Familiar with CTRL+C & CTRL+V? Yep, we're talking about copying and pasting someone else's content. We get it. Writing product descriptions is time-consuming. And if you find another website that took the words right out of your mouth, why not swipe it as your own? We're here to tell you why stealing someone else's content is bad. (Even though your parents should have already covered that.)
pla·gia·rism [ˈplājəˌrizəm] plagiarism (noun)
1. the practice of taking someone else's work or ideas and passing them off as one's own:
Plagiarism is intellectual property theft. If you're new here, IP theft can result in the suspension of your website, Etsy shop, social media channels, etc. And that's best-case scenario because it can also land you in legal trouble. Potential lawsuits are a good enough reason NOT to pirate someone else's product descriptions. But if legal fees don't intimidate you, keep reading.
Duplicate content is bad for SEO strategy & can hurt your page rank.
Duplicate content happens when chunks of content appear on multiple URLs across the internet. (AKA, all of the stuff you're copying and pasting.) Why is it an issue? Duplicate content appearing on your website can damage your page rank. Poorly ranked pages have fewer visitors, which equals fewer conversions. Fewer conversions equal less money.
Google penalizes websites that plagiarize content. That penalty can result in pages ranking lower. While it's rare, Google can penalize duplicate content by removing it entirely from search results.
If you have put any energy into a good SEO strategy, that's all out the window when you copy and paste someone else's content. It confuses search engines and hinders crawlability, resulting in the tanking of your page rank. Remember that original content will consistently rank higher. So don't be a knockoff.
Finally, it's unauthentic. Red flags are raised when a customer sees regurgitated content. Now all of a sudden, your business is starting to look spammy and scammy. Not to mention, you can't build a brand by piggybacking off another. Building a standout brand requires originality. Do you really want to blend into someone else's brand? Probably not.
If none of the above bothers you, keep karma in mind. You want your small business to be successful, right? So does the next small business. Taking from another entrepreneur to get ahead usually comes back to bite you. After all, you get served what you deserve.