than you think.

We’ll show you four ways to discover if you have been plagiarized, from the most basic to the most efficient method.

Should you care about plagiarism?

Written plagiarism, as we understand it on the Internet, is copying content from one website to another. It might done manually, or at scale by programs retrieving content from your site to maintain other domains.

In a way, Search engines care about plagiarism: they reward original content (see this note from Google). Similar content is less likely to rank high in the search results.

More plagiarism means less return on investment. So, if you care about your visibility, you probably want to keep your content unique. Detecting serious cases of plagiarism is a great first step towards improving your SEO performance.

Is your industry plagued by plagiarism?

Plagiarism is more common in some industries than in others.

As an example, we analyzed the blogs of the top 50 SaaS companies in the world, and we discovered a harsh truth. 60% of their articles were not unique anymore, and more than half of the text was used elsewhere on the web. Finally, each blog had its content potentially stolen by more than 1600 other articles. You can check the full study or download the infographic here.

Whether this phenomenon affects your industry or not, you should always examine your site’s uniqueness. There aren’t any special divination skills required, so let’s see what you can do to spot them.

4 ways to know I’m being plagiarized

We have seen the reasons why being plagiarized can be harmful to your business, so it is important to know if you are or not. We’ll go through several to get, from the easiest to set up to the most effective one.

1. Perform a manual check

The first method is simple to perform and gives you a glimpse of what’s happening on your website.

  1. Copy one sentence from one of your best articles.
  2. Paste it into your search engine.
  3. Visit the first result.
  4. Compare their article with yours and try to spot plagiarism.
  5. Repeat for many other search engine results.
  6. Repeat for many other sentences from your article.
  7. Repeat for many other articles.

As you can already guess, the process is tedious, inefficient, and prone to errors.

2. Check your backlinks

Many SEO tools (Moz, SemRush, Mangools, etc.) index which websites link to your page. Here is how to find the copycats that didn’t erase your article’s links.

  1. Check on your SEO tool the links following your article
  2. Compare each of the results to your own
  3. Try to spot plagiarism among them
  4. Repeat for each article

The are many limitations to this solution. It only takes into account pages with a direct link to your domain. It also doesn’t look for similarities in the content, leaving the comparison to you.

3. Scan a single page for plagiarism

This method is already much more productive. It uses a plagiarism scanner to check one article. The tool will provide you with a complete report.

Here is what the experience looks like in Plagiashield:

  1. Sign up for free here (no credit card needed).
  2. Copy and paste your article into the document checker.
  3. Use the detailed report to identify all potential thieves.
  4. Repeat for many other articles

Traditional plagiarism checking tools might work if your domain only contains a few articles.

Yet, if you read this article, you invested in many more pages. You have an ambitious publishing strategy, and your site’s content is a strategic asset. You need a solution that makes you productive at scale.

4. Scan your entire website for plagiarism

The last method is the most simple and productive one. It allows you to identify thieves for your entire site(s) quickly.

Here again, here are the steps to reproduce within PlagiaShield. The free plan includes one domain scan, up to 100 pages.

  1. Sign up for free
  2. Enter your domain
  3. Identify the domains copying you.
  4. Get a detailed understanding of each of your articles

That’s it. No need to repeat ourselves this time. PlagiaShield checks all your content at once.

Which of these four methods is best for you?

In a few words, here is how to find the method which best suits you:

  • Protecting a dozen articles? Do a quick check on Google
  • Have access to an SEO tool? Check your backlinks for some hints.
  • Want to speed up your search for a few articles? Check the articles in a proper plagiarism checker.
  • Serious about the business value of your site? Scan the entire domain.

What’s next?

Uncovering all web sources using your content is the first step to getting your ROI back. In our next article, we will show how to take action so you can get closer to a plagiarism-free domain.