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Plagiarism and Google’s Changing SEO Landscape

Posted by Janett Perry on Jul 13, 2010 2:31:00 PM

google resized 600The Financial Times recently wrote an interesting article that examines the creation of tailor-made content based on the traits of Google’s search algorithm. While this practice has existed for some time with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the process seems to be evolving as more big businesses realize the importance of appearing on Google.

Traditional search engine optimization has the goal of taking existing web content and giving it better online ‘real estate,’ where more people can view it.  This is achieved by providing good ‘directions’ for Google’s web crawler, including the use of title tags and target keywords.

A website can also gain better placement by providing relevant, quality content on a regular basis.  This content lets Google’s algorithm know that this website is important in regards to a specific search term. 

Recently, several companies have latched onto this notion by creating a large quantity of content based on recent Google trending topics, as well as filing ‘holes’ in topics that don’t yet have readily accessible content.

For example, a company might have an article written on ‘how to flay a fish,’ because there are not many SEO friendly websites that already have published a similar article.  Using a number of resources, including web portals with high page rank and relevant keywords, the company can then expedite this article to the top of the search results for users querying ‘how to flay a fish.’

From the Financial Times:

“Demand Media is part of a wave of online media companies that have risen to prominence with low-cost, high-volume content. Yahoo, through its recent purchase of Associated Content, and AOL, which has also invested in the large-scale production of low-cost content, are among the household names to try their hand.”

Although this process is great for predicting what users are searching for and creating a wealth of online content specifically tailored to them, the content is also at a high risk for plagiarism. 

Companies like Demand Media outsource thousands of writers to take on the task of building their content database.  With such a large output, there is always the risk of a writer plagiarizing content without properly attributing sources.  

Although Demand Media utilizes editors to review the content before it is published to an online portal, they have also found that using plagiarism detection software is of great value to their service.

iThenticate is Demand Media’s plagiarism detection solution, allowing the company to produce a large quantity of online content while also being reassured that their articles are original.  Using iThenticate, a Demand Media editor can cross check any submitted article against a massive database of existing on and offline content and detect instances of duplicate content.

As search engine marketing and optimization continues to grow more integral for companies, plagiarism will continue to become more of an issue.  Only with an adaptive and cutting-edge technology like iThenticate can a company keep up with this burgeoning search engine marketplace while maintaining content integrity.


Waters, Richard “‘Groups magnify chance of Google Hits.” The Financial Times Ltd. 12 July 2010.