Top 7 Tips to Identifying Unoriginal Content

Don’t skim to break even. LEAD.

You’d be kidding yourself if you believed the Internet is teeming with honest, altruistic content by genuine Expert Authors.

We’ve all seen it and we all know there is a grotesque problem with the quality of information on the Internet. As access to this incredible source of knowledge and engagement increased over the years, so did those small pesky disturbances that are hazardous to quality.

What are we referring to? The complete disregard to quality and originality by proponents of “get rich quick” schemes and peddlers of mediocrity.

When it comes to originality, take a stance and draw a line in the sand. Heed these Top 7 Tips to Identifying Unoriginal Content.

#7. Excessive Quotes

More than 5 lines of quoted material for an article between 400 and 1,000 words will hinder your ability to provide your own unique insight. It also may tell the reader that the author or speaker you’re quoting is the better expert, thus lowering your credibility.

Tip: Be the source. Only quote when it reinforces your insight and limit it to 3-5 lines.

#6. Generic

Generic information is repeating common knowledge that every specialist in your niche has provided time and time again without tips or commentary based on your experience as well as personal or professional insight.

Tip: Write based on your passions and expertise! Find the perfect niche for you with these tips.

#5. Fluff

Just shy of 400 words? Repeating parts of your article, repetitively summarizing main points, adding a floating quote, etc., is unoriginal “fluff.”

Tip: Reach the minimum word count by planning your article ahead of time using these Top 10 Article Templates.

#4. Rehashed Content

Otherwise known as derivative content, rehashed content occurs when an author uses similar tips across multiple articles. Readers who browse article portfolios of this form of unoriginal content are turned off by the author’s lack of versatility and poor credibility.

Tip: If you sound like a broken record, it’s time to brainstorm. Try these 10 original article angles.

#3. PLR and the Public Domain

Even if you’re granted the permission to republish another author’s work under your own name, if you don’t own the exclusive rights to the content (e.g., PLR articles, Public Domain content, etc.) it is unoriginal content.

Tip: If you hire a ghostwriter or purchase content, ensure you have an exclusive license that only allows your name to be associated with the articles produced for you.

#2. Article Spinning

Spinning software “spins” content by replacing an article’s original words with synonyms. Alternately, there is the “manual” version where content writers may “rewrite” content by tweaking a sentence here and there. Even if it’s your content, spinning is “word vomit” and it’s not original.

Tip: If you’re running out of article ideas, don’t resort to article spinning. Try these 15-minute brainstorming exercises.

#1. Plagiarism

“Borrowing” content (even if it’s just a sentence or two) without crediting the source and passing it off as your own is not original. It’s infringement, piracy, and theft.

Tip: Give credit where credit is due by properly citing your sources.

I know – there’s a lot of tough love here. We love our Expert Authors and will do our best in protecting their rights to publish alongside only the best Expert Authors on a quality platform. Take the quality pledge with us by only writing and publishing original content. As we say in the Editorial Guidelines, “don’t skim to break even. LEAD.”

How important is originality to you? Let us know!


Terry Chestnutt writes:

If no one is rewriting your original content it is not impressing anyone very much and will not propagate very well either. As long as you are quoted as the source it should be very welcome. Having a passion for a topic, and a unique writers voice to describe it with is justification enough. It has been the norm for many centuries.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM


Muhammad amjad writes:

Your seven tips on fake articles, i am happy to to see this you are 100% right thanks for sharing with us.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM


Roy writes:

I truly found to this unique and original site recently. I was seriously grabbed with the part of assets you’ve got here. Big thumbs up for creating such fantastic website!



Maybe those who engage in such bad behavior lack a clearly articulated core values (business ethics) statement?

Being authentic, respectful of the reader will always win out even if sometimes the content is not as compelling as other times.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:20 AM


Sasangka writes:

Thanks for the enlightenment.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:28 AM


CH James writes:

The easiest way to avoid #1, #2, #3, and #7 is to always start with a clean sheet (or screen!) and put down your own ideas and knowledge. Simple as that. If you do that, you’ll never have a problem with those bugaboos.

#4, #5, and #6 can require a little more effort, especially if you’ve established an extensive catalog on your topic. One way I try to keep things fresh and avoid “double-dipping” is to make lists of main topics and then underneath them, all the different angles to each respective topic. Every angle becomes an article, blog post, or some other type of content. Makes it easy to keep track of what you’ve already covered and can even help you generate new content ideas!

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:46 AM


THX1138 writes:

HA! Love it! Funniest “spun” article I’ve ever seen was on “Dog Training” where the software used the phrase, “To reward your carnivore for good behavior, gift it with a piece of scorched dog.” (?) HOT DOG! HAHAHA!

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 11:32 AM


Francis Cassady writes:

I believe you are right on.I enjoyed this advise,and I normally try to think the correct way.Sometimes with all the temptations,e.g.,Private Label Rights and Article Spinning,you obviously are tempted to take a short-cut.

Best Regards, Fran Cassady

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 11:41 AM


David MacKay writes:

Recently I purchased copyscape… and one particular article that I checked was found in only 42 places.. most of them were word for word. Thus the peril of PLR, especially free PLR.
As content writers I think we have to search within to find our biggest interests and get to the place where we can write passionately and authoritatively on our interests. That will help us to avoid the temptations.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 2:09 PM



thanks for this article. very helpful piece

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 2:20 PM


Lance Winslow writes:

High Quality standards here helps us all, so this is a good thing.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 3:02 PM


Randall Magwood writes:

I think this might be my most favorite EzineArticles blog post. There are alot of people who still want article spinners… but then complain when months of spinning dont produce any income. Plus the spun articles are laughable.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM


Dy Varis writes:

Really like this post! It tells us authors that we need to say something NEW and INNovative. It’s worth it to improve the overall quality of info on the web for benefit of all! Thanks.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 5:40 PM


Jovell writes:

Finding your own angle for writing on a topic which almost everyone in your niche has written about is a challenge. But being sincere in providing rich written content for your readers will move every credible writer to write original ones. It also leaves your conscience clear and peaceful. Thanks for the recommendations!

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 5:45 PM


Terence Starkey writes:

Pleased to see this article, and the evidence that EzineArticles has lifted the bar in recent times. Only a few months back I was dismayed to see evidence of re-hashed content creeping in to the article archives. Maybe the “100 articles in 100 days” initiative was a catalyst for this. Glad to see it has all but disappeared.

I still have issues with #1 – plagiarism. Where is the line in the sand? We are all becoming so knowledgeable from Internet use it can be hard to properly define something as plagiarised.

Great reference article though.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM


Gracious Store writes:

If anyone is to be referred to as an expert in any field of endeavor, that person must be an independent thinker and be able to make meaningful contribution in area of ones expertise. Writing articles is one of the ways to prove expertise in ones field. As such the article must be original and not copied from any other person’s work,

It is proper to quote or cite other people’s work or writing as a way to buttress or support one view point.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 9:40 PM


dasimobile writes:

I am really impress after read “article spinning” you are right no benefit on duplicate article in site. thanks for sharing with us all other valid point.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM


Rinkesh Kukreja writes:

Great piece of advice. Thanks for sharing it.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 10:24 PM


Moti writes:

It is a great advice of all . Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided December 7, 2012 at 11:23 PM


T Ramabu writes:

Though it has seven points but exhaustive enough to cover all writing formulae that are not original. Very informative article and eye opener for some of us who want to pursue content writing for the web.

Comment provided December 8, 2012 at 2:08 AM



I fully agree with this article.

I do use content from other websites and/or blogs, but I make sure that the original author and site/blog is cited.

There are so many unscrupulous “ghost-writers” out there – and I use the term loosely – that I don’t want to outsource any of my content creation anymore. You never know what you’re going to get.

I can just as easily run a scraped article through some spinning software as an unethical writer can, but that just feels like cheating.

Comment provided December 8, 2012 at 3:31 AM


W3Origin writes:

I appreciate your information and i am thankful for such a brilliant post. Content duplicity is a common crime in Online Industry and most of the time the original content owner don’t know hot to check the authenticity of content. I am sure this post will be the biggest help for them.

Comment provided December 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM


Vishal Patel writes:

awesome tips, very useful! agree with you their on spun articles as well.

Comment provided December 9, 2012 at 4:38 AM



Good stuff! I’m new here in EzineArticles and I’m looking forward to a lot of great things here. Thank you for the tips!

Comment provided December 9, 2012 at 3:53 PM


Salihu S Dikko writes:

Thanks for the time taken providing these essential tips for us. Most of us are reminded once more.
Originality means work that crops up from one through brain storming and teasing and finally put to fruition for other unaware of the work to derive benefit.

Comment provided December 9, 2012 at 9:06 PM


James smith writes:

Useful to read which guides us to identify among duplicate and original content. Awesome tips to follow.

Comment provided December 10, 2012 at 1:08 AM



great tips for beginners specially.thanks a lot ,I will try to follow.

Comment provided December 10, 2012 at 4:04 AM


Martin Helm writes:

This will sound mad. Not very mad but a little bit mad.

When I was at school (aged about 11) our class was introduced to “Gray’s Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard”. And here’s the mad bit, an ideal exercise for the spinners of this world. The third line reads,

“The ploughman homeward plods his weary way”

Our homework was to rewrite the line as many ways as possible whilst still conveying meaning. For instance “The weary ploughman plods his way homeward.”

Believe it or not there are more than 50 (some say 70) ways to rewrite that single line whilst still sounding like good English.

So spinning isn’t such a new thing after all.

Comment provided December 11, 2012 at 12:15 PM


David MacKay writes:

Recently there seems to be a tremendous amount of discussion as to the impact of the new search engine capabilities. Certainly content and content comparison is going to be more acute in the calculations and subsequent rankings. It may even be best to write completely individual articles for each submission than attempting to spin.

Comment provided December 11, 2012 at 12:22 PM


Betty L Eriksen writes:

Good descriptions of these unoriginal texts. Thanks for sharing.

Comment provided December 11, 2012 at 10:03 PM


Ali Asghar Joyo writes:

It is a great piece of advice.

Comment provided December 11, 2012 at 11:39 PM



I couldn’t agree more with your points. Plagiarism is a waste of time. Why write at all if you’re just going to copy? All of these points are great, and the Internet is filled with misinformation, even on highly respected sites.

Personally, I would also add, do not take anything from sites like Wikipedia and About. These sites are filled more with opinion than fact, and anyone at anytime can post anything, at least for short periods of time. That is why most schools won’t allow students to use these sites as references of any kind in most essays. Great tips you have here.

Comment provided December 12, 2012 at 11:35 AM


Jody writes:

I agree with your points fully. How can anyone expect their content to be read if they didn’t even take the time to read it or create it themselves?
I have had many people tell me that spinning an article and reusing it is the only way to get your name out there. At what cost though? If you are expecting your viewers to trust you and then they find a post written by someone else that looks practically identical to something you have just promised them was original, how do you expect them to trust you anymore?
I actually had a team member above me trying to give me his old articles and have me post them, when I disagreed he got upset. Needless to say I went in a different direction.
Good Job !!!

Comment provided December 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM


Arewa Aliy writes:

The idea of stealing others ideas is really not for pros or upcoming writers. I believe with a little ingenuity and brainstorming, anyone can write a nice piece of article.
am actually working on my 6th unpublished book, may be i will write an article about it soon.

Comment provided December 12, 2012 at 8:47 PM


Julia writes:

The concept of plagiarism raises an interesting dilemma. After all, only experiential knowledge comes to us spontaneously. All other knowledge is derived from other sources like school, books, television, websites etc. So where do we draw the line on where to cite sources?

For example, when I’m creating an article I will research both online and in books, write down several key points and pieces of information then write my article in my own words based on information researched from multiple sources. Is this plagiarism?

Or is it plagiarism only if I take a direct excerpt of another authors writing and place it in my article without citing the original author?

This is something I sometimes worry about in my article writing.

Comment provided December 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM


Terry Chestnutt writes:

Good point, Julia. Your note is very true to life in the real world of living, and publishing as well. It sounds idealistic to some to pretend other wise but it is clearly far from the practical truth of how we learn to do anything in this world. I am not saying it is not excellent to have ones own angle or experience on a topic but nothing worth reading is void of the basics of a topic. It would be unintelligible nonsense if it were strictly done. If you wrote an article on how to write an article how different could it realistically be and fulfill it promise? Is that unclear to anyone, really?


Hi Julia,

You bring up a good point.

We suggest and recommend that authors do their research when creating an article. Writing down key points and then writing the articles in your own words is not considered plagiarized content as these ideas/concepts can be used by many. We consider word-for-word content or re-written content to be problematic. You can read more about this here:



Julia writes:

Thanks Vanessa. That helps :)


Terence Starkey writes:

… and if you wish to be confused more, visit for a definition of plagiarism.

Comment provided December 16, 2012 at 5:46 AM


David MacKay writes:

I suggest that our articles have to be from our own inspiration having done suitable research but talking from our own voice. That will vastly reduce any hint of copying.

Comment provided December 16, 2012 at 12:36 PM


John Kyneur writes:

From what I’ve seen, article spinning and word stuffing really looks terrible. It’s pretty obvious that the person is writing for you to read it – they’re writing for a machine (google).

Naturally, it’s always better to write freshly every time.

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 7:32 PM


John Kyneur writes:

As a newbie to writing it’s good to know the rules. This article presents some good point to avoid.

Comment provided December 20, 2012 at 8:18 PM


Lance Winslow writes:


Comment provided December 31, 2012 at 5:38 PM


Neil Findlay writes:

So true Penny. I don’t mind when people re-publish my material when they acknowledge the source, such as my EzineArticles link. Many do so. I get a little more testy when people recycle my content without acknowledging me as the source; it happens. Equally, some users recycle my content by spinning it and claiming it is their original material; quite annoying, but I guess that is the world we live in. Worst case: some people lift my original content and re-use it on their own websites, blog sites and then sign it off (pass it off) as their own material; this is quite frustrating and there doesn’t seem to be any real way of dealing with it. Every now and then I challenge one of them, but usually get no response. Happy New Year.

Comment provided December 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM


Bonnie John writes:

Very informative article. I want to ask somthing. What if I am writing on a topic which has been repeated numerously. Is it ok to research and take ideas from various articles and create a new one(without taking a sentence from those). Is that type of content can be called Unique??

Comment provided January 2, 2013 at 6:44 AM



Researching your next article using other EzineArticles articles is not only acceptable, it’s encouraged. However, be careful not to regurgitate somebody’s article(s) simply by rephrasing their thoughts. Find your own spin on the topic and provide fresh perspective and insights.



Cheryl Veon writes:

Thank you for your advice, Penny.

It’s hard when you know nothing about the subject and have to rely on other sources to write an article.

It’s best to research, then write without looking what you have learned.

Comment provided February 21, 2013 at 10:01 AM


Lourdes Burias writes:

Writing from our personal experience about a topic, will draw us away from copying other people’s original idea.

Comment provided April 9, 2013 at 10:56 AM


Ken D Taylor writes:

Here’s a great way to plagiarize, it’s legal and very healthy in making you a more creative writer.

Find a really good article that is well written, informative and stimulating. Now with pen & paper or computer & keyboard copy the article word for word.

Done? Great! Now do it again. Done? Great! Find another article that fits the above criteria, stimulating and informative, copy it word-for-word. Do it twice.

If you do this for eight more articles in the niche that you have a love for or interest in and have zilch knowledge of, that has now changed.

All those inspiring ideas that you have copied are now hard wired into your being. They are now working within you to be something uniquely yours.

This copying word-for-word of successful sales letter has been the time tested element of success for copywriters. May it bring success to you here at EzineArticles.

Just wanted to share a twist to this thread. As always a very spot on post.

Comment provided April 9, 2013 at 6:08 PM


Real Estate writes:

Article spinning seems to be the big culprit nowadays. Even worse, ridiculous article spinning — adding sentence fragments, random words that make no sense, things that a human would catch but would be difficult for an algorithm to snag.

Comment provided April 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM



Originality is, no doubt, the possible way of telling the general public reading articles from article submission sources; how profitable reading articles on the internet is. You do yourself more harm than not publishing unoriginal article. For all your efforts will be in vain!

Comment provided April 12, 2013 at 7:50 AM


Arun Singh writes:

It is a great advice of all …

thanks for sharing keep it up.

Comment provided December 12, 2013 at 11:28 PM


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