As a freelance writer, you’re going to run into a lot of clients that are petrified by the idea of plagiarized or stolen content. That fear is not without reason. Search engines are capable of sniffing out plagiarism or duplicate content and they penalize the blogs and websites that engage in it.
That fear of losing traffic pushes a lot of clients to be very proactive about checking for plagiarism in your content. As a freelance writer, it might even seem like a good idea to use a plagiarism checker yourself to make sure your content doesn’t raise any red flags.
In my experience, though, plagiarism checkers are a waste of time. Today, we’re going to talk about why that is and how they work. Let’s get to it!
What Are Plagiarism Checkers?
Plagiarism checkers are ‘simple’ tools that look for duplicates of your content across the web. You can do that yourself using a search engine, of course, but plagiarism checkers enable you to compare entire pages of content with complex formatting.
The goal of plagiarism checkers is simple – they help you weed out instances of duplicate content so you can avoid Search Engine Optimization (SEO) penalties. If you happen to work with a freelance writer with a penchant for stealing content, these tools can also help you uncover them.
On paper, plagiarism checkers sound like a pretty good deal. However, in practice, they don’t always provide the best results.
How Plagiarism Checkers Work
There are a lot of tools you can use to check for plagiarized content on the web. One of the most popular options happens to be a built-in checker within the Grammarly grammar checker (one of my favorite editing tools).
That plagiarism checker can take full articles and look up instances of duplicate content across the web in a matter of seconds. For example, here’s what comes up when I used that tool to analyze this very article:
As you can see, the checker flagged one line from the introduction and found that same wording in a Reddit article about religion. The phrase itself is about as generic as they come:
“Today, we’re going to talk about why that …”
If you look up that exact phrase in Google using double-quotes (so it finds instances of that wording), you get 92,700 results:
Naturally, I did not plagiarize over 90,000 sources to come up with that phrase. The plagiarism checker did its work, but the results are, of course, completely bogus.
Anyone with common sense can see that, but in some cases, you’ll run into clients that don’t care at all. If they see a line getting flagged by their plagiarism checker, they’ll come at you.
Why You Shouldn’t Pay for a Plagiarism Checker as a Freelancer
The two main reasons why it doesn’t make sense to pay for a plagiarism checker as a freelance writer are as follows:
- They tend to be very innacurate
- You know you didn’t plagiarize any content because you’re the freaking writer
If you’re thinking about spending money on a plagiarism checker service, don’t. Instead, focus on other tools or services that can make your job as a freelance writer easier. Use a grammar checker, buy a better chair, or get a nice plant to liven up your work desk. Those are all much better investments.
The real problem is that you may run into clients that use plagiarism checkers and don’t pay attention to what the results tell them. In my experience, some clients will see a generic phrase getting flagged and dump entire pages of content over it.
If you’re smart, you’ll dump those problem clients and focus on finding better freelance opportunities. They’re out there, so don’t waste your time with blogs or customers that don’t pay you decent rates or that have unreasonable requirements.
Although plagiarism checkers can be relatively cheap, they’re an unnecessary tool for most freelance writers. Even the best plagiarism checkers tend to return a lot of erroneous results, which can result in disputes with clients.
If a client insists on running your content through a plagiarism checker, that’s their prerogative. However, you shouldn’t waste your money on using one since you know the content you write is original. There are a lot of other tools that can make your life easier as a freelance writer, plenty of which are free, so focus on those.
Do you have any questions about plagiarism checkers? Let’s talk about them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.