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May 03, 2023

What will happen if I copy and paste content from my main competitors website? Is it allowed?

Owning and running a business is time-intensive, so it’s more than natural to want to find short-cuts and ways that you can reduce your workload. This can feel even more urgent when you realise just how much work is involved with establishing a website and growing your online presence. But what happens if you copy and paste content from your main competitor’s website? Is it something that you are allowed to do? Read on and let’s explore this area in greater depth…

What will happen if you copy and paste content from another website?

While it may seem legal and harmless to pinch content from a competitor website (especially if their words perfectly sum up your products or services), it is something that you should avoid entirely.

There are far too many complications that can arise and it really is not worth the hassle. Here are some examples of what can happen as a result:

  • You can be sued for plagiarism: Taking a competitor’s content and posting it on your website, word for word, without their permission is plagiarism – especially if their content and imagery is trademarked.
  • Word gets around: Especially in a local community, if your industry is a small one, word will soon get around that you are stealing content and passing it off as your own and this will damage your reputation – perhaps even irreparably.
  • You blend in: The real question is, why do you want to be like your competitors when you can stand out as a unique and worthy adversary?

Stealing content is lazy and unethical

Again, copying and pasting a few snippets here and there may seem harmless, but it is lazy, unethical, and poor form.

If you want to build a solid brand with a reputation for being the best of the best, you can’t cut corners and steal from your competitors. Instead, you must invest in your own content with the intention of outperforming them.

Sure, copying and pasting information as a “place holder” while you work on your own content isn’t the worst thing in the world, but doing so without permission can only lead to negative consequences.

And while you can argue that copy and pasting from a competitor is not so dissimilar to using AI-generated content (given that AI essentially uses existing content to ‘create’ its own), at least it will be—technically speaking—unique.

In any case, if you want the best results, you should hire a creative writer to craft compelling sales copy for your website so you can up those conversions and start making more money!

Create your own content and make it infinitely better

The only thing you should ‘take’ from your competitors is knowledge. Study their content and learn from it. Where are the gaps? What are they doing right – and more importantly – what are they getting wrong?

Extensive competitor research can help you develop a strategy to outshine them – rather than blend in beside them.

Here’s what you need to create your own, awesome content:

  • Outline your goals: Where do you see your business in 5 years? What are your goals from your website? How broad a marketing strategy are you looking to develop?
  • Leverage the right tools: Use keyword research tools and study your competitors. The more data you have, the better positioned you’ll be for a solid content creation campaign.
  • Hire the pros: Again, we understand that those with a limited budget may turn to ‘copy and pasting’ competitor content out of desperation, however, you are far better off investing in the long-term success of your business. Once you understand that digital marketing is not a ‘cost’, but an ‘investment’, you’ll recognise the immense value in hiring the professionals. In an ideal world, you hire a trusted agency like Online Marketing Gurus, and they develop world-class content for you instead. That way, when your competitors are trying to get away with plagiarising your work – your brand will be the one to come out on top.

Final thoughts: Cut through the noise with a unique message

In the short-term you may well be able to get away with stealing content from other websites, but it isn’t sustainable. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level and outshining the competition, you need to create a unique brand message that cuts through all the noise and differentiates your brand!

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