While bidding on my first jobs, I noticed that the issue of duplicate content was a huge concern for most clients. Duplicate content is not only plagiarized, but it can really knock content down in search engine rankings. Unfortunately, people try the most ridiculous things in order to avoid actually having to make the effort to write great content. One of my first jobs was rewriting content that a previous writer had made "original" by running it through a translator into another language, and then running it back through the translator into English. It may have been "original," but most of it didn't make sense.
Many clients will insist that content submitted by writers pass Copyscape with no matches. If you're unfamiliar, Copyscape is a web service that searches for duplicate content online. Basically you paste your content into a window in Copyscape, and it searches the web for duplicate content. Copyscape isn't perfect. Sometimes a long organizational name or even a keyword phrase requested by a client will match up to some existing content. But Copyscape is good for preventing wholesale copying and pasting that some freelancers try to pass off as original content they wrote.
Copyscape professional searches cost $0.05 apiece, so you can spend $10 and have 200 searches for duplicate content. One thing I did that I believe boosted my chances with new clients was having my own Copyscape account and assuring clients that I ran all my content through Copyscape before submitting it. Of course, they were free to check the content themselves, but once clients learned that I was, in fact, using Copyscape first so there would be no question about duplicate content, it made them much more likely to send me more work.
Duplicate content is the kiss of death for the new freelancer. Don't take chances, even if you write every word of an article from scratch. Run it through Copyscape, and you can assure your clients that they're getting what they are paying for: original content that won't cause content duplication issues with search engines.
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