Article spinning is/was an approach many marketers leverage(d) to distribute a fair amount of “unique” content around the Internet stemming from just one base article.

A spinning case study – from Google slap to Panda-approved articles 

Let’s say we have a web site owner with a home page that he wants to rank for the phrase “raw food health.”

In typical article marketing he might write one unique article for each of a handful of article directories and link back to the site using a variety of anchor text.

Anchors might include: “domain.com,” “http://domain.com,” “www.domain.com,” “raw food health,” “the raw food diet,” “a raw vegan diet,” etc.

All varied, but similar anchor text would be used. In addition he may include a deep link to an article on the same site, or a link to another web property (his, or an authority site).

Well, if it were true that this is a complete numbers game then the marketer may try to distribute as many articles as possible. Say, for example, the web site in the #1 spot for “raw food health” had 177 backlinks with the anchor text “raw food health” from 177 PR2 sites. In simple terms, it may stand to reason that getting 178 backlinks from PR2 web sites with the same anchor text, would bump that web site from that location. Therefore, the marketer would become frustrated because he feels that is a very difficult task, especially based on a “what if.”

Enter spinning: Using JetSubmitter to spin articles

Jet Spinner

So upon asking the Universe (I mean, Google) “how can I distribute more articles faster for article marketing?” the answer presented may be: article spinning.

The promise is: Write a 400+ word article with proper “spin tax,” and when the article is processed through a spin-o-nator (made up word), it will distribute “unique” articles automatically, slowly over time.

Yes, there are services that do that with varying levels of push-button-ness.

1. Worst way Click a few buttons and assemble an article from exsiting content. Click another button to add spintax automatically based on dictionary synonyms. Add the content to a dozen services and have it spit out unique versions of the content to a bunch of sites, blogs, and directories.

2. Bad way Hand write an article. Click the “spintax” button. Distribute to several networks resulting in 100’s of thousands of backlinks in short order.

3. OK way Hand write and article. Hand spin the article on the word or phrase level, using a significant amount of versions for each word or phrase. Click a button to see random renditions of the article to see if they make sense and provide value to the Internet as a whole. Determine if they are truly unique. Drip feed them onto blogs and directories to a set maximum. Perhaps even make the maximum as low as 10, or possibly 100. Set the drip duration higher for the number of “drips.” This may work for a while yet.

Does spinning have value?

I often ask myself the question whether or not spinning really has any value. The answer isn’t very cut and dry. In general though, I say no.

What is the point of having an article that reads exactly the same way, but with different words? Where is the value in that?

If I can go to web site A and consume a great piece of content, then visit web site B and consume the same bit of knowledge, albeit using different phrasing, haven’t I just wasted my time?

Let me “spin” that a different way…

If I am able to visit one blog and digest some awesome content, then in turn go to a different blog and garner similar information, mind you, using unique wording, didn’t I just waste my precious time?

More than that, isn’t it redundant in terms of the content that is idexed on the web?

Is spinning press releases something Google would approve of?

Here is where I struggle with the answer to the value of spinning. If the sole purpose of it is to “trick” search engines into believing it is unique content, then, if history has shown us anything, that will not be effective for the long term. It just won’t.

If it is to “one-up” the way press releases are distrubuted, then sure, it can be argued that it has value.

typing a press release

You see, press releases create duplicate content all over the Internet, by their very nature. As a web news writer, I see this all the time.

First, the release gets added to a distribution site. Then, the companies mentioned in the release often add it to their own “news” section on their respective sites. Plus, the content gets syndicated all over the web. Some web site owners give their 2 cents in 100+ words and still copy the release verbatim below the content. Others will just post it without adding anything to the content.

I get that people like to have freedom of choice where they get their news. And of course, as a reader of a news source you might be subjected to news that you may have never encountered if it weren’t republished on your digital newspaper of choice. But I think overall that the news should be “reported on” and “cited”, but not duplicated. However, while it doesn’t seem to be frowned upon (try doing a phrase match search for a line in a release and see several dupe results), it probably has no SEO value from backlinks.

Now, spinning the content can offer the same “value” (or lack their of) as syndicated press releases, but with the added advantage of back link value. But, is that something that Google would want in their index? I’m not sure they would. And would a human at Google approve the backlink juice from the spun content? Somehow I doubt it.

4 steps to rank high for your top keywords spinning existing articles!

Now, let’s continue back with the spinning case study for the raw food site. This actually happened, and caused me, the author of this post, and the owner of the raw food site, to only consider SEO that Google, I feel, would manually OK.

With spot-on on-page SEO, my off-page SEO was very simple. It went like this:

1. Share content to my own accounts on social sites

2. Light article marketing to very very very high traffic sites (according to Alexa), not on any schedule

3. Blogging on a different site (that I own) of the same topic, with the occasional home page or deep link to my original site

4. Heavy spinning with very light publishing (explained below) with a focus on value, posting to sites (best case), or categories (worst case) that are “sort of” niche related (for raw food that might be “dieting,””food,” “veganism,” “health,” “eco,” “recipes,” and so on)

The result? Not only did I rise in ranks for “raw food health,” I just about made number one for “raw food” on google.com, google.ca, and google.co.uk.

Google slap: Disadvantages and dangers of spinning

I let “article spinning” get to my head and wanted to take it to another level. I outsourced it and while I did lay down some “quality” rules that weren’t followed (I didn’t do much by the way of QA either), they followed the approach discussed above in:

My site was slapped and is still in the recovery state. That meant the difference between paying child support and all living expense for my children, groceries delivered to my home, lawn care, plus the car payment with the income from a site to: borrowing revenue from other sites to keep the hosting, autoresponder and domain paid for. OK, it wasn’t quite that bad but pretty close.

5 steps to article spinning post Panda: Intelligent spinning

Panda SEO Tips

My suggestion is that the article spinning that I was doing pre-Panda is what should be done post-Panda as well. Your mileage may vary, and the SERP is yours to lose. Here’s my take:

1. Write a very good, high quality, high value article, without concern for the number of words. Pack the article with value. Make it niche-related but much more general at the same time. What do I mean by that?

For a raw food site perhaps talk about diet and its relation to {insert disease type here}.

2. Use intelligent spinning. Now, here is where you need to be able to think at a higher level. In this case I would have ready a general article on how diet can encourage or discouarge disease.

Then, I would use advanced spintax that would allow me to interweave a “subject” within the content. For example, I might have sentences interwoven related to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, gout, hair loss, weight loss, etc. The advanced spintax in play would make certain that if the “cancer” topic was chosen (at random) that it would only grab spun versions of the cancer-sentences that were interwoven into the rest of the article.

On top of that, I would spin at the word or phrase level, and offer a wide variety of renditions for each.

3. Add content related to the main topic. Now, I would include a raw food recipe and tie it into the dynamic topic. I would talk about how this recipe may help those with diabetes (or cancer, etc.) because it blah blah blah. I would then discuss the main ingredients in more detail, and spin that content as well.

4. Spin the anchors. Create a wide variety of anchors that may include such phrases as “clik here.” I would never worry much about the anchors used at all.

5. Manually submit content. If possible, I would find software that would spit out 500 or so versions of the content into text files. I would distribute the files to my team and then have them, with very limited rules on scheduling, post to sites that actually have human readers. Naturally, I would have one final edit of the content performed before final submission.

Is the extra effort worth it?

I realize my “post Panda” approach seems to be a lot of work, and there sure is a lot of manual-ness to it. Agreed. But I think that is why it stands the test of time and provides value in all areas, albeit with some compromise.

I think that not having to drum up new content each and every day is where the value is at.

You see, the major disadvantages of traditional article spinning often include:

1. Crappy final results when automating “synonyms”

2. No editing of the final article when automating distribution

3. No final say on where the content is posted when automating (except maybe with FreeTrafficSystem to some extent)

Take some of the automation out of the process and you have content to submit for a year or more after a full days work.

It’s worth it y’all, believe me. Keep your unique thoughts for your own site (and perhaps a feeder blog or two), but still provide killer “unique” value in your “spun” content.

Finally, I would suggest JetSubmitter for a service that lets you use advanced spintax that will let you randomly select a “topic” and let the article stick to that topic even when the pieces are displaced. Plus it lets you export several unique versions of the content to text files to be distributed elsewhere. Eventually, outsource the development of the functionality that you use on your spintax service of choice if you aren’t using it for distribution but just for content creation. Or contact the owner and tell them the purpose to see if you can score a one-time payment option for use rather than paying monthly.

A basic spintax primer

In closing, I’d like to give you an idea of what a paragraph looks like when it is riddled with spintax.

First, of course, start out with highly unique, highly valuable content, but that’s a given right?

Spintax example below:

If {an individual|one} were to {switch|convert|change} to {completely|100%} {raw and|raw} vegan {in a non gradual way|overnight}, {they|he or she} {would likely|would|would probably} experience {very strong|intense|immense} {cravings|food cravings}, {plus|and} a {strong|severe} detox, {therefore|so} it is {generally|often} {suggested|recommended} to {draw up|map out} a plan and {work the diet one|take it a|work the new diet a} step at a time. {Maybe|Perhaps} {begin|start} {at|with} {25% raw and 50% plant foods|50% vegan, 25% raw}, {and then|then} {quietly|slowly} work {towards|up to} {100% raw vegan|completely raw vegan|100% raw, 100% vegan} for a {complete|full} {detox|cleanse}. After {feeling|you feel} {healthy, balanced,|balnced, healthy,} and {full of energy|energized|ripe with energy}, a {long term goal|goal} of {80% raw, vegan|”high raw, high vegan”|80% raw, 80-100% vegan} may be {appropriate|a good idea} to {rebuild|encourage more nutrition} {after|following} the {raw food cleanse|cleanse|raw food detox|raw vegan cleanse}. {Stay with|Stick to|Try to stick to} {simply digested|easily digestible} foods {such as|like} {smoothies|green smoothies} and {green juices|juices}, and {keep in mind|remember} that digestion {begins|starts} {in the mouth|with saliva}, {and this includes|even for} {foods in the liquid state|liquid foods|juices and smoothies}. {Maybe consider|Consider|Try eating} {non-standard|meta|non-typical|ancient|ancestral} {food items|foods} {such as|like} {mushrooms|medicinal mushrooms} and {sea weed like dulse or kelp|seaweeds like dulse|seaweeds} to {tone|tonify} the {internal organs|body|organs} and {promote|encourage} {advanced|optimal} {nutrient intake|nutrition}.

One version of spun content below:

If one were to switch to 100% raw vegan overnight, he or she would experience intense cravings, and a severe detox, so it is often suggested to map out a plan and take it a step at a time. Perhaps start with 50% vegan, 25% raw, then slowly work up to 100% raw, 100% vegan for a full cleanse. After you feel balanced, healthy and energized, a goal of “high raw, high vegan” may be appropriate to rebuild after the cleanse. Stick to easily digestible foods like green smoothies and juices, and remember that digestion starts in the mouth, even for liquid foods. Consider non-typical foods like medicinal mushrooms and seaweeds to tonify the body and encourage optimal nutrition.