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A Simple (But Complete) Guide

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A Simple (But Complete) Guide

Most website owners have to deal with redirects at one point or another. Redirects help keep things accessible for users and search engines when you rebrand, merge multiple websites, delete a page, or simply move a page to a new location.

However, the world of redirects is a murky one, as different types of redirects exist for different scenarios. So it’s important to understand the differences between them.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

Redirects are a way to forward users (and bots) to a URL other than the one they requested.

Why should you use redirects?

There are two reasons why you should use redirects when moving content:

  • Better user experience for visitors – You don’t want visitors to get hit with a “page not found” warning when they’re trying to access a page that’s moved. Redirects solve this problem by seamlessly sending visitors to the content’s new location.
  • Help search engines understand your site – Redirects tell search engines where content has moved and whether the move is permanent or temporary. This affects if and how the pages appear in their search results.

When should you use redirects?

You should use redirects when you move content from one URL to another and, occasionally, when you delete content. Let’s take a quick look at a few common scenarios where you’ll want to use them.

When moving domains

If you’re rebranding and moving from one domain to another, you’ll need to permanently redirect all the pages on the old domain to their locations on the new domain.

When merging websites

If you’re merging multiple websites into one, you’ll need to permanently redirect old URLs to new URLs.

When switching to HTTPS

If you’re switching from HTTP to HTTPS (strongly recommended), you’ll need to permanently redirect every unsecure (HTTP) page and resource to its secure (HTTPS) location.

When running a promotion

If you’re running a temporary promotion and want to send visitors from, say, domain.com/laptops to domain.com/laptops-black-friday-deals, you’ll need to use a temporary redirect.

When deleting pages

If you’re removing content from your site, you should permanently redirect its URL to a relevant, similar page where possible. This helps to ensure that any backlinks to the old page still count for SEO purposes. It also ensures that any bookmarks or internal links still work.

Redirects are split into two groups: server-side redirects and client-side redirects. Each group contains a number of redirects that search engines view as either temporary or permanent. So you’ll need to use the right redirect for the task at hand to avoid potential SEO issues.

Server-side redirects

A server-side redirect is one where the server decides where to redirect the user or search engine when a page is requested. It does this by returning a 3XX HTTP status code.

If you’re doing SEO, you’ll be using server-side redirects most of the time, as client-side redirects (we’ll discuss those shortly) have a few drawbacks and tend to be more suitable for quite specific and rare use cases.

Here are the 3XX redirects every SEO should know:

301 redirect

A 301 redirect forwards users to the new URL and tells search engines that the resource has permanently moved. When confronted with a 301 redirect, search engines typically drop the old redirected URL from their index in favor of the new URL. They also transfer PageRank (authority) to the new URL.

302 redirect

A 302 redirect forwards users to the new URL and tells search engines that the resource has temporarily moved. When confronted with a 302 redirect, search engines keep the old URL indexed even though it’s redirected. However, if you leave the 302 redirect in place for a long time, search engines will likely start treating it like a 301 redirect and index the new URL instead.

Like 301s, 302s transfer PageRank. The difference is the transfer happens “backward.” In other words, the “new” URL’s PageRank transfers backward to the old URL (unless search engines are treating it like a 301).

303 redirect

A 303 redirect forwards the user to a resource similar to the one requested and is a temporary form of redirect. It’s typically used for things like preventing form resubmissions when a user hits the “back” button in their browser. You won’t typically use 303 redirects for SEO purposes. If you do, search engines may treat them as either a 301 or 302.

307 redirect

A 307 redirect is the same as a 302 redirect, except it retains the HTTP method (POST, GET) of the original request when performing the redirect.

308 redirect

A 308 redirect is the same as a 301 redirect, except it retains the HTTP method of the original request when performing the redirect. Google says it treats 308 redirects the same as 301 redirects, but most SEOs still use 301 redirects.

Client-side redirects

A client-side redirect is one where the browser decides where to redirect the user. You generally shouldn’t use it unless you don’t have another option.

307 redirect

A 307 redirect commonly occurs client-side when a site uses HSTS. This is because HSTS tells the client’s browser that the server only accepts secure (HTTPS) connections and to perform an internal 307 redirect if asked to request unsecure (HTTP) resources from the site in the future.

Meta refresh redirect

A meta refresh redirect tells the browser to redirect the user after a set number of seconds. Google understands it and will typically treat it the same as a 301 redirect. However, when asked about meta redirects with delays on Twitter, Google’s John Mueller said, “If you want it treated like a redirect, it makes sense to have it act like a redirect.”

Either way, Google doesn’t recommend using them, as they can be confusing for the user and aren’t supported by all browsers. Google recommends using a server-side 301 redirect instead.

JavaScript redirect

A JavaScript redirect, as you probably guessed, uses JavaScript to instruct the browser to redirect the user to a different URL. Some people believe a JS redirect causes issues for search engines because they have to render the page to see the redirect. Although this is true, it’s not usually an issue for Google because it renders pages so fast these days. (Though, there could still be issues with other search engines.) All in all, it’s still better to use a 3XX redirect where possible, but a JS redirect is typically fine if that’s your only option.

Best practices for redirects

Redirects can get complicated. To help you along, here are a few best practices to keep in mind if you’re involved in SEO.

Redirect HTTP to HTTPS

Everyone should be using HTTPS at this stage. It gives your site an extra layer of security, and it’s a small Google ranking factor.

There are a couple of ways to check that your site is properly redirecting from HTTP to HTTPS. The first is to install and activate Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar, then try to navigate to the HTTP version of your homepage. It should redirect, and you should see a 301 response code on the toolbar.

A Simple But Complete Guide

The problem with this method is you may see a 307 if your site uses HSTS. So here’s another method:

  1. Go to Ahrefs’ Site Audit
  2. Click + New Project
  3. Click Add manually
  4. Change the Scope to HTTP
  5. Enter your domain

You should see the “Not crawlable” error for both the www and non-www versions of your homepage, along with the “301 moved permanently” notification.

Checking for redirects in Ahrefs' Site Audit

If there isn’t a redirect in place or you’re using a type of redirect other than 301 or 308, it’s probably worth asking your developer to switch to 301.

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Whichever method you use, it’s worth repeating it for a few pages so that you can be confident proper redirects are in place across your site.

Use HSTS (to create 307 redirects)

Implementing HSTS (HTTP Strict Transport Security) on your server stops people from accessing non-secure (HTTP) content on your site. It does this by telling browsers that your server only accepts secure connections and that they should do an internal 307 redirect to the HTTPS version of any HTTP resource they’re asked to access.

This isn’t a substitute for 301 or 302 redirects, and it’s not strictly necessary if those are properly set up on your site. However, we argue that it’s best practice these days—even if just to speed things up a bit for users.

Learn more: Strict-Transport-Security — Mozilla

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After implementing HSTS, consider submitting your site to the HSTS preload list. This enables HSTS for everyone trying to visit your website—even if they haven’t visited it before.

Avoid meta refresh redirects

Meta refresh redirects aren’t ideal, so it’s worth checking your site for these and replacing them with either a 301 or 302 redirect. You can do this easily enough with a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account. Just crawl your site with Site Audit and look for the “meta refresh redirect” error.

1641314976 339 A Simple But Complete Guide

If you then click the error and hit “View affected URLs,” you’ll see the URLs with meta refresh redirects.

Redirect deleted pages to relevant working alternatives (where possible)

Redirecting URLs makes sense when you move content, but it also often makes sense to redirect when you delete content. This is because seeing a “404 not found” error isn’t ideal when a user tries to access a deleted page. It’s often more user friendly to redirect them to a relevant working alternative.

For example, we recently revamped our blog category pages. During the process, we deleted a few categories, including “Outreach & Content Promotion.” Rather than leave this as a 404, we redirected it to our “Link Building” category, as it’s a closely related working alternative.

You can’t do this every time, as there isn’t always a relevant alternative. But if there is, doing so also has the benefit of preserving and transferring PageRank (authority) from the redirected page to the alternative resource.

Most sites will already have some dead or deleted pages that return a 404 status code. To find these, sign up for a free Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account, crawl your site with Site Audit, go to the Internal pages report, then look for the “4XX page” error:

1641314976 952 A Simple But Complete Guide

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Enable “backlinks” as a source when setting up your crawl. This will allow Site Audit to find deleted pages with backlinks, even if there are no internal links to the pages on your site.

Crawl sources in Ahrefs' Site Audit

To see the affected pages, click the error and hit “View affected URLs.” If you see a lot of URLs, click the “Manage columns” button, add the “Referring domains” column, then sort by referring domains in descending order. You can then tackle the 404s with the most backlinks first.

404s with backlinks in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Avoid long redirect chains

Redirect chains are when multiple redirects take place between a requested resource and its final destination.

What a redirect chain looks like

Google’s official documentation says that it follows up to 10 redirect hops, so any redirect chains shorter than that aren’t really a problem for SEO.

Googlebot follows up to 10 redirect hops. If the crawler doesn’t receive content within 10 hops, Search Console will show a redirect error in the site’s Index Coverage report.

However, long chains still slow things down for users, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.

You can find long redirect chains for free using Ahrefs Webmaster Tools:

  1. Crawl your site with Site Audit
  2. Go to the Redirects report
  3. Click the Issues tab
  4. Look for the “Redirect chain too long” error
1641314978 243 A Simple But Complete Guide

Click the issue and hit “View affected URLs” to see URLs that begin a redirect chain and all the URLs in the chain.

Redirect chain URLs in Ahrefs' Site Audit

Avoid redirect loops

Redirect loops are infinite loops of redirects that occur when a URL redirects to itself or when a URL in a redirect chain redirects back to a URL earlier in the chain.

What a redirect loop looks like

They’re problematic for two reasons:

  • For users –They cut off access to an intended resource and trigger a “too many redirects” error in the browser.
  • For search engines – They “trap” crawlers and waste the crawl budget.

The simplest way to find redirect loops is to crawl your site with a tool like Ahrefs’ Site Audit. You can do this for free with an Ahrefs Webmaster Tools account.

  1. Crawl your site with Site Audit
  2. Go to the Redirects report
  3. Click the Issues tab
  4. Look for the “Redirect loop” error
1641314978 243 A Simple But Complete Guide

If you then click the error and click “View affected URLs,” you’ll see a list of URLs that redirect, as well as all URLs in the chain:

Redirect chain URLs in Ahrefs' Site Audit

The best way to fix a redirect loop depends on whether the last URL in the chain (before the loop) is the intended final destination.

If it is, remove the redirect from the final URL. Then make sure the resource is accessible and returns a 200 status code.

How to fix a redirect loop when the final URL is the intended final destination

If it isn’t, change the looping redirect to the intended final destination.

How to fix a redirect loop when the final URL isn't the intended final destination

In both cases, it’s good practice to swap out any internal links to remaining redirects for direct links to the final URL.

Final thoughts

Redirects for SEO are pretty straightforward. You’ll be using server-side 301 and 302 redirects most of the time, depending on whether the redirect is permanent or temporary. However, there are some nuances to the way Google treats 301s and 302s, so it’s worth reading these two guides if you’re facing issues:

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.




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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

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11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check Plagiarism

Are you certain that the content you’re publishing on your website is 100% original?

Steering clear of plagiarism is a top priority for content creators, educators, businesses, and others in order to maintain credibility and avoid legal issues – among other things.

While Copyscape has long been one of the most well-known and popular options for plagiarism checking, the range of available tools has expanded significantly, with various features designed to meet people’s unique needs.

In this article, we will cover the basics of plagiarism – what it is, why you should check for it, how to check, and what to do if someone plagiarizes your content – before highlighting some of the top alternatives to Copyscape, helping you keep your content unique and valuable.

What Is Plagiarism? 

Plagiarism is when you use someone else’s work, whether words or ideas, and present it as your own without proper attribution.

Plagiarism can range from directly copying someone’s work to closely paraphrasing something without acknowledging the source. Sometimes, it’s purposeful, while other times, the perpetrator might not even realize they’re doing it.

Regardless of intent, plagiarism is a widespread problem that is difficult to combat – but the first step is detecting it.

Why It’s Important To Check For Plagiarism

The consequences of plagiarism can be severe – you can lose credibility, harm your reputation, and even face legal repercussions.

Here are a few reasons why it’s essential to check for (and avoid) plagiarism:

  • Prevent legal problems. Engaging in plagiarism or copyright infringement can expose you to a range of potential legal issues.
  • Maintain your reputation. Trust is vital. But why should audiences trust you if you’re stealing somebody else’s work? Checking for plagiarism is crucial to preserving your reputation and trust with your audience or customers.
  • Preserve your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines are actively trying to crack down on plagiarism and will penalize any plagiarized content. This can hurt your website’s ranking and visibility.

How You Can Check For Plagiarism

There are a handful of different ways to check for plagiarism, including:

  • Manual checks. This is precisely what it sounds like: manually reviewing content for plagiarism by cross-checking text using search engines and academic databases. If you’re examining a small chunk of text, this can work, but it can get unwieldy fast.
  • Use alerts. It’s possible to create your own plagiarism checker by setting up Google Alerts. Simply enter your content into the search query field and let Google know how frequently you want it to alert you of copied content. While not a totally accurate or complete method, it can be effective at times.
  • Monitoring services. You can use existing tools that help flag unauthorized use of your content. They do so by scanning the internet and leveraging algorithms to detect plagiarized content.
  • Online plagiarism checker tools. Software and tools designed specifically to analyze content and run a comprehensive check for plagiarism.

While checking text for direct plagiarism is one thing, identifying paraphrased content or ideas is much more complicated.

And while we will highlight many useful tools in this article, it’s worth remembering that no tool is perfect.

With the sheer amount of content available and more being produced and published every second, it’s nearly impossible to complete a full check. Hence, why plagiarism is an ongoing issue.

What To Do If Someone Plagiarized Your Content

So, what do you do if you discover that somebody else has plagiarized your content? Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Collect evidence. Take screenshots, make notes, and save any URLs as proof of the offense.
  • Contact the perpetrator. As we mentioned earlier, sometimes, plagiarism can be an innocent mistake. No matter the situation, we recommend contacting the offending party and requesting that they either remove your content or label it with the proper attribution.
  • File a complaint. If that doesn’t work, you can file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown complaint, which will send notice to the service provider (e.g., Google or web hosting companies) to remove the content or face legal liability.
  • Seek legal advice. If the case is particularly egregious, or the above steps fail, you can consider speaking with a legal professional.

Top 11 Plagiarism-Checking Alternative Tools To Copyscape

1. Grammarly

Screenshot from Grammarly.com, June 2024

While most people know Grammarly for its spelling and grammar check capabilities, it also offers a useful plagiarism checker tool.

Grammarly’s free plagiarism checker will compare your text (up to 10,000 characters) against academic databases and billions of webpages, then give you an immediate report that lets you know whether it found any plagiarized content.

As a helpful bonus, it will also flag if it finds problems with grammar, spelling, punctuation, conciseness, readability, word choice, or other writing issues.

If you want to take it a step further, Grammarly offers a Premium version of the tool with more advanced capabilities. The paid version will highlight specific sentences of concern, include source information, give you deeper writing feedback, and even allocate your text an “overall originality score.”

Cost

  • Free version available with limited plagiarism detection as well as basic grammar, spelling, etc. checks.
  • Premium Grammarly membership starts at $12/month and includes advanced plagiarism detection.

2. Plagiarisma

Screenshot of Plagiarisma homepage showing a text box for URL input, file upload options, and various supported languages icons. The page includes detailed information about the tool and highlights its effectiveness.Screenshot from Plagiarisma.net, June 2024

If you’re looking for a plagiarism checker that works in several languages, look no further than Plagiarisma. It supports 190+ languages and offers both free and paid versions.

Users can enter text into Plagiarisma in a variety of ways, including uploading documents, entering URLs, or pasting text directly into the tool. Once you’ve shared your copy, it will check it against sources like books, websites (you can choose between Google and Bing as your search engine of choice), and academic papers.

With the free version, users can run plagiarism checks up to three times in one day. You can also upgrade to a Premium membership for access to more features, including a Synonymizer (which helps you leverage synonyms to recreate sentences), a Similarity Checker (which compares documents for similarity), and unlimited access to plagiarism checks.

Cost

  • Free version with up to three plagiarism checks per day.
  • Premium membership starts at $5/month and offers unlimited plagiarism checks and more advanced features.

3. ProWritingAid

1720970763 998 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from ProWritingAid.com, June 2024

Similar to Grammarly, ProWritingAid is an AI-powered writing assistant tool that analyzes your copy and suggests areas for improvement. It also offers a helpful plagiarism checker – and while there is no free version, it’s still reasonably affordable.

According to ProWritingAid, its plagiarism detection tool can compare your text (up to 2,000 words) against billions of sources, both online and offline, including databases, periodicals, and websites.

It will flag directly copied content and give similarity percentages to show areas needing improved paraphrasing or citation.

You can use ProWritingAid’s online editing tool to conduct your check or leverage its Microsoft Word Add-In.

Unlike some other tools, you pay for ProWritingAid based on the number of checks you want to conduct versus a monthly or yearly subscription – so that is worth noting, and might be a benefit if you only have a specific number of documents you need to look at.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • Pricing starts at $10 for 10 checks, $40 for 100 checks, $120 for 500 checks, and $200 for 1,000 checks.

4. Plagiarism Checker

Screenshot of Plagiarism Checker tool showing a text box to insert text, options to check plagiarism via URL, and buttons for grammar checking, paraphrasing, and various other settings.Screenshot from Plagiarism-Checker.me, June 2024

Plagiarism Checker is a fairly straightforward plagiarism detection tool that’s both free and easy to use. If you need a quick and simple option, this is worth checking out.

It boasts a simple user interface and allows users to insert their text directly into the web-based editor, share a URL, or upload a document. You can even denote a URL you want it to exclude, which is a helpful feature if there are particular pages on your site that you want to ignore for now.

Plagiarism Checker scans your text against blogs, websites, and academic papers to detect plagiarism, which it delivers as a percentage. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows, and Android, and supports multiple file formats, including .rtf, .pdf., .docx, .odt, and txt.

Note that there is a limit of 1,000 words per check. The tool also includes a grammar checker and word counter, and you can download the reports it gives you.

Cost

5. CopyGator

Screenshot of CopyGator website explaining how it helps monitor and track content feeds.Screenshot from CopyGator.com, June 2024

CopyGator is a free service designed to help bloggers and content creators monitor and detect duplicate versions of their content on other blogs or websites.

It works by monitoring your website’s RSS feed to see whether content has been republished elsewhere – and automatically notifying you if it finds plagiarism or quotations.

There are two different options for using CopyGator:

  • Image badge: By copying and pasting some code into your site, you can add a CopyGator image badge to your blog that will monitor your feeds for you. When you want to run a check, simply click the badge. If it turns red, CopyGator has detected plagiarized versions of your content.
  • RSS feed: Your other option is to input an RSS feed directly into CopyGator’s tool and ask it to watch the feed. It will create your own custom overview page where you can get updates.

Cost

6. PlagScan

1720970763 752 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from PlagScan.com, June 2024

PlagScan is quite a robust plagiarism detection tool most commonly used by academic institutions and professional writers. One thing to note upfront: There is no free version of this tool.

PlagScan compares your text to a massive database of websites, academic resources, and journals to find plagiarism and compiles a report to help you understand the results.

You’ll receive a PlagLevel score, which summarizes the level of duplicate text found within a document, as well as colored highlighting for possible plagiarism:

  • Red for direct matches.
  • Blue for potentially altered copy.
  • Green for correctly cited text.

With PlagScan, you get a list of sources that match your document to help you with proper citation. You can also compare two documents side-by-side to find similarities. It works with most file types, and your data is protected.

Cost

  • No free version.
  • PlagScan uses a prepaid pricing model based on the number of words/pages. Pricing starts at $6.5 for 6,000 words/24 pages.

7. Copyleaks

Screenshot of the CopyLeaks Plagiarism Detector homepage, displaying highlighted text sections within an example showing potential plagiarized content. Various partner logos are visible below the displayed text.Screenshot from Copyleaks.com, June 2024

Copyleaks is a more sophisticated plagiarism detection tool than many of the options used on this list, making it a popular choice for businesses, educational institutions, and individuals around the world.

According to Copyleaks, it uses “advanced AI” to detect instances of plagiarism across over 100 languages, including paraphrasing, plagiarism in programming code, and even AI-generated plagiarism. Each scan checks content against 60 trillion websites, more than 16,000 journals, over 1 million internal documents, and 20+ code data repositories.

The tool has a very user-friendly interface, allowing you to choose from different types of files you might want to scan – text, documents, code, URLs, etc. You can also use the “compare” option to compare two documents or URLs to each other.

Another handy feature within Copyleaks is the ability to schedule recurring scans so that it will automatically check for duplicate content on a regular basis. It also offers easy and flexible API integration,

Cost

  • Free trial available.
  • Paid plans start at $8.99/month for up to 1,200 credits (equal to 300,000 words). For $13.99/month, you’ll get access to both the plagiarism detection and AI content detection tools in one.

8. Plagium

Screenshot of Plagium's plagiarism detection interface, featuring options for quick search, deep search, and file search with pricing details below. Screenshot from Plagium.com, June 2024

Plagium is a good choice if you’re looking for an easy and cost-effective plagiarism checker. It uses a simple web-based text box and offers both “quick search” and “Deep Search” functions, the latter of which is basically a term for a closer check and the ability to scan large documents.

A quick search is free and allows up to 500 characters – though the website appears to indicate that the number of quick searches is capped. In order to use the Deep Search feature, you’ll need to create an account – and these searches start at $0.08/page using Plagium’s credits system.

As a member, you’re able to upload different types of documents – such as PDFs – and Plagium also integrates with Google Drive and offers a Google Docs Add-on.

Cost

  • Free quick search up to 500 characters.
  • Paid plans start at $9.99/month for over 143,000 characters, with options for prepaid plans if that is more your speed.

9. Dupli Checker

1720970763 634 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from DupliChecker.com, June 2024

Need a free, easy-to-use plagiarism checker that’s available in up to seven languages and accepts a variety of file formats? Dupli Checker could be for you.

Dupli Checker’s simple interface makes it easy to scan your documents for plagiarism. You can paste directly into the website or upload files from your computer, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Like other tools in this list, you can also share a URL you’d like the tool to check, and up to five URLs you want it to exclude.

The tool promises 100% privacy – meaning it doesn’t save any of your documents – and summarizes your results in a report that highlights duplicate copy, gives you a percentage rating, and offers more features like grammar issues.

Cost

  • Free version with up to 1,000 words per search.
  • Paid plans start at $10/month for increased searches, higher word limits, and other advanced features.

10. Quetext

1720970763 386 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from quetext.com, June 2024

Quetext has become a popular plagiarism detection tool, and for good reason. It’s dependable and user-friendly, with some handy little features to help you spot plagiarism in your documents.

How does it work? You just enter your text into the web-based browser box and click “Check for plagiarism.” Quetext then uses its DeepSearch™ Technology (a machine-learning algorithm) to scan your text against billions of internet sources and spot plagiarism.

It provides you with a report that includes a plagiarism score and both exact matches and near matches to other existing text.

It highlights the latter using its ColorGrade™ feedback feature, which uses different colors to highlight exact match copy vs. “fuzzy” matches (or close matches) – a valuable tool for spotting plagiarism that might have otherwise flown under the radar.

It also offers a “Cite Source” feature, which helps you produce citations across Chicago, MLA, and APA formats.

Cost

  • Free version available, which includes up to 500 words, a website citation generator, and a citation assistant.
  • Paid tiers start at $8.80/month, which includes 100,000 words per month and a range of other advanced features.

11. PlagTracker

1720970763 220 11 Copyscape Alternatives To Check PlagiarismScreenshot from Plagtracker.com, June 2024

PlagTracker is an online, web-based plagiarism detector that bills itself as “the most accurate plagiarism checking service.” The tool lists students, teachers, publishers, and site owners as its intended users, and it checks text against over 14 billion webpages and “more than 20 million academic works.”

Using PlagTracker is pretty straightforward. Users upload a document into the tool, which scans it and then returns a detailed report that shows what percentage of their document is plagiarized and highlights specific sections with sources.

It supports multiple languages –English, German, French, Romanian, Spanish, and Italian – making it a versatile tool. PlagTracker has a 5,000-word limit for free users, though you can pay for a Premium membership for unlimited access.

Cost

  • Free version is available with a 5,000-word limit.
  • Premium subscription starts at $7.49/month for unlimited volume and other advanced features.

The Best Plagiarism Detection Tools On The Market

And there you have it: Copyscape is by no means the only option for plagiarism detection tools.

Those listed above are great alternatives that cater to a wide range of use cases, whether you’re looking for a cheap and easy solution or an all-in-one AI-powered writing assistant.

If you’re a content creator of any kind, you must produce work that’s original and unique – and these tools can help you do just that.

However, always remember that these tools are far from perfect; you should have other checks and balances in place to ensure the quality of your work.

Avoiding plagiarism will protect your credibility and reputation and ultimately drive more traffic to your website. Not to mention, it’ll keep you out of trouble.

More resources: 


Featured Image: VectorMine/Shutterstock

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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

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The 11 Best Digital Marketing Courses Free & Paid (2024)

A digital marketing course is a good entry point for anyone wanting a career in SEO or online marketing. It can help to provide a basic knowledge base as a starting point.

You can build many different specialized career paths, and if you’re just starting your career or seeking to understand digital marketing as a business owner, it’s good to get a general overview of the field first.

Of course, actively experimenting and getting experience is the best way to learn SEO and digital marketing.

The following digital marketing courses are listed alphabetically, not in order of quality or value. Each course will provide different benefits, so consider them carefully for your needs.

Free Digital Marketing Courses

Many businesses offer digital marketing courses as part of their digital strategies. If a company wishes to be seen as an expert in the field, offering courses makes sense to improve its reputation and acquire new clients.

These courses are great as a window into the most current digital marketing skills and trends. They’re often taught and developed by practicing experts. However, the quality can vary, so check the credentials and reviews.

1. Google Skillshop Fundamentals Of Digital Marketing

Screenshot from Google Skillshop, May 2024

Google is one of the leading digital companies. For many people, Google is the “face” of the internet and the first point of contact between humans and businesses online.

No matter how you feel about the vast control Google exerts over the internet and how business is done online, it’s one of the best places to start for general marketing knowledge.

The best things about the Skillshop is that it’s accessible, widely recognized, and contains refined content. There’s a lot to dig into, both in terms of digital marketing and Google tools.

Since you will likely encounter Google’s tools for managing websites, it’s a great place to start, and there’s a lot of content to continue your education in whichever way you need.

If you’re interested in search engine optimization or search engine marketing and ads, this is where you should start.

The fundamentals you learn in the Skillshop help you build a skill set around Google’s tools and services. You can also earn displayable certificates and awards when you complete the final assessments.

Experience Level

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals and basics.
  • Step by step on how to take a business online.
  • Search engine optimization and search advertising.
  • Using Google’s tools.

Course Length

Course Features

  • 24 individual modules.
  • Introductions to important Google tools and search concepts.
  • Quizzes after each module and a final assessment.
  • Sharable award of completion.

2. HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing Course

HubSpot Academy Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from HubSpot, May 2024

HubSpot is another big name in digital marketing. It specializes in “inbound” marketing strategies, focusing on activities like customer relationship management and content strategy.

If you’re most interested in the inbound side of marketing, focused on understanding customers and improving how websites contributor to customer acquisition, then this is a great place to start.

Just like with Google, the courses are focused on HubSpot’s specific service areas.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it’s where they have the most expertise to share. Once you have an account with the academy, HubSpot will give you personalized recommendations, which makes sense – personalization is its bread and butter.

By being part of its ecosystem, you’ll get a personalized learning experience. Paying attention to how it moves you through its lessons and content can also be a good lesson for you!

Watching how the pros move you through an inbound platform can be eye-opening if you pay close attention.

While this course is only a few hours long, the HubSpot Academy has many digital marketing courses. It’s a great way to build your own education and continue to gain skills throughout your career.

Experience

Key Learning

Course Length

Course Features

  • Quizzes.
  • Certification.
  • Five languages: English, French, Japanese, Spanish, German.

3. Semrush Academy: Digital Advertising 101

Semrush AcademyScreenshot from Semrush Academy, May 2024

Semrush is one of the biggest tool companies in the SEO space. If you’re interested in getting into SEO research and analytics, this course could be a good starting point.

You can expect this to be a focused course about devising strategies, planning and applying budgets, investigating competitors, and other data-driven activities.

However, the number of guest course instructors means that you can get insights from a variety of industry professionals in different roles and businesses.

Like with the other brand-offered courses, Semrush sticks to its core areas of business so you can expect courses that prepare you for marketing activities covered by its tools.

This, again, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You’re very likely to encounter Semrush in your career if you choose to focus on SEO.

While this individual course is short, the Semrush Academy contains many courses from industry leaders such as Kevin Indig.

There’s lots to dig into, and the variety of expert course instructors is an excellent feature in favor of this option.

Experience

Key Learning

  • Digital advertising strategies.
  • Audience profiling.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Channel selection.
  • Budget allocation.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Video course.
  • Short and accessible.
  • Certification.
  • Jumping off point for more detailed courses in the Semrush Academy.

Paid Digital Marketing Courses

4. Digital Marketing Institute + American Marketing Association Professional Certificate

Digital Marketing InstituteScreenshot from Digital Marketing Institute, May 2024

Unlike the free courses offered by individual marketing companies, the courses from DMI and AMA will be more platform-inclusive and cover a broader range of topics.

You’ll explore modules focused on different tools and marketing activities, allowing you to learn about analytics, social media platforms, content, SEO, and AI.

This sets you up to make informed decisions about where you want to specialize as a marketer.

Companies offering paid courses have an incentive to keep up with current developments and trends, as you can see by the AI-focused module in the screenshot above.

Bear in mind that it’s unlikely a general marketing course will be on the bleeding edge of new technology. As things change, the course needs to be adjusted and re-released. This takes time.

Paid courses are, of course, a much bigger up-front investment. Deciding if they’re worth both the time and money can be difficult.

One of the best ways is to look for reviews and ongoing conversations about the course and the company that offers it. You could even start new conversations on social media platforms and ask other professionals what they think.

This way, you can get more information about the teaching styles, how assessments are conducted, and what people got from the experience.

It’s always best to do this research independently, outside of landing pages. Armed with the direct experiences of people who’ve taken the course, you can decide for yourself if it will fit your learning style and career goals.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • AI.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media marketing.
  • SEO.
  • Paid search and display advertising.
  • Email marketing.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Analytics.
  • Digital marketing strategy.

Course Features

  • Two certifications.
  • Multiple in-depth modules.
  • Live webinars and Q&As.
  • Practice exams.
  • Recently updated with an AI-focused module.

5. Google Digital Marketing & Ecommerce Professional Certificate

Google digital marketing course on CourseraScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

Coursera is an interesting platform. You gain access to courses by paying a monthly fee. So while the courses are paid, you’re not putting a chunk of money down for one individual course. If you try one and don’t like it, then you can try something else.

Note that you can “enroll for free,” which begins a free trial. After the trial ends, you’ll be charged a subscription fee.

The course offered by Google is a great place to start if you’re trying out Coursera. It’s a long course series but still beginner-level. By the end of the free trial, you should know whether the course is worth it for you.

One thing to keep in mind is that the length of the course is not necessarily a selling point for a system designed to charge a monthly fee. Consistently assess the quality of the course and what you’re getting out of it.

Remember that it’s the learning that counts, not the certificate at the end. When you’re paying a subscription, you should avoid the sunk cost fallacy and pivot to new material if what you’re working on feels stale.

Remember to assess the price of the course by calculating the monthly fee against your actual completion rate. The site suggests a three-month completion time, which would cost $177, and would require just over 14 hours per week.

If you only had time for six hours per week, this course would take seven months and cost $413.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 18 to 29 hours per course.
  • 170 total hours.

Course Features

  • Professional training from Google.
  • Certification.
  • Career support.

6. Harvard Business School Online Digital Marketing Strategy

Harvard Business School OnlineScreenshot from Harvard Business School Online, May 2024

Attaining a certification from an educational institution can boost your resume. The other benefit of a course like this is the learning environment.

If you struggle with learning things passively, a course offered by an educational institution is more likely to be prepared and taught by education professionals.

Education is a skill on its own. Courses like this, including faculty and practicing experts, can give you a better learning experience.

Educational institutions are also likely to have learning platforms and community functions to help support you while you learn. In terms of paying up-front for a course, the right educational institution could be a safe bet that you’ll get value out of the experience.

This course highlights practical examples, which tie any theory you learn to real-world situations.

One thing to be wary of is that educational institutions can adapt slowly to digital trends. The value of a course like this will heavily depend on the expert practitioners included.

One thing to note about this course is that it appears to be much more tightly planned than the six-month course we examined above. This isn’t a bad thing.

Concise planning and careful material selection can improve your learning experience, and the people who developed this course likely have experience developing syllabi.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Learn about metrics, objectives, target audiences, and value propositions.
  • Paid, owned, and earned media.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Attribution and calculating value.

Course Length

  • Seven weeks.
  • 6 to 7 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Learn from real-world cases, brands, and business experts.
  • Certificate of completion.
  • Six modules.
  • Community and networking group.

7. Meta Social Media Marketing Professional Certificate

Meta social media marketing certificateScreenshot from Coursera, May 2024

This is another Coursera course, and so it comes with all the same notes we talked about with the Google Coursera course.

Run by Meta, this course focuses on social media, so you’re unlikely to get a broad overview of digital marketing as a whole. But you will get an overview of everything social media and brand management by one of the biggest brands in the industry.

Facebook has proven to be an incredibly enduring platform, and Meta owns other successful platforms and initiatives.

In addition to organic social media topics, you’ll learn about paid advertising. If you want to go into paid media, this would be a very helpful course for you as well.

Again, your mileage will vary depending on the time it takes you to complete the modules and how much time you have available per week.

Unfortunately, not all of this course’s modules give you time estimates. So, I would consider saving this one for after you have made a decision about whether Coursera as a platform is worth it for you.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Social media marketing.
  • Brand management.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media paid advertising.

Course Length

  • Six-course series.
  • 10 to 20 hours per course.
  • Not all courses have exact hour estimates.

Course Features

  • Certification.
  • 22 languages.
  • Career resources upon completion.
  • Degree credit eligible (earn credits toward degrees from participating institutions).

8. NYU Continuing Education: Digital Marketing

NYU Digital Marketing CourseScreenshot from NYU Digital Marketing Course, May 2024

Note: Courses fill up quickly, so you may need to wait for a new semester.

This course is very much structured like a traditional college course but with open enrollment.

More structured like a college course than the Harvard course above, you will get many of the benefits that come with formal education.

The courses are organized into sections with limited slots, which means they’ve planned for a certain number of learners and their needs. It’s going to be more interactive than a more free-form course taught with videos.

These courses are live and offered at specific times over the course of a semester. The benefits of this can be huge, as you’ll be participating in live lectures and learning.

You’ll have a community of other students to collaborate with, and your instructor may be available directly during certain times.

The disadvantage of this structure is that the course may not work with your schedule, and you won’t be able to learn at your own pace. This is a strict commitment if you want to make it worth the money.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

  • $400 to $1,000 per course.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing strategies and tools.
  • Audience development and consumer analysis.
  • Branding.
  • Multimedia marketing channels.

Course Length

  • Each course is one semester long.

Course Features

  • Five courses to choose from.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

9. Wharton University Of Pennsylvania Digital Marketing Certificate

Wharton University online digital marketing cert programScreenshot from Wharton University, May 2024

The Wharton program is another course offered by a college that comes with a certificate. Getting a certificate at the end can be a draw for your resume if you don’t have much relevant or recent experience.

You can enroll in this course immediately, and it’s a small weekly time commitment, which makes it perfect if you’re already busy.

On the other hand, it’s quite expensive compared to the other courses on this list, and since it’s an on-demand course, you won’t have access to the same college-style benefits of the NYU courses.

This course focuses more heavily on business and business management than others in terms of content. This could be great if you need to brush up on your business fundamentals, but it may not be ideal if you have business chops and want to really focus on digital marketing.

It does prioritize analysis, and a course from a college with a strong business background will definitely be a good candidate for improving your data analysis skills. If you’re heading into a data-focused career, this course could be perfect.

Experience

  • Beginner to intermediate.

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing fundamentals.
  • Ecommerce.
  • Metrics and metric analysis.
  • Research and analysis.

Course Length

  • Six weeks.
  • 3 to 5 hours per week.

Course Features

  • Four courses in the certificate program.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.
  • Certification.

10. UCLA Extension Digital Marketing Course

UCLA Extension digital marketing course.Screenshot from UCLA Extension, May 2024

Note: Make sure you’re applying for the online course if you can’t attend an in-person course.

Much like the NYU course, this is a more traditional college-level course. It is priced and organized consistently with other college-level courses. Don’t look at the price on this one and assume it’s not as valuable because it’s cheaper.

The online version of this course has no scheduled meeting times, which makes it slightly more accessible than the NYU course. But it’s still organized, very much like a college course.

It’s also taught by a marketing executive, so it’s another “best of both worlds” situation – college-level learning with the insights of an industry expert.

You can even check out the course syllabus at the bottom of the page to give you an idea of the content it will cover, as well as the books you’ll learn from.

While it doesn’t give you a breakdown of hours per week, you can get a very good sense of what you’ll learn over the course of the 11 weeks.

Experience

Price

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing introduction and overview.
  • Digital marketing strategy.
  • Developing KPIs and monitoring metrics.

Course Length

Course Features

  • Apply this course toward a certificate or specialization from UCLA.
  • Four units.
  • Courses taught by professional faculty.
  • College-caliber learning without having to commit to a degree.

11. University Of Illinois Digital Marketing Specialization

University of Illinois digital marketing course.Screenshot from University of Illinois, May 2024

To finish our list, we have a college offering a course through Coursera. Like the other Coursera courses, this is split into a series of sub-courses. Most of the sub-courses are in the 20-hour range.

Like the others, the actual “price” of this course will depend on your weekly availability and completion rate. With the four-month estimate, this costs $236. If you only do six hours per week, it will cost $354 and take six months.

This course series provides a robust overview of general concepts and is ideal if you are brand new to digital marketing or marketing in general. The first modules start from the beginning and take you through the inception and development of digital marketing.

If you view the series of courses, you can see that this series is planned methodically and that you will build knowledge and skills in an intuitive way.

First, it introduces analytics theory, and then the next module covers analytics in practice. This kind of organization will help you fully grasp the core concepts and then walk you through applying them in practice.

This course would be a great place for you to begin your journey, and it might even be worth it if you already know some of the more basic concepts for the way in which it organizes and presents the material.

Like the Google Coursera course, this would be a great candidate to spend your free trial on.

Experience

Price

  • The “enroll for free” option begins a free trial period. After the 7-day free trial, the cost is $59 per month.

Key Learning

  • Digital marketing basics.
  • Planning and measuring digital marketing.
  • Content marketing.
  • Social media.
  • Marketing channels.
  • Data gathering and analysis.

Course Length

  • Seven courses.
  • 13 to 28 hours per course.
  • 145 total hours.

Course Features

  • Seven courses, including basic principles, data and analytics, and digital media.
  • Certification.
  • 22 languages available.
  • Regular assessments.

Digital Marketing Courses FAQ

What Kind Of Digital Marketing Course Should I Take?

Digital marketing courses can help you learn the core concepts that you can apply to any specific skill set.

They are offered at various lengths – some with certifications, and some without. Some are offered by colleges with open enrollment.

The core factors you should consider are:

  • What you’ll learn from the course: Is the description specific about what you’ll get from the experience?
  • Price: Free courses can be high-quality, but they tend to be short and lack interactivity. Paid courses offered by colleges will likely have the most support and community.
  • Certification and credit: Certifications can be helpful to share, but focus on the value the course offers to you first. Some courses can be used toward college credits, which is helpful if you are seeking a degree or professional certification from a college.
  • Hands-on work and real-world examples: Courses that offer learning by doing and seeing theory in action can have much more value.

Why Digital Marketing Courses Matter

There’s a lot of information out there for free. With enough research, you could learn most of the theoretical concepts yourself without giving up your money or your data.

But this can be time-consuming, and self-guided learning isn’t always the best solution. It’s easy to get inaccurate information or hit roadblocks.

Courses, especially those led by professional educators, give you a structured environment, resources, and sometimes community.

The right course could be the best way to reach your goals.

More Digital Marketing Course Overviews From SEJ


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Holistic Search 2.0: Optimizing and Measuring Organic and Paid Performance

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