Article Spinning, Another Bad Idea

In one of the recent posts I did I talked about blog networks and why they should be avoided as Google has numerous ways of figuring out the network. Just this morning I got one of those spam mails regarding a new software that is going to “revolutionize” the link building sphere. I wouldn’t pay any attention to it, but the person sending the email was someone I knew as a person who wouldn’t advertise such crap, so it got my attention.


Next step, look up the software in question, go through reviews, find open discussion on IM forums and see what people are saying. Needless to say after reading everything that person dropped in my eyes and is now marked as spam, so no more mails from him. What is the deal, like any other link building software that is spamming your mailbox this one also relies on spinning articles. To make it worse it publishes the spinning articles on blog networks. Anyway, the topic in question is not the software or the blog networks, but spinning, and why you should avoid it, especially now in 2012 and onward.

I know that most small business don’t have enough money to hire a company to manage their internet marketing and SEO, but spending money on article marketing and spinning is not going to work either. In fact it may have a reversed effect and ruin a business. It doesn’t matter the reason why you are spinning your articles, for your own sites, for article directories or blog networks, to have content or to build links, it’s a bad idea.

First of all, any spinning will reduce the quality of the original article, no matter how good the spinner or spinner software is. Using various synonyms is just going to make it even harder to read. You can advocate that it’s for links only and not for users, doesn’t matter, Google has advanced in scanning content and it has a good idea what good and bad are. Not to mention that it will easily find out the duplicate content across the web, not just duplicate, but every similar as well.

The second thing why spinning will get you nowhere in the long run is because it limits where you can place your articles. If you want to get some benefit from the links the content needs to be of quality and needs to be placed on a website that will pass some authority and traffic. No decent blog owner will publish a spun article as it will be noticed in the first few sentences that something is wrong with it. So that leaves you with 3 options, blog networks, article directories and your own sites, which will not give the desired results.

Most of the article directories already took a hit and can no longer pass link juice, the editorial is low and the crap content is piling up. The few remaining article directories that can boast about some quality will reject the article. Blog networks, even if they are of quality now, once they start publishing the crap you submit there they will soon lose their authority and your site will go down as well. Your own sites, what’s the point, just to have content there, they will not rank, they will not pass any value as well.

One thing that you got right with the idea of article spinning and marketing is that content marketing is what you should be doing, but you got the wrong idea on how to implement it. First you need quality on your own site, whether it is an offer, product, tutorial or video, doesn’t matter. The next thing you need is high quality, no mark that, amazing quality content that will be published on remarkable sites that will pass link juice for years and years to come. For that you don’t need to invest in article spinners or crappy content by the pound, the same amount of time can be invested in writing few exceptional articles that can easily be published on high authority sites. The result, you may not see the quick rise in ranks as article spinning on blog networks may bring temporarily, but you will get constant rise of rankings, traffic and authority in your market that will be here to stay.

Zac is a link building specialist and a seasoned SEO professional. He manages a team of link builders and actively promotes some of Australia's biggest brands. Zac is an active blogger and also maintains Dejan SEO's news and updates section.

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20 thoughts on “Article Spinning, Another Bad Idea

  1. Couldn’t agree more. It’s the difference between building a network for the sake of rankings or building a business for the sake of customers. I know which one I would prefer to build and will be around in the long run!

  2. I am not sure I entirely agree as far as the adverse effects go, Zac.

    True, Google might sniff out those links eventually and won’t count them, but it should negatively affect your site in the long run.

    After all, that would open the door for my competitors to throw a bunch of useless links at my sites in hopes of hurting my rankings.

  3. I have seen some pretty severe penalties on the basis of backlink profile alone. Article spinning is a top candidate as Google is on a mission to battle index-bloat and web-fluff. And no competitors cannot do that as it requires more than just a few links here and there to be successful at such anti-SEO campaign. You would need to spend time and money and help them along the way. Once they get penalised they have an option of explaining what happened to Google and o out of jail quickly. Who’s lost time and money? The saboteur.

  4. I know someone who makes over ten thousand a month (VERIFIED) with just adsense who “spins like a top”. But then again just because ARod can play major league baseball like a pro doesn’t mean any of you can or should try to hit a 95MPH fastball.

  5. Very Good post Zac, but Where we can publish this high quality content that you mentioned? I mean apart from our own website. What high authority sites do you mean?

  6. It wasn’t article samurai by any chance was it? (the latest offering from the Australian company that makes market samurai. It’s been getting very popular with small businesses)

    While article spinning is obviously bad, the real question for me is whether article syndication is a good idea or not. If you ignore the fact that higher quality websites are unlikely to accept syndicated articles over original guest articles, should Google give as much value to links gained in this manner?

  7. I echo Nick Morris question – was the article syndication model using Article Samurai as guide? 

    Conventional article marketing seems to have lost its luster of late. Now that G+ and social shares are becoming a more important SEO metric, i am advising clients to amp-up their content contributions to sites like SlideShare, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the like.

  8. It’s rather straightforward. Google has a “what’s best for the user” philosophy and article spinning isn’t good for users. No matter what you do producing rubbish repetitive content will not benefit anyone and Google will go against that. We’ve seen that in Panda algorithm.

  9. Philosophy is fine, but building an algorithm for a philosophy isn’t that easy at all. Google is smart, but still not so mighty to recognize even a lot simpler manipulations than article spinning. So I claim that they will never find a way to distinguish between spinned and normal article, but they will improve to follow the user response on articles and kinda guess what is good and what rubbish content. But this is a narrow road, because like seen in Panda, you can overdue with such ratings and do harm to good sites. Please don’t see Google as a little God, please do not care for all the things Google “might be doing”, just do honest work and you don’t have to fear Google at all.

  10. I agree with you in one aspect and that is that they are not completely able to understand content on a semantic level. But…

    “…but they will improve to follow the user response on articles and kinda guess what is good and what rubbish content.”

    You seem to believe that “the algorithm” is just machine perception and pure AI. What falls into Google’s algorithm is beyond that and they use far greater number of signals than that including social mentions, reactions, copying, referencing, citations, temporal and other factors. They all are part of the algorithm, not outside of it.

    Have a read of some of Google’s research involved in building their algorithm: me know if you change your mind about their capabilities for today, and more importantly – to come.

    “Please don’t see Google as a little God, please do not care for all the things Google “might be doing”, just do honest work and you don’t have to fear Google at all.”

    The point of the above article or my comment is not to glorify Google’s power, but to set webmasters and SEO professionals on a sustainable path of thinking. From what I see you agree with that. Google is a dominant search engine (call it God if you like) and I will pay very close attention to everything they are (and might be) doing, test it – and decide on the best way forward. That’s what I do for living.

  11. Neil and Nick, no, it’s not Article Samurai, first time I hear of it, but I’m guessing it’s not different from the one that inspired me to write the post. 

    As for article syndication, if you look at it like content marketing focusing on original and quality posts offered to bloggers than the industry is blooming, if you still want to rely on Ezines that will get syndicated and posted on hundreds of blogs you will be spreading crap content, and Google will react to that content the same way a user would. Maybe they can’t still see the clear difference between an original and one spinned article, but with spinning it tends to go a lot more than just one article, so it’s easy for Google to see the odd couple and devalue any links coming from those crappy pages.

  12. I’ll try to focus on the topic. My claim – Google can’t recognize a spinned article. Using it in cases you don’t have time or the niche market is so narrow, can not harm, but will not give a big effect. Using it for you main website or for marketing promotion purposes is a bad idea, because of user response, not because of fact that the article is spinned and could be detected by Google.

  13. Thanks for the reply Zac. I have a follow up question though… what about writing a high quality article then, without spinning it, getting it syndicated on hundreds of sites. Is this a good way to build links?

    FYI I’ve argued that its not but there are many out there that disagree with me.

  14. Well, you will get the benefit of a quality article that is posted on a high authority domain, or wherever you decide to post it. As for the syndicated pieces, well, that is something for an argument. I would say you might get a few links at the most, the rest will be ignored. 

    The worst and the best part is that you cannot control where the syndicated content will go, so that may be a good thing or a bad thing in the end. Personally, I would never rely on syndication for backlinks, for mentions and promotion of a brand sure, but concentrating on the high quality piece and one website to publish it is the way I would go about it. Too many benefits of doing it the good way to outline in one comment :)

  15. {Theres article spinning and theres article spinning. You are using flat word spinning here as an example, but paragraph and sentence spinning done by a person is undetectable and reads perfectly. Obviously Google understands semantics and synonyms, but what if you were to spin on a higher level?
    Not all article spinning is the same. In your article I feel that you are talking about spinning single words and synonyms. You can however spin articles on a higher level with paragraphs and sentences. When you spin an article like this, it reads perfectly and still often receives organic clicks and shares. Google would be able to pick apart flat level word spins, but probably not when hand spun to these levels}^ case in point.

  16. I have to thank you for this article. Building a small business is challenging online when traffic is the source that will make or break the business. Taking shortcuts by many has put a huge amount of poor quality articles spattered throughout the internet which I find frustrating for research reasons. The other reason is when so many people are spinning articles for the goal of linking it ruins the reputation of marketers just trying to get content seen. It is almost like you have to over prove yourself to make up for the shadow left from the multitude of crap. Just my two cents.

  17. Hi Zac, this is an eye-opening article for SEOs all around the world. With the new Panda & Penguin updates, it has become essential for us to understand that no tweaks will work. We have to write and optimize for our readers. Only when we have gained the trust and confidence of our readers that Google and other search engines will follow suit. Thanx once again.