Plagiarism is one of the most irritating problems in the world of content production. SEOs and content creators are constantly finding their content taken word-for-word by other sites. It’s particularly frustrating to see another site rank higher on SERPs than yours after stealing your content.
Google pushes back against pages that plagiarize – so why do so many make it through the cracks and rank higher than the creators they stole from?
Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller spoke about the issue on a recent installment of Office Hours, Google’s SEO-themed livestream series.
A viewer asked Mueller what to do if their content was copied by a page that would go on to perform better – and what Google’s stance on the issue would be.
Mueller confirmed that Google does, in fact, check to see which page is the original.
“From my point of view, it’s something that we can determine to a large extent,” said Mueller. But even if we know which one is the original and which one is the copy, sometimes, it makes sense to show a copy in the search results.”
Mueller provided an example: the original page may rank lower if it does not appear trustworthy or if is ‘low quality.’
“If a higher quality website were to take some of content and publish it, we would say, ‘well, we know more about this website and actually, maybe, we should show this content in the search results.”
Mueller suggests investing in the quality of your website to avoid this problem.
Publishing relevant content with solid metadata and a good supply of backlinks can achieve this result.
You can view the Office Hours episode here.