Why Article Spinning Doesn’t Work


If you’ve spent any time with SEO and article marketing, you know about spinning. Companies that provide the service market it as a way to make your original content do double or triple duty while still passing Copyscape and other plagiarism detection tools. By feeding your fresh, original article to an automated spinner, they promise, the article’s sense remains while just a few words are changed. They’d have you believe that it’s a cheaper solution to original writing and that article spinning won’t incur duplicate-content penalties from search engines.

The truth is, automated spinning is plagiarism, albeit a more sophisticated kind than copying and pasting. Even if a Copyscape check doesn’t detect a spun article, a human reader will recognize an article that’s identical in every way except the exact wording of the piece. If you’re lucky, readers will bounce from your site and its spun content without comment; if you’re unlucky, word will get around, possibly even reaching the original article’s author, and you could face a DMCA take-down notice. You’ll then have to pay the money you saved on buying the spun content on real content as well as undoing the damage to your site’s reputation with readers and search engines.

Even if automated article spinning didn’t have an intrinsic issue with plagiarism, it rarely sounds natural. The English language doesn’t lend itself to word-for-word or phrase-for-phrase replacements. If the writing has any colloquial terms or color to it, it’s practically impossible for a machine to duplicate. Synonyms are notoriously slippery, and an automated system doesn’t always pick the right one.

“Corpse” and “body” are synonymous, and so are “work and “effort.” That doesn’t mean you can talk about a musician’s “corpse of effort” and have it mean the same thing as his body of work. You’ve probably seen your own examples of unintended hilarity from spun articles after a little looking. If the companies who paid money for these gaffes took another look at what they’d bought, they wouldn’t consider spinning a bargain at any price.

Automated systems aren’t the only ones who spin. While writers who are fluent in English and understand idiomatic speech can turn out excellent original business content, those who are less fluent and work cheaply can then take that content and spin it manually, creating a derivative article that borrows the original’s structure and concepts while swapping out words to pass Copyscape’s filters.

This practice is problematic in two ways. First, it suffers from the same issues that plague automated systems; a dictionary isn’t a substitute for fluency, and a writer who relies on one to switch out nouns and adjectives can quickly spin a lucid article into incomprehensibility. It’s also likely to cost you more than an automated spinning service despite offering little significant improvement in quality. Be wary of services that promise human writers and fully original wording for pennies an article. Professional content writers aren’t the cheapest option, but they’re your guarantee of getting content that grabs readers and makes you look good.

In the wild-west days of SEO article marketing, spun content that gave you enough keywords to hang your back-links was enough. Thanks to the changes search engines have made in their algorithms and the increasing sophistication of human readers, that’s no longer the case. Until computers can generate wholly original content, automated article spinning services aren’t worth their cost no matter how cheaply they’re selling their services.

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