Last year, I wrote a custom page for a home goods franchise owner. Before my work, his company was not doing well in local search results. After revising his home page and doing some local search engine optimization (SEO), his franchise shot up on the local search results pages.
My client’s business improved significantly.
Recently, he’s been recommending me to fellow franchise owners in different cities, which makes me — and my accountant — very happy.
However, I was concerned when I looked at one of the referrals’ current home page. The referral had copied the content of the home page I wrote for my client! Oh, sure, he had changed some specifics, but otherwise the copy content was identical to my client’s site.
I asked my client if he had given the other fellow permission to do so. He replied, “Well, I told him to look at my page, but I wasn’t expecting that.” Then he added, “I’m afraid a lot of franchises copy content from one another.”
Well, there are a lot of problems with copying content …
- It’s plagiarism and that’s just wrong.
- It’s stealing. My client paid me well for my work, why should the lazy franchise owner benefit from it?
- The lazy franchise is missing out on the opportunity to write content that uncovers his company’s unique selling points which will set himself apart from his competition.
- It’s duplicated content. Google frowns on that and one of the websites is going to get dinged in the rankings for it … most likely the person who did the copying.
It’s fair use and a good practice to get ideas from other websites. Just be sure to take the time to improve on any ideas you get to make them your own.
Easy Web Tip #106: Copying content from a fellow franchisee’s website is not cool and it could lead to a Google penalty.