By Laura Pennington
About two years ago, I became aware of Novus Scan, which is an excellent tool that has helped me as I have grown my freelance business. As a freelance writer and content creator, you might be asked to regularly create large volumes of copy about similar or nearly identical subjects. Whenever you're writing several pieces of content about similar topics, it can be easy to have several similarities between different articles. Novus Scan is designed to specifically help make sure that all of your content is original from each other, and helps to identify overlapping phrases and sentences.
Although Novus Scan (by Terra Novus Labs) is still a relatively unknown piece of software, it's a powerful tool for helping you help yourself. As a freelance writer, it's important to be sure you don't duplicate yourself. If you're working on a large project with a high volume of content similar to one another, you'll want to be sure that all pieces are sufficiently different from each other. Though a tool like Copyscape is great for ensuring that your content is distinct from other pages on the web, if you have batches of content that you're considering sending to your client, Copyscape won't catch any duplicates among the batch, since it's not online yet. This is where Novus Scan comes in handy.
Novus Scan Pricing
15.99 (one-time fee)
Using Novus Scan for Better Optimization and Originality
I had a client ask me to write several criminal law pages targeting the various cities, counties and regions within his state. Each of these singular website pages would address the same general issues, such as why you would hire a criminal defense lawyer, how to identify the right criminal defense lawyer for your case, and the types of situations that would lead you to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
Each of these pages, however, would need to be 100% unique. While great freelance tools like Copyscape help to ensure that content you produce is not identical to or similar to content already existing on the web, this required another additional layer of software to make sure that I didn't accidentally copy myself.
It goes without saying that writing 30 to 50 pages on the exact same topic but targeting different keywords and geographic areas would be difficult. Admittedly, I probably had the tendency to use the same general concepts and terms as I went along, and since all of the content would be submitted to the client at the same time, I wouldn't be able to use the benefits of Copyscape to ensure I hadn't duplicated myself.
Using Novus Scan
Novus Scan is a great tool that I was introduced to that helped to ensure that every piece of content I created was completely unique even before it was published on the internet. Novus Scan may also be appropriate or bloggers and content managers who are hoping to ensure that they don't repeat themselves unnecessarily.
These phrases and terms can come up accidentally when you're spending a great deal of time writing about related subjects and you're unlikely to catch it because this falls so naturally into your typing or thought patterns that these identical phrases and words might not jump out at you without some additional help. Here's where Novus Scan comes in.
Developing a Solid Database in Novus Scan
Novus Scan allows you to create a database of content to reflect back on. Each time that you create a new document, you can add it to the content library inside your Novus Scan account.
Adding one new piece means that it will be run for possible duplication errors and similar phrases in every other piece of content you've added to the library. This means that in order to be successful with Novus Scan, you'll need to add each piece of content that you want to verify is completely original into the library itself.
One of the easiest ways I have found to do this is to add all of my content at the same time and then run a report. Most of the time, you should get a result that your content is not similar or not identical. However, in the event that Novus Scan detects similar content between different pieces of copy, it will highlight the portions of your content that needs to be updated because it references something else.
Here's an example of what my database looks like when I open Novus Scan:
Once materials are inside my database, the software will run every new piece I add against everything else inside. This means that I can ensure I don't copy myself over the course of months or even years!
Here's what happens when you do duplicate yourself:
To be clear, Novus Scan is a tool that should be used in conjunction with Copyscape. Whereas Copyscape is useful for making sure that your new content is original compared to other websites, Novus Scan helps to ensure that your new content is sufficiently different from all of your other content in your Novus Scan database.
Novus Scan is also a valuable tool for academic writers and editors who want to verify that the same material has not been referenced more than once, so as to be repetitive in a particular piece.
Unfortunately, since Novus Scan is a piece of software that you must download (and so is not web-based), if you have content written across different devices or laptops, you'll have a separate Novus Scan database for each device. This is in contrast to web-based tools, like Dropbox, where your Dropbox account is the same whether you log on through your mobile phone or laptop. If you are like me and use multiple computers to complete your projects, you'll need to ensure that the differently installed versions of Novus Scan on your devices sync up. This means that a project uploaded on my laptop will not necessarily cross over to the Novus Scan version I have saved on my desktop. To avoid this scenario, I run Novus Scan only on one computer, and if that computer doesn't contain a specific piece of content that I want to include in my Novus Scan article, I'll transfer the article to that computer.
One benefit to Novus Scan being completely offline (rather than web-based), is that you don't need to upload documents to the internet—your Novus Scan database is completely local to your own computer. This is especially important if your documents contain sensitive information that you want to keep private, or that you're concerned about being leaked online.
How I Use Novus Scan
I choose to use my laptop since that's the computer I will almost always have on me when I am traveling, and I often use it when I am at home as well. Thanks to installing Novus Scan on my laptop, whenever I'm completing a large project, I can evaluate whether or not I have accidentally duplicated myself and take necessary precautions to remove that duplication before submitting it to the client. This saves me a lot of headaches and problems after the fact.
Without Novus Scan, the only way to discover that you might have duplication issues in large sets of content or in much longer pieces is to publish it and then run that on a search through Copyscape. This requires many more steps than is truly necessary because the use of the software Novus Scan helps you to clarify whether or not this duplication has occurred before it even goes live. It takes one less step off of your plate in the publication process and gives you an opportunity to rectify problems and issues before any pieces are turned in to a client.
Novus Scan, much like Copyscape, can be positioned as a major selling point to clients who want to be sure that each piece you turn in is completely unique and original. You will most frequently come into contact with these types of projects like the one I mentioned above in which a person wants multiple pages on the same or similar topics but with different focal points, such as geographic areas.
Novus Scan is the perfect tool to verify that you have covered all necessary issues without copying yourself and gives you the freedom to create higher volumes of content.
Novus Scan is also extremely affordable at $15.99. It's most commonly used by teachers and professors wanting to make sure that text is not copied across materials provided to students, but you can leverage this when creating your own blog or delivering written materials to clients.
Laura Pennington is a freelance SEO writer working with law firms across the country. She's also worked for companies like Microsoft and TrueCar helping to build teams of digital freelancers. She blogs at Six Figure Writing Secrets.