What it Truly Means for Content to be ‘Original’

Laura Ginn

One of the most basic requirements of every content writing job for as long as this profession has existed is that content must be unique. It is pretty obvious what this means – that you haven’t simply copied and pasted any or all of it from somewhere else (unless it is a direct quote and marked up as one), and that nothing identical in wording exists on the web.

Photo by Horia Varlan
Photo by Horia Varlan

To some people, this simply means that as long as they switch out words in their source material for synonyms, rearrange sentences a little, and perhaps use modified source passages from different articles, the content that results will pass a plagiarism test (most people use Copyscape), and will not see their article identified by Google as being non unique, and the site it ends up on penalised. While this works fine in theory, it is starting to fail in practice. To quote Google themselves, in a document aimed at webmasters:

“Sites that copy content from other sites, modify it slightly (for example, by substituting synonyms or using automated techniques), and republish it…” are examples of “scraped” or duplicated content.

“It’s worthwhile to take the time to create original content that sets your site apart.”

This means that while content produced by rewriting very closely to a source article or by any form of spinning may class as ‘unique’, it will not necessarily be considered original, and if it is something Google doesn’t like, you can bet they have ways to detect you have been doing it and penalise you or your writing clients.

So How Do You Write Original Content?

Sometimes, the content you have to write may be heavily fact based and you are going to need to draw a lot on existing material on the web to make sure what you write is factually correct. This is absolutely fine – information is information and to make your content original doesn’t require you to have new facts that don’t appear anywhere else on the web. However, instead of just modifying the sources you get your facts from, you should take these facts and write an entirely new article with its own style and structure to express them.

This is the approach all of our writers have been using for years, not only because it produces content you know for sure is wholly original, which adds more value to our clients, but also because if you are a good writer, it is actually easier to write a fresh, original piece containing the information you have found than to try and engineer something passable out of something you found elsewhere. When you write everything as a new piece, you don’t need to worry about Copyscape violations or even that your content may be viewed as scraped despite being technically unique, and this makes life as a writer much easier!

If you are looking for original content for your own site that won’t upset the Google gods, get in touch with us today!