Content writing. It’s like Marmite. Some people love it, some hate it with a passion. It’s hardly surprising then that so many people are tempted to simply copy content from other websites. Their belief is it’s well written, fills the white space and explains everything the customer needs to know before they go on to purchase – so what’s the problem?
Well, actually there’s quite a few problems. Not only is stealing content from others classed as copyright theft, it’s also potentially harmful to your website’s ranking and in turn, your own affiliate income.
Stolen content hurts others
Do you believe content theft is harmless? Look at it from another perspective.
Imagine you are the original content writer. Perhaps you spent endless hours creating content for your site. You stayed up late, researched the ins and outs of the product you’re hoping to promote and perhaps even went to the trouble of purchasing the product yourself so you could write a detailed product review for your content website.
You lovingly think about all the details visitors will want to know the answers to and add FAQ’s to your site too. Everything is written with care, trying to think like the end user. You upload your content, and you’re proud as punch at a job well done.
Imagine then that you hop on to Copyscape a few weeks later, just to check that you’ve not accidentally duplicated any short sentences other websites have used first. To your horror you find 10 pages which are duplicating your hard earned content in it’s entirety. Without a doubt you’d be furious!
Think carefully how you would feel if this happened to you. Only then will you begin to understand why copying content is so immoral. Anyone who claims they wouldn’t care is being dishonest with themselves!
There’s no such thing as ‘getting away with it’ when it comes to copied content.
Even if the original writer never discovers you stole their content, don’t believe you’ll ‘get away with it’. There are other issues to think of:
- The page containing the copied content on your website will never rank higher than the page with the original content. Google knows which content is original due to its own records. They will absolutely always prioritise the original content above all others. Copying content is an excellent way to ensure you remain at the bottom of the search pile!
- Worse still, if your site contains lots of copied content, Google can actually penalise your entire website in some cases. This could include complete removal from the search results. Recovery can take weeks, months or even years, and absolutely always involves removing all copied content.
- From a SEO perspective, copied content in any form is at best totally useless and at worst extremely damaging. You could spend more time repairing the damage than it would have taken you to just write the content in the first place!
Alternatives to copying content from other websites
There any many alternatives to copying others content in order to fill your own website. All of these are profoundly better than stealing content from other people.
Choose the right niche
The first thing you should ask yourself is whether your website is in the correct niche for you.
Granted plenty of people hate writing content no matter what the subject matter, but would it be so hard to write content if you actually enjoyed talking about the topic your website is about? Perhaps consider changing your niche to something you find interesting enough to talk about for hours on end. This will lead to many pages of excellent, unique content which flows naturally. This is the kind of content which sells best.
Hire a writer
Consider paying for a content writer who is native to the country your website is targeting. There are many online freelancing services to assist you in your search. Try to pick someone who has a proven track record for excellent copy writing and is also knowledgeable about how to structure an article for SEO purposes.
Network with others in your niche
For every person out there who hates writing content, there is another who loves it, and many of these people own their own websites too. Why should you care? Well because they will likely be interested in providing you with free unique content for your own website in return for you linking to them at the base of their article!
Think of a topic you want to include on your website – perhaps how to get rid of bingo wings for example. Find a fitness blogger willing to write some content on exercises to perform to target this problem area. Ask them to mention within the article that ‘this diet pill’ (add your affiliate link in there) may contribute towards getting faster results. All that’s left to do is add the article to your site and link to it via social media.
The important thing with this powerful content creation technique is that you have to offer the writer something in return, i.e. a bio link at the end of the article. Play fair – don’t add the link, then remove it as soon as they’re not looking. That’s just dishonest and unethical. Establishing good connections with others in your niche and building a high level of trust is the only way to really reap the rewards of this mutually beneficial relationship.
An added bonus to this type of content is that the content writer will likely also share the article on their own social media. They may even link to it from their website. Return the favour. One good turn deserves another and you never know when it could be good to work with this person again in the future.
Write it yourself (yes really!)
Before you completely dismiss it, at least consider writing your own content. It doesn’t have to be as traumatic as you think and you don’t have to completely fill your website in one day.
For simple unique content creation;
- Visit the merchants website. Read the content on it and make notes of the facts and claims they make about their product.
- Take your list of key points and expand it into a brand new article which is completely unique. Do not copy anything from the merchants website sentence-wise.
- Use the Yoast WordPress plugin to optimise your article for the search engines.
- Run the entire article through Copyscape just to be sure no sentences are duplicated from other websites. If anything flags up, go back and change the wording slightly until it doesn’t.
This may take time, but it’s a great way to get good quality unique content on your site, and even better it’s your own content!
What can I do if I find my website content has been copied?
There are various things you can do to solve issues with others copying your content. They range from simply asking the owner to remove the content from their site, to filing a DMCA take-down, which could force the offenders entire website offline.
At MoreNiche, we don’t condone affiliates copying content from others. As such we regularly freeze affiliate accounts if they are found to be using such tactics.
We conduct our own checks on a daily basis to find culprits, but inevitably some can slip through the net or take longer to find than others. For this reason we welcome and encourage you to notify our compliance team should you spot anything amiss when looking at other websites in your niche.
We will fully investigate and if necessary take action against any affiliates found to be copying content from other affiliates. Hopefully together with your help, we can stop content thieves in their tracks and ensure that only good quality, unique websites are able to promote our merchants products.
(Unique) Content is king – Don’t forget it!
Google does not appreciate copied content, and a page containing it will never rank well in the long term. Make your website unique and genuinely useful to the visitor. This could be a detailed review, a description, before/after images or even a video review. Whatever it is, make it yours and make it unique to your website.
It’s not as hard as it sounds to create great quality content for your site, but it is an essential skill to learn for long term success. Many affiliates who copy content from other affiliates never understand why they never really get far with affiliate marketing. The truth is, if their website is full of copied content, they are adding no real value to the visitor. Google will never rank them well, the original content will be seen first and their sales will suffer as a result.
Unique content is the lifeblood of your website and as such it’s absolutely imperative that you concentrate on filling your website with it. Without good, unique content, your site is nothing but a shell which will go ignored by the search engines and by good quality visitors.
Try to see your affiliate website as a bricks and mortar business if you want to make real progress. Build it properly and build it to last. Grow a brand and work ethically to build respect and trust from Google, real visitors and other webmasters in your niche.
Don’t cut corners. Would you pay to rent out a shop and then not stock the shelves with good quality items which sell? If not, don’t build a website and then leave it void of unique content.
There are several great resources to help you learn more about writing excellent quality content, including Rachel Romero’s 5 Incredibly Simple Steps to Writing Better Copy and Is Poor Quality Content Costing You Sales?