What would happen if you were to take the first two or three line of an article on your website and do a Google search using those words? Would the results of your word search result in multiple identical articles?
If so, you have one of two problems. Either you are copying someone else's copyrighted material or some other people are pirating your copyrighted material.
And all of you are being penalized for it.
Let's look at an example of why this happens.
Let's assume we have an article that begins with the following:
Most people are aware of the worldwide epidemics of diabetes and obesity. The World Health Organization definition of overweight is a body....
We then copy it into the Google search engine with the following results:
First, we find miscellaneous links to websites that have a combination of the words above but that are not duplicates.
We then see the following eight websites that have identical content:
There are three things that we know from the results of this search.
- One is that except for one website, the content is being pirated.
- The second is that since we don't know which is the original we will penalize all.
- And the third is that if there is anything close to the conglomeration of words that we put into the search engine that is not a direct copy, then the search engine gives precedence to those websites.
Obviously, the original article was considered important or so many people would not have copied it. At that time due to the popularity of the page, the SEO rating for that page was probably quite high and the use of just a few keywords would have resulted in this website page achieving a first page listing. However, with each duplication of the page else where on the Internet, the SEO strength of the page became diluted. Finally, a point was reached that website pages that didn't have the same word sequence but used similar keywords were placed higher on the search result page as the search engine penalization became increasingly severe.
The moral to this story is Do Not Duplicate Your Website Content!!! Even if it is your original content. If you do, you will be penalizing yourself.
If you do find your content being duplicated, email the website pirating your content and tell them politely that you appreciate their finding your content worthwhile. However, duplicating the content is hurting both their and your own SEO. Request that they take a short quote from it and then link that quote to your article. And if they are in either a non-competitive area or category of work, tell them you would be happy to provide a link to them as well. Just ensure that it is a website that you think is worth providing a link to since your reputation as the referrer is at stake.