Any copywriter worth their salt will tell you that spinning content is completely unethical. Yet there are numerous spinning jobs posted on the web through sites like Freelancer and Odesk every day. The fact is, spinning content works, but it only works in an extremely limited capacity. What capacity is that? And should you use spun content for your blog?

Treating the Symptom

Spinning content is simply a technique to make duplicate content appear unique to search engines. It has no value to human readers. It’s primarily for search engine robots. With enough variations of the same content, you can fool the robots into thinking that you’re writing meaty content, thus ranking your site higher in search engines.

When content spinning first started, it was done by software. The software simply swapped words with synonyms of various words that would make the article sound different. So this:

The red panda played around in the snow.

turned into this:

The auburn panda frolicked about in the snow.

At least, that’s what it was supposed to do. Earlier spinning software was actually not that sophisticated at making spun content seem like it was written by humans. Programs can’t exactly decide how to make content sound natural. They can only do what they’re programmed to do. As a result, sentences like this:

Kevin loves dirt bikes.

would often read more like this:

Kevin adores earth motorcycles.

Sentences like this one were rampant across the internet. When search engines started wising up to this technique, they began lowering the rankings of sites that participated in this method.

Penguin hit spun content especially hard. But instead of stopping spinning altogether, a lot of webmasters simply started asking humans to spin content for them. Their reasoning: If humans spin content by hand, the content will read more naturally and won’t get hit by Google’s constant algorithm updates.

Theoretically you can still get high rankings to your site with all the “new” content you’re submitting. But spinning content is like taking cough syrup when you’ve got the flu: you’re treating the symptoms. You’re not curing the sickness.

Spinning vs. Rewriting

A lot of writers and webmasters don’t feel like there’s a problem with spinning content. “Everyone has done it,” they reason. “People rewrite articles all the time. I’m doing the same thing.”

No. Spinning is not rewriting. Spinning takes certain words and replaces them with synonyms to make a sentence unique. Rewriting a sentence changes the wording and possibly the tone, but conveys the same message.

Let’s take this sentence as an example:

It cost me $40 to get a replacement part for my computer.

An article spinner would take two or three of those words and switch them out with synonyms. So the sentence may look like this when it’s finished:

It cost me $40 to get a substitute component for my computer.

However if you rewrote the sentence, it might look something like this:

I had to spend $40 to get my computer fixed.

Can you see the difference?

So now that you know the difference between spinning and rewriting, should you use spun content for your blog? We’ll address that subject in depth in the next post.

Jacob Masters (93 Posts)

Jacob Masters is the editor of Pro Blogging News. He has worked in the tech and legal industry for over a decade. His goal in life is to increase the internet knowledge base one article at a time. He also likes to push the boundaries through his city wide evening excursions as a guerrilla gardener.


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