Online businesses are one of the most important businesses in 2022. There are approximately 20 million eCommerce websites globally. Due to their availability on the internet, it is easy for anyone to shop for products and services online from the comfort of their homes.
With the added benefit of home delivery, online shopping has become one of the most popular ways of shopping. So, it is no wonder, that every business now has an online presence as well.
But there are some malpractices that can severely damage these businesses. One such practice is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the act of using another person’s content without their permission as well as claiming it is your own.
This act is not tolerated in any way, and it can harm businesses in quite a few ways. Let’s check out some consequences of plagiarism for online businesses.
Consequences of Plagiarism for Your Online Business
These are some ways in which your businesses will suffer if you indulge in plagiarism
1. Risk of Rank Reduction
Online businesses thrive on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). By optimizing their websites and their content businesses are able to ‘rank’ high on the SERPs (Search engine results pages). The higher the rank, the closer to the top your website is.
The ultimate goal of all websites is to appear as the first search result on the first page. There are many different SEO strategies that experts use to try and boost the rankings of their websites.
But with plagiarism, all these efforts can be rendered useless. That’s because search engines nowadays are very intelligent. They can find out if some content is plagiarized or not. They penalize websites that have duplicated content by reducing their SERPs ranking.
For an online business, that is terrible news. Online businesses rely on their ranking to become visible to a larger audience. If their ranking gets reduced, that means they will get less traffic, which will result in reduced sales.
Even if someone does not commit plagiarism knowingly, they can still have accidental plagiarism in their work.
For that reason, it is paramount to check plagiarism in your content. This is easily done with the help of a plagiarism-checking tool.
A plagiarism-checking tool can easily compare the content provided to it against a ton of online sources to see if there is a match. Then it generates a report that highlights all plagiarized parts which you can remove or edit yourself.
2. Risk of De-Indexing
A reduction in rank is something that you can bounce back from. All it requires is that you edit the plagiarized content to make it unique and keep your SEO efforts going.
However, if the plagiarism committed was too much, or too often then search engines can levy a harsher punishment. That is the de-indexing of the website.
That might have flown over your head, so let’s explain what it is. An index of a search engine is basically a directory where they record all the websites and their pages that are ‘indexed’.
In programming terms, this is a database of the search engine, and it checks this database every time a search query is posted. Then it shows the relevant search results in the SERPs.
However, if a website gets removed from this index, then it will never show up in the SERPs of that search engine. That is a death sentence for your online business because the platform (the website) won’t be able to attract any organic traffic at all. This means that there won’t be any customers either.
As a result, the business can fail.
3. Loss of Reputation
People are smart enough to realize when they are being shown the same content that they have read elsewhere. That’s because the human brain is wired to recognize patterns. So, if there is even a slight similarity, people will pick up on it
This is really bad for your online business if the content on your website is plagiarized. People who pick up on it usually become very vocal about it as well. Today, communication is very easy due to the internet. So, their concerns can be heard by a large community in a short amount of time.
This can tank your reputation among your customers, as nobody likes to associate themselves with plagiarists.
A bad reputation never goes away, especially in today’s era, where cancel culture exists. People will keep dredging it back up, and scaring away any customers that may be willing to deal with you.
As a result, your online business will have difficulties with getting new customers and retaining old ones. Which can ultimately lead to failure.
4. Copyright Infringement and Legal Issues
One inherent risk of plagiarism is copyright infringement. A copyright-protected material cannot be used by any person that doesn’t own the rights to it. To use such material, you need to get a license from the rights holder.
When you commit plagiarism, there is a fair chance of doing copyright infringement as well. If the rights holder gets wind of it, they can sue your business for stealing their material.
Legal cases always require a lot of money. You have to pay your lawyers, along with any other overhead costs that may be compulsory. Other problems such as bad PR due to getting sued can also add to the damage to your reputation.
Those are a few ways in which your online business can be negatively affected if you commit plagiarism.
The consequences are so severe, that it makes absolutely no sense to skimp on your work and plagiarize the works of others.
That is why you should always strive to create unique content, as that can save you from these consequences.