How to Discover When Your Words are Plagiarized

A quick tip for the writers out there. If you want to keep track of your words when they hit the Internet, here’s a little trick I use to discover if a web site has picked up and is publishing my content.

First, find a unique-sounding phrase from your post/article — you’re looking for something that shouldn’t appear anywhere else on the Internet except for in your document. For instance, in my popular Ten Things I Wish I Knew When I Started as a Professional Speaker post, this phrase…

“By total fluke once, a speaker after me happened to select the same case study I presented”…

…didn’t, at the time of my post, appear anywhere else on the Internet.

So I went to Google Alerts and created a running search for that exact phrase. Important: Make sure you put the unique phrase in quote marks, so Google searches for that exact phrase, not just uses of all those words. Set the options however you like (my preferred settings are in the example below), and hit Create Alert.

And that’s it! Now, any time someone uses your content online, you’ll get an email from Google. Enjoy!

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  • joshaidan

    Isn’t there a blogging service out there that keeps track of your posts, and then notifies you automatically when someone plagiarizes you? I can’t think of the name right now, but I’m sure there’s at least one out there.

  • Tod Maffin

    There are a couple — and probably better solutions — but they’ll cost money.