Why You Need to Innovate, Not Duplicate
Most businesses would be more than happy to emulate the success of a rival company. That’s all well and good, it gives you a clear objective and targets to achieve. However, it does represent certain problems.
There are some people who take this to the absolute nth degree though. Not only do they want to get a piece of the action, but they want to take the quick ticket to glory. This leads to emulation, rather than innovation. In some instances, whole websites are copied, often inclusive of content, design and even the name. As if you needed reminding, this is not good practice.
It does happen though and some still, in complete ignorant bliss or otherwise, plagiarise entire businesses to try to ride on their coattails. Obviously this is highly unethical and is unlikely to produce fantastic results, but that doesn’t deter some.
Some are a little more subtle, but no less damaging. Rather than ripping of an entire site’s code, they might just take the content. I don’t need to explain why duplicate content is an issue, but this kind of flawed logic is still being employed day in day out.
For those who don’t see why it’s an issue, just imagine you invested weeks in writing a new site, or paid thousands of pounds for Copywriters to do it. You get some decent rankings, but then you notice that your nearest rival has copied every single word. They haven’t paid a penny for the privilege, but are still getting people to convert thanks to your writing. Most visitors won’t know it’s been ripped off, so are none the wiser about the plagiarism they have been subjected to.
With any luck they will lose all rankings as a result of a duplicate content penalty, but this isn’t necessarily guaranteed. In fact, if you’re particularly unfortunate, you might both be punished. This could have a huge impact on your business, despite having done nothing wrong at all.
Whilst you can attempt to have any penalty undone by contacting Google, this can take time and won’t necessarily succeed. As such, your best bet might then be to contact the webmaster of the offending site and ask them to take down the copy. Whilst it is difficult to threaten any kind of legal action, hopefully they’ll see the error of their way and make amends.
But as you can see, if you perpetrate blatant plagiarism it does have far reaching consequences and won’t necessarily do you any favours either. It’s a big gamble and one that won’t help to establish your brand as one to trust, particularly if you’re caught out. So be your own business, emulate your competitors’ success, not their website. Try new things, write better content and design a fantastic site. Then invest in SEO and watch as you go from strength to strength.
Shortcuts aren’t designed for long-term gain, so don’t fool yourself into believing otherwise.