For freelance writers, turning in work that has content that is too similar to work that appears on other websites is simply not acceptable. Before you turn in your work to a client, you’ll need to run it through an online plagiarism checker to make sure that you haven’t inadvertently phrases that appear elsewhere on the Internet.
There are a number of online resources available to help you determine whether your words are original, and we’ve assembled a number of them in this handy list for your consideration.
Free Plagiarism Checkers
For a simple, no-frills way to check to see whether a portion of text is unique, copy and paste is into the search box of Google or any other search engine of your choice and hit “Enter.” You’ll be able to tell whether it matches any text on indexed websites. Keep in mind that you are looking for the exact match, not necessarily whether the same words appear in any part of the block of text.
SmallSEOTools.com Copy and paste your text into this free plagiarism checker. Click the “Check for Plagiarism” box and you will see the results revealed on a sentence-by-sentence basis. We like how this plagiarism tool gives you a running total of the percent of unique text in your page as it’s working.
SearchEngineReports.net lets you copy and paste your text, enter a URL, or upload a text file to be checked. Choose the level of sensitivity you want for each plagiarism check.
Plagiarisma.Net is a free resource for writers that supports over 190 languages. Cut and paste your text, upload it, or enter a URL. Try it on a limited basis and then register to continue using the site.
PlagiarismSoftware.net breaks down your text by sentence and allows you to run a check on each piece separately. While this approach would work for short pieces, this approach would be too time-consuming for a large piece of text.
Neil’s ToolBox is an option if you have a quick piece of text to check. It can handle up to 50 words at a time.
Subscription Plagiarism Checkers
Grammarly.com checks your text against eight billion web pages and corrects over 250 types of grammatical errors. This option will automatically generate citations for you in APA, MLA, and other styles. Plans start at $29.95 per month.
PlagScan compares your document to billions of online offerings before highlighting the similarities between them. Its search index is updated daily. Simply drag and drop the text or upload documents to check. Try a free trial and then pay $14.99 per month afterward.
CheckforPlagiarism.net professionals offers a professional-level service for writers, bloggers, and researchers. This cloud-based service eliminates the need to install any software. Check your text against books, magazines, articles, and journals. Monthly access for individuals starts at $95.00.
PlagiarismDetect.com offers a fast, accurate plagiarism checking service for texts in English and Spanish. Upload the text by pasting it into the checking area or uploading the entire file. The system then checks it against all websites that are open for indexation and against the service’s private database. Choose a standard or premium plagiarism scan starting at $0.10 per credit.
Limitations to Online Plagiarism Checkers
No online plagiarism checker is perfect. Consider them a tool that can help you, but not all of them are equally effective at finding copied content. They will check your text against materials which are readily available and free to access online. This means that your text will be checked against materials stored in online databases.
Even if your plagiarism check reveals a match, you still need to review the results and interpret whether the content has been plagiarized. At best, the computer algorithm is pointing you to a possible incident where the text has been copied. If it turns out that your text is too close to something that already appears online, you will need to make a choice about whether you will need to update it.
Once you have made your changes, be sure to run the updated version through a plagiarism checker to ensure that it doesn’t trigger a “hit.” If it does, you’ll have to continue making changes until you get clean copy.
If you have a choice between a free and a paid version of a plagiarism checker from the same website, the paid version may offer you more effective results. Depending on the number of pages you need to check, it may be worthwhile to upgrade to the paid version to get the better quality product.