3 Ways to Check If Your Content Is Unique

Fingerprint -- unique contentThe single most important thing you can do to make your website a success is to ensure that your content is unique. Generally, this isn’t a problem if you write your own stuff – even if you happen to repeat a phrase that another website used, this doesn’t mean that your content will be picked up as duplicate content. Google has a higher threshold than that. However, if you buy content for your website, then you generally do want to check it out. Here’s what you need to know:

The Duplicate Content Penalty Explained

Most of us know that unique content is important because of the Google duplicate content penalty. This means that duplicate content will not be indexed and will thus be completely worthless to you.

However, what many people are not aware of is that Google doesn’t consider individual phrases to be duplicate content. In fact, one effective (though tedious) method of article spinning involves swapping whole paragraphs in and out in order to create unique content for Google’s search engines.

This means that simply having a phrase, or even a paragraph or two which are duplicated won’t necessarily cause Google’s web crawler not to index your site. However, there is another reason to want to ensure that your content is unique.

Copyright Issues

Stealing whole paragraphs from someone else will however put you in danger of lawsuits from other websites whose copyrights you infringe. It’s also very unprofessional to do this and so you really do need to ensure that everything you have on your site is 100% unique to you. Therefore, you may want to try one of these three options:

Use Google

The simplest and cheapest way to check for duplicate content is to use Google itself. Simply take a handful of random sentences from the content and plug them into Google. Do this with a sentence from the beginning, middle and end of your article. The reason I like this is that Google’s system is more sophisticated than something like Copyscape – it will find even sentences which are similar but not quite the same, something Copyscape and other services won’t necessarily find.

Use Copyscape

By far the best known way to check for unique content is to use Copyscape. This website is designed to allow you to check for duplicate content on each of your pages for free. Or you can also use the system to integrate into your own system and check everything automatically.

However, there are limitations. Copyscape for example will find even a single phrase which is duplicating (this drove me crazy when writing a project for another client of mine and I had to make a list of lottery games offered by various lottery commissions. I had simply copied the list from their sites and gotten hit with a duplicate content report on Copyscape).

Use Virante

Finally, Virante is a site which goes a step further than Copyscape. Theoretically at least, it will scan your entire site for duplicate content, making sure that everything is unique rather than simply scanning a single page at a time. The catch is that while it will tell you that there is a problem, it won’t tell you what the problem is or how to fix it (I think you’re expected to fill out their web form to get a call back with a price quote to help you fix the issues).

14 thoughts on “3 Ways to Check If Your Content Is Unique

  1. Thanks for information,I hope continues help us,all us need learned every day ,and people like you keeps us on the knowledge road the information is unique way that,you can do what you want do without guide.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Yeah, just remember that copyscape can be fooled and it’s also possible to get lots of false positives. For example, if I were to use the sign for omega (Ω) to replace say the Q (which looks somewhat similar) Copyscape would not notice that it was the same line. By the opposite token, Copyscape would notice that you were using a list which was the same as someone else’s list even though it’s fairly innocuous (i.e. I once did a project on lottery games for a client and when mentioning the names of lottery games from particular states, I just listed the names as they appeared on the official website. This got flagged as duplicate content by Copyscape even though it wasn’t really duplicate content at all).

    1. To be honest, it’s not the most important thing anyway. The important thing is making sure that you have at least some unique content on your site. These days, it’s all about curation.

  2. Hi Eric,

    This is really a clear article, thank you for writing. I would like to copy parts of it into my blogpost that I am writing on the topic of buying a website. Of course, I will link back to your page. Let me know if that is a problem.

    On another note, I am going to be doing a series of interviews on the topic of buying a website and I wonder if I can do an interview with you covering this topic – that of making sure there is no duplicate content on a site you plan to buy.

    All the best,


    1. Hi David,

      I’m only the author of the article, but not the owner of the blog. You need to ask Yasir about quoting the article. I will drop you a line though about doing the interview.

  3. Hi,
    i read your post, it gives very useful information. but i have one question, what is difference betweeen duplicate content and copyright content??
    can u explain me??

    Please Help me.

    Mayur Moradiya

    1. Duplicate content refers to a situation where you have content which appears on two or more pages of the same website. This can be a problem with Google and you need to use canonical links to ensure that Google knows which page to index. Copyright content means something that is owned and thus cannot be legally copied (i.e. the blog post above is copyrighted and cannot be legally copied). Hope that helps.

  4. I disagree on this post on the indexing Google bot will index duplicate post if it’s properly cited. My question is what about article spinner smallseotools? did someone try them?


    1. Google will index duplicate posts sure. However, it may affect your rankings if you do that. Never heard of spinner smallseotools, sorry.

Comments are closed.