How To: Avoid Use of Duplicate Content
Date: July 18, 2020
The Guide To Avoiding Duplicate Content For Law Firms
With the ever-changing world of the internet, terms like “duplicate content”, “domain rating”, and “backlink” get thrown around a lot. Many times, you’ll hear the term and nod your head as if you agree with what the person is saying because you’ve either heard the term before or you want the person to feel as though you understand what they are saying. It is important, especially for law firms and their lawyers that are generating content to understand what some of the key terms mean for their own website. Let’s break down duplicate content and how to avoid it.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is exactly as it sounds, content that is a duplicate of another piece of content either on your website or on that of another site. Much like when a school teacher would harp on not plagiarizing, Google tends to look at duplicate content as just that. Now, there is a lot that goes into this concept, and we are going to break it down even further.
How will I know if I am using duplicate content?
This is really a two-part question. To answer as it has been stated, you will know if you are using duplicate content if you find yourself using “copy-paste” to build out your article, blogs, etc… You want to ensure that you are writing your own content and not taking sentences and paragraphs from other sources unless of course you are quoting the content and give the proper recognition (quotes and a backlink to the source of the information).
The other side of this question is, how will you know if your content is being marked as duplicate content if someone else is leveraging something you wrote? We will cover this in more detail shortly, but the short answer is, you will want either an SEO or an SEO tool handy to audit your content. This audit will ensure that you understand what content is being recognized as duplicate and it will let you start investigating.
What happens if someone uses my content without my permission?
There are several ways that you can protect your content, but the easiest way to to handle this is by referencing content within your site to “internally link” to other content. Now, this is not a foolproof process and is rather easy to circumvent, but it is a good opportunity for you to avoid the content scrapers from stealing your content as their own.
Another, more technical way you can protect your content is by using “canonicalization”. This is VERY technical and will require a skilled SEO or developer that understands SEO. Essentially, this allows you to prioritize a piece of content as “original”. This will help to avoid content scrapers from using content while you take the hit for breaking Google’s rules.
What steps can I take to avoid duplicate content?
If you’re thinking about how to avoid creating duplicate content issues for yourself, you are already on the right track. Duplicate content is the byproduct of copying content from another source, either on your website or off-site. By doing everything in your power to write your own version of something is crucial in the fight against duplicate content.
Using quotation marks and citing your sources using hyperlinks is really important. You are using these hyperlinks to give credit for the content you copied and you are giving them a “backlink”. This backlink will (typically) be appreciated by the site you quoted. Your firm will likely want to leverage “no-follow” tags in order to protect your own SEO, but a writer should not worry about this as this is a headache for an SEO or developer to manage.
Canonicalization is very important but again, this is something for the technical team to be concerned with and is too complicated and in-depth for us to cover in this article.
How can an attorney avoid duplicate content when quoting a law or another source of information?
Using quotations and citing your sources with a hyperlinked word (typically the name of the site, person, or firm that put out the content will do) is one of the best ways to give proper credit and not to get in trouble with duplicate content issues. When quoting the law, using coding tags will definitely be the right way to go, but, again, not for the writer to worry about.
Tips For Attorney’s and Law Firms Writing Content
It is no secret that attorneys should be producing high-quality content regularly. Google rewards websites that have high-quality content and other website content creators looking to write on a topic might even give you an organic backlink for having great content. Here are some tips to consider:
Develop a list of sources
Build a list of sources that you will want to quote in your article. Pull out nuggets of information you are going to want to highlight in your content, just as the “skyscraper technique” suggests in order to write better content.
Avoid “Copy/Paste” at ALL costs
It can sometimes be tempting to pull quotes from other sources. Even if you give them the proper credit, you are only helping their content to thrive. Create original content and be sure you stay focused on what matters, which is your perspective on the topic you are writing about.
Talk to your SEO/Developer
There are many things, as mentioned above, that your technical team can do to help you to protect your content and also to ensure that you are not going to get in trouble with Google for duplicate content.
Write your content to be quoted
If you write from your perspective rather than copying the perspective and writing of another source, you can be looked at as a good source of information yourself. Your content will be forever alive on the web, as long as you keep it there. Write your content to win favor with other sites and writers so Google can reward you as an authority.
Have a Law Firm SEO Expert By Your Side
We know this topic can make people’s heads spin. At 9Sail, we work hard to help our law firms to navigate through intense and ever-changing search landscape. We help our lawyers to avoid duplicate content and give them the tools they need to write great content. If you would like a content audit, consider filling out our free website audit tool so we can give you an honest assessment of your site.