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Article Spinning – When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Article Spinning - When Imitation is NOT the Sincerest Form of Flattery

So, What is Article Spinning?

Article spinning, which can also be known as content spinning’, is a technique used to create multiple versions of an existing piece of content by rephrasing or rewriting the original text. The goal is to produce new content that is unique and search engine optimised (SEO). There’s a difference between using other articles as sources of inspiration and crudely just reproducing other people’s content on your site. As article spinning can create problems for you, it is important to understand what it is and how to avoid it.

Is Article Spinning Good or Bad for SEO?

Getting straight to the point, article spinning can have negative consequences for SEO.

Apart from accusations of plagiarism, it very often results in low-quality, poorly written content. At the time of writing, search engines (Google included) are increasingly focussed on presenting high quality search results that are original, unique, accurate, informative, entertaining and meet a users search intent. In fact, a recent Google algorithm update was named the ‘Helpful Content’ algorithm update, if ever there was a clue in a name!

Search engines like Google are pro-active in dealing with attempts to cheat, and in regard to article spinning, use algorithms specifically to detect and penalise websites that use duplicate or low-quality content. Additionally, spinning articles can also negatively affect user experience as it may contain grammatical errors and can be difficult to read. It’s important to create high-quality, original content to improve your website’s visibility and user engagement.

This might be a good time to share another useful link, as we suggest you should be familiar with Google’s Guidelines for a search friendly web site which shares how google finds, indexes and ranks a website.

For the avoidance of doubt, article spinning is considered black hat SEO, if you’d like to know more about black hat SEO, here’s a link to our article on White, Grey and Black hat SEO.

You’ll maybe sense we’re not fans of this tactic.

An Example of Article Spinning is Worth a Thousand Words…

If you don’t quite get the concept so far, let’s see if an example helps to explain article spinning;

Original Article:

“Dogs are a man’s best friend. They are loyal, loving, and make great companions. Whether you’re going for a walk in the park or just lounging at home, having a dog by your side can make life more enjoyable. They are also great at providing security and protection for their owners.”

Spun Article:

“Canines are a human’s closest companion. They are faithful, adoring and make wonderful friends. Regardless of whether you’re strolling in the recreation centre or just unwinding at home, having a canine close by can make life more pleasant. They are additionally extraordinary at giving security and assurance for their proprietors.”

Hopefully you can now see, the spun article uses synonyms to rephrase the original text, but still conveys the same information. However, the spun article contains grammatical errors and may not be as clear and easy to read as the original.

How is Article Spinning Different from Plagiarism?

Article spinning is not the same as plagiarism, but it does flirt with plagiarism.

Wikipedia defines plagiarism as follows;

Plagiarism is the fraudulent representation of another person’s language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions as one’s own original work. While precise definitions vary, depending on the institution, such representations are generally considered to violate academic integrity and journalistic ethics as well as social norms of learning, teaching, research, fairness, respect and responsibility in many cultures.

Ouch, not a lot of scope for misunderstanding that! Simply put, it is the act of using someone else’s work or ideas and presenting them as your own without giving proper credit.

Whereas, article spinning, is the act of rephrasing or rewriting existing content in an attempt to create new versions.

While article spinning is not plagiarism, it can still be considered unethical and can have negative consequences for SEO, a lesser crime maybe?

Search engines have algorithms specifically designed to detect duplicated content, for genuine reasons.  An author may legitimately publish, or share, their content in multiple websites, forums, journals etc, and the search engines need to know who owns the original article and where the original article can be found, so they can index this and present the correct URL in search results.

Search engines can detect duplicate content including spun articles, and penalise websites that use it. Additionally, using spun articles can also be a violation of copyright law if you do not have permission to use the original content. It is always best to create original content or use others work with proper citation and permission.

How is Article Spinning Different from Paraphrasing?

Article spinning and paraphrasing are very similar in that they both involve rephrasing or rewording existing text. However, there are a few key differences between the tactics;

Paraphrasing is the act of rephrasing or rewording text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning and intent of the content. Paraphrasing is used to shorten a piece, improve readability, provide a different perspective, or to make the content more accessible to a different audience. When paraphrasing, it’s important to maintain the original context and to give credit to the original source.

Article spinning, on the other hand, is the act of rephrasing text in a way that changes its meaning or intent. The goal of article spinning is to create new, unique content that can be used for SEO or other purposes. Article spinning often involves using synonyms, reordering sentences, or changing the structure of the original text.

In general, paraphrasing is considered a legitimate technique to improve the readability and understanding of the content while content spinning is often considered as a black hat SEO technique as it aims to deceive the search engine and generate low quality content.

Is Article Spinning Legal & Ethical?

The ethical considerations of content spinning are debatable, as it depends on how the content is being used and the intent behind it.

As you would expect, using content spinning to create low-quality, duplicate content for the purpose of deceiving search engines or tricking users is generally considered unethical. It violates the guidelines of search engines and can harm the user experience by providing them with low-quality, unoriginal content.

On the other hand, if the content spinning is done to improve readability or to make the content more accessible to a different audience, it can be considered as a legitimate technique. However, it’s still really important to give credit to the original source and to not misrepresent the original content, in essence acknowledge how you created the content.

Overall, creating original content is considered the best practice, it is not only ethical but also beneficial for SEO and user engagement. Creating unique and high-quality content will help your website to rank higher in the search engine results, which will ultimately help you to achieve your goals.

Also, remember, you have a style, a ‘tone’ of voice, it’s not likely that content created using a spinning tactic will present as though you have written or produced it.  Moreover – maybe you wish to adopt a separate ‘tone’ of voice – more professional, strict or maybe funny, you can easily apply this to your own writing, but much hard to spin other people’s content to alter its tone of voice.

Article Spinning in Summary

Article spinning is a technique used to create multiple versions of an existing piece of content by rephrasing or rewriting the original text. While it is not the same as plagiarism, it can still have negative consequences for SEO as search engines can detect and penalize websites that use duplicate or low-quality content.

It is also not paraphrasing, which is the act of rephrasing or rewording text in your own words while maintaining the original meaning and intent of the content. This is considered a legitimate technique to improve the readability and understanding of the content.

Content spinning, on the other hand, is often considered as a black hat SEO technique or unethical as it aims to deceive the search engine and generate low-quality content. Therefore, creating original content is considered the best practice as it is not only ethical but also beneficial for SEO and user engagement.

Finally, article spinning can also negatively affect user experience as it may contain grammatical errors, can be difficult to read and can be detected as not the type or tone of content associated with you as an author.

Remember rule #1 – It’s important to create high-quality, original content to improve your website’s visibility and user engagement.

Are You Struggling with Your Content?

Article spinning can be seductive and attractive if you are struggling with creating your own content, resist.

If need help, or you want to talk about your content marketing contact us through the form on this page or any of the contact details throughout our website.

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