How To Avoid Plagiarism In Blogging: 7 Crucial Tips! (2024)

So after lots of hard work and research, you finally complete a 4,500-word monster blog post for your new website.

You’re incredibly pleased, but just before you press the publish button, you decide to run it through a plagiarism checker to get a seal of approval.

But to your shock and horror, the report flashes up ‘Plagiarism Detected.’

After all the many hours of research and countless drafts, how could this happen?? 

Well, you’ll be relieved to know that this can happen quite a lot, and ‘plagiarism’ can take on many forms, even for us hard-working bloggers with lots of great original posts to write. 

But don’t worry, your integrity as a professional blogger isn’t in doubt here, only that you need to be more aware of plagiarism in its unintentional forms and how easy it is to get caught out by missing small but essential details in your blog content.

In this post, you will find out the following:

👉 7 Crucial Tips On How To Avoid Plagiarism in Blogging.

👉 The Definition of ‘Plagiarism.’

👉 The 7 Most Common Types of Plagiarism.

👉 How To Avoid Image Plagiarism.

👉 5 Essential Copyright Rules For Bloggers.

👉 The 5 Consequences of Plagiarism.

👉 The 3 Best Online Plagiarism Checker Tools. 

You’ll be writing blog articles more freely and confidently in no time!

Let’s dive in…

7 Crucial Tips On How To Avoid Plagiarism in Blogging.

1. Always Cite Your Sources When Paraphrasing.

Paraphrasing is something that most writers use, especially when expressing widely known ideas which have already been published. 

Rewording and changing the sentence structure of the content is common practice; however, if the paraphrased material is too similar to the original source, you may unintentionally publish plagiarized content.

To avoid plagiarism here, always link back to the source you have paraphrased or consider using a direct quote instead of changing out a few words and hoping for the best.

This makes your blog writing legitimate and genuine.

Remember: There is no shame or SEO penalty for linking back when paraphrasing; it also shows the reader that you made the time and effort to research the topic at hand.

2. Use Quotation Marks For Direct Quotes.

If you want to use a word-for-word quote in a post, then place it within quotation marks and reference the author and the work’s title. This prevents any plagiarism software or search engines from flagging it.

3. Stop Using ‘Ctrl C’ and ‘Ctrl V’.

Try to avoid copying and pasting extracts when taking notes and researching an article. 

Unless you carefully note the source of every extract you copy, you’ll likely end up using some of these lifted snippets in your work and get yourself into trouble.

Instead, try using a pen and paper to jot down ideas. (Yup, pen and paper!!). The temptation to note something word-for-word will be much less, so you’ll naturally reduce what you’ve researched into its core message. (Remember: You’ll still need to cite your source(s) if you’re expanding on someone else’s words).

4. Check Your Articles With A Plagiarism Tool.

Despite your best efforts and diligence to prevent plagiarism, your monster blog post could still be flagged. 

The only sure way to put your mind at rest is to run your work through a plagiarism-checking tool like Copyscape or Grammarly. 

These tools work by scraping the web for similarities within your article and give you a score on how much is plagiarised. If anything is highlighted, you simply rewrite the offending text until nothing is detected.

Note: If you can, run your content through two plagiarism checkers. No software is perfect, so having two reports back with ‘no plagiarism detected’ will put your mind at rest.

5. Use Infographics To Create Original Content.

Another great way to avoid plagiarism on a blog post (and to please search engines) is to use infographics.

If you can express your words with a visually descriptive infographic or table – always choose this option. Google will definitely praise you for its originality (..providing you haven’t directly copied it from somewhere else!), and it will help increase the engagement of your blog post.

6. Write More Quality Than Quantity.

With Google’s latest algorithm updates, there is definitely more emphasis on the quality of writing that it expects to see, especially since Google released its E.E.A.T model for creating authoritative content. 

So, rather than churning out six articles a week of potentially plagiarized posts, try to be more creative and original with your written content and push out only half the amount. Not only will Google reward you for it, but you’ll feel more satisfied with the unique content you’ve written.

7. Share Your Drafts With Other People Before Publishing.

Before publishing a post, try getting feedback on your article and see if it provokes a new angle to rewrite it. 

This will create more originality in your writing efforts and help you avoid plagiarism in your blog.


The Definition of Plagiarism:

The process or practice of using another person’s ideas or work and pretending that it is your own […].” – dictionary.cambridge.org

So there it is! It’s a straightforward explanation…

…but in the blogging world, ‘plagiarism’ can take many forms.

Take a look.

7 Most Common Types of Plagiarism.

1. Complete Plagiarism.

In extreme cases, this is the most daring form of plagiarism that you can get. It’s when someone copies entire articles off the web and republishes them without any attribution or citation to the author of the original document.

This is content robbery in broad daylight!

With blogging increasing in popularity, ‘complete plagiarism’ (also known as ‘global’) is sadly on the rise. Once your blog rises in authority and your posts start hitting the first page in the SERPs, content theft is something you’ll need to look out for. 

But don’t worry! 

Later, I will mention some great tools to do this for you.

2. Direct Plagiarism.

Direct plagiarism (also known as ‘clone’ or ‘verbatim’) is similar to the one above. However, this involves someone copying paragraphs or sentences from a blog post and mixing them into their own article.

If complete plagiarism is like having your car stolen, then direct plagiarism is just having the wheels taken off! 

Either way, not great!!

3. Mosaic Plagiarism.

This type of plagiarism (also known as ‘patchwork’) is similar to the ‘direct’ form, except the stolen content is taken from numerous sources. 

Unfortunately, due to its random nature, mosaic plagiarism can be harder to detect, especially if the plagiarized content is mixed into a single article.

4. Accidental Plagiarism.

Accidental plagiarism is relatively common and can happen in nearly all types of plagiarism if you become careless. Simply forgetting some quotes or incorrectly citing a source can get you flagged. 

5. Secondary Source Plagiarism.

This type of plagiarism occurs when someone uses material from a secondary source (e.g., a book, magazine, or website) but fails to properly cite its author. Instead, the plagiarizer only quotes the primary sources within the secondary source material.

Secondary source plagiarism can be done intentionally or due to carelessness when researching an article.

6. Self Plagiarism.

Self-plagiarism happens when you recycle your previously published work in a different blog post without referencing the original.

This will definitely get you flagged if you’re writing an academic paper. 

As a blogger, this can create duplicate content problems with the lovely people at Google and potentially water down your article’s authority rating. 

7. Paraphrasing Plagiarism.

Paraphrasing plagiarism is when you rewrite someone else’s work in your own words and try to pass off their ideas as your own. It can be deliberate or accidental, and like most forms of plagiarism, it happens when no credit is given to the original source.


How To Avoid Image Plagiarism.

This form of plagiarism is often overlooked, especially since taking screenshots is so commonplace. Unfortunately, if you intend to publish these pictures, you must be very careful, as you could use a licensed image with numerous copyright restrictions.

To avoid Image Plagiarism, use your own images or online stock images that can be used commercially.

If you decide to source your own images online, always ensure you identify the licences under which they are published. This will avoid any potential copyright infringement issues.

In the list below are the 3 main types of online images that are freely available for public use.

1. Public Domain Images.

Images marked under Public Domain can be freely used because they have expired copyright or didn’t have a copyright in the first place. No attribution is needed. Wikimedia (Commons) and Flickr (Commons) are good places to find these images.

2. Creative Commons CCO

Images available under this license have been freely released by the owner to the public without needing attribution. You can also copy, modify and use them for commercial purposes.

3. Creative Commons CC 2.0

These photos are freely available and can be used commercially; however, you must give attribution to the source. (Follow this link for more specific advice on best practices for attributing images.



5 Essential Copyright Rules For Bloggers.

When writing a blog post, it’s crucial to navigate copyright laws, fair use policies, and permission requirements responsibly to avoid plagiarism issues.

‘Fair Use’ allows for the legal use of small amounts of copyrighted works for purposes such as commentary, criticism, news reporting, research, and teaching. However, reproducing lengthy portions of a work requires direct permission from the copyright holder.

Key aspects to consider include:

  1. References and Citations: Properly formatted reference lists and in-text citations should be used to attribute all source materials in your blog post to credit the original authors and avoid plagiarism issues. A good guide for creating citations in blogging can be found here.
  2. Public Domain Works: Works classified as public domain, such as many historical texts, government documents, and images, are not copyright protected and can typically be reproduced freely without permission requirements. However, attributing public domain sources is still considered best practice.
  3. Fair Use Doctrine:  The Fair Use provision within copyright law permits reproducing limited portions of copyrighted material without formal permissions from the rights holder under certain conditions, such as commentary, criticism, or news reporting. Evaluating whether your blog post qualifies as fair use can help avoid infringements. 
  4. Licensing: If you’re reproducing lengthy quotes, infographics, or multimedia from copyrighted sources that do not qualify under fair use exemptions, you must acquire the appropriate licensing permissions or approvals from the original copyright holder before incorporation in a blog post.
  5. Attribution: Even when using public domain works or qualifying fair use of copyrighted materials, properly attributing the original creator by including their name and source title is vital for upholding ethical blogging standards and avoiding accidental plagiarism.

Staying compliant does take diligence, but is essential for creative, ethical blogging.

With a commitment to original writing paired with care for others’ work, your blog can incorporate sources successfully without getting yourself into trouble.

Ignore this…..then read on!


The 5 Consequences of Plagiarism. 

Being labelled as a ‘plagiarist’ can have personal, professional, ethical, and legal consequences.

With plagiarism software becoming more advanced and Google constantly on the lookout for black-hat activities, plagiarists are getting caught more frequently. 

Bloggers, be aware!

If you try to game the system and use stolen content in your writing, you may have to deal with one or more of the consequences below:

1. Google Will Penalize Your Blog.

If your site has a DMCA takedown notice and it’s ignored, then Google will act swiftly to punish it. 

This outcome can destroy your blog’s credibility and cause it to lose its earning potential super quick. 

Additionally, you could lose:

  • All your authority-building links to your site.

  • All of your organic traffic.

  • Any guest posts that you have written.

  • Your website! This is the most severe punishment that could be given. Your site would not show up on the SERPs. Period.

2. You Can Lose Your Reputation On Social Media.

Not only will your website lose its authority, but your social media connections and ‘brand’ will drop off a cliff. You will be labelled a ‘scammer’, and most people will not want to work with you. 

Any legal action taken against you can have different outcomes and severity depending on the extent of the plagiarism. 

Here are a few possible legal outcomes:

  • You may be forced to pay the original author for any profits from the copied content.

  • If you decide to contest accusations of plagiarism, then this could be financially crippling.

  • You could face a jail sentence if you don’t pay any fines handed out to you.

 If your blog’s primary income is from affiliate marketing, you can risk losing all your affiliate links.

Most product sites that offer an affiliate program are keen to have only legitimate bloggers who do not use black-hat methods to gain a click/sale.

Being labelled a plagiarist will quickly kick you out of most affiliate programs.

5. Plagiarism Stops Creativity.

This is really important.

Most plagiarism in the blogging world results from the time pressures of trying to keep up with the competition and the number of posts these sites release. 

In the mad rush to churn out original material, you end up sacrificing quality for quantity.

This can stifle creativity and engagement in your content creation and, ultimately, leave you dissatisfied when writing articles.


3 Plagiarism Checker Tools For Bloggers.

1. Grammarly.

Grammarly is one of the most popular grammar-checker tools out there. It comes with a powerful plagiarism-checker tool that will scan your work for duplicated content from other websites or sources and provide you with a list of possible matches.

Grammarly Homepage. Grammar and plagiarism checker tool.

It is the ‘go-to’ tool for most bloggers who are serious about quality, plagiarism-free writing.

It can make grammar suggestions as you write, and you can customize its output based on your goals and audience type.

Grammarly is compatible with Windows or Mac and integrates into most platforms like Microsoft Office, WordPress, Facebook, and Google Docs – it even works on your phone! (Android/iOS).

The plagiarism checker can be used for free, but the paid tool will give you a more thorough report, showing you specific extracts of the plagiarised material.

I use it every day. It’s definitely worth it!

2. Copyscape.

Copyscape is another essential tool that serious bloggers use regularly.

Copyscape Homepage. Plagiarism checker tool.

Unlike Grammarly, Copyscape is solely a plagiarism checker tool.

It has some advanced features, including:

  • API integration into your WordPress site.

  • Copysentry Protection – This automatically scrapes the web for copies of your content daily. If someone plagiarises your articles, you will immediately receive an email notification. This is definitely worth considering on any high-performing posts. 

  • Batch Analysis – Check multiple URLs or articles in one go. This is useful if you have a team of writers creating content for your site.

Copyscape is compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices. It is very straightforward to use, and although it looks very basic on the homepage, don’t let this fool you, as Copyscape is one of the best plagiarism tools out there.

3. Quillbot.

Quillbot is an all-in-one tool for aspiring writers that offers both the functionality of Grammarly and Copyscape but with an AI paraphrasing tool thrown in too.

Quillbot Price Page.

The AI paraphraser can be tailored to different writing styles, and there’s a synonym slider which can be adjusted to give various degrees of paraphrasing for your chosen text.

Other functions include:

  • Summarizer Tool – This can reduce a body of text into its main bullet points.

  • Plagiarism Checker – Like Grammarly, this tool reports on how much of your writing is plagiarised and where to fix it.

  • Citation Generator – This generates and saves your citations in whichever format you need. 

IIf you want to use Quillbot as your primary writing tool, then the ‘Co-Writer‘ combines all the above functions into one ecosystem. This gives a more natural flow to your writing process without switching between tools individually.

However, if your work process jumps between different platforms, Quillbot has a Chrome and Word extension


Final Thoughts.

So there you have it! Plagiarism in its full glory!

With the massive year-on-year increase in the number of new blogs hitting search engines, avoiding plagiarism in your writing is definitely something you can’t ignore.

You must be diligent in the quality of your content and be aware of blog articles being copied from your own website. 

Using a plagiarism checker tool is a must if you’re serious about producing unique content. It will take the stress out of your writing, safe in the knowledge that you will not inadvertently publish plagiarized content in your blog.

…now, pardon me, but it’s time to put this article through Grammarly and Copyscape!!

Disclosure: Some of the links on digitalizelife.com may be affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a commission without any additional cost to you. For more information on how affiliate links are handled on digitalizelife.com, please refer to our privacy policy.

FAQs

Is Plagiarism Allowed In Blogging?

Quite simply. No. It’s illegal.

Any amount of plagiarism on your website is not acceptable. It will cause numerous engagement issues, water down the authority on your content, and in the end, Google will punish your site to the bottom of the SERPs. 

Although plagiarized articles can be found on many blogs, this doesn’t mean you should do it yourself. Original content will always win here.

Is 5% Plagiarism A Lot?

No. A plagiarism score of 5% is not a lot for an article.

It must be remembered that although achieving a perfect zero per cent score is ideal, there may be times when this is unachievable due to common sentence or word patterns. 

Plagiarism checker software can sometimes see too much, so use your good judgement if you think the flagged content is relevant for a rewrite.

Is It Plagiarism If You Copy And Paste But Cite The Source?

No.

If you copy and paste content and place it inside quotations (and credit the author), then you’re good to go.

Copying and pasting anything into your posts without correctly citing the source or using quotations is plagiarism. 

Remember: Use block quotations if the content is longer than four lines. This will indent the text into the body of the article.

What’s Unacceptable Paraphrasing?

Unacceptable and unethical paraphrasing is when someone paraphrases an article by simply changing out a few words with synonyms.

It shows no respect for the original article’s author and displays no attempt to expand on the ideas of the paraphrased material.

Can You Go To Jail If You Plagiarize?

In most cases, plagiarism is not a crime that would result in jail time.

However, it is considered dishonest and a violation of copyright law, whereby the consequences can vary depending on the context in which it happens.

For example, if you plagiarize on a school assignment, you may receive a failing grade or be expelled. If you plagiarize professionally, you may lose your job or face legal consequences for violating copyright law.

In some cases, however, plagiarism can lead to criminal charges (and a jail sentence) if it involves stealing someone else’s work for financial gain. However, these situations are rare, and most cases of plagiarism do not result in criminal charges.


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