Joseph Olu is an experienced SaaS and Health and Wellness copywriter helping businesses convert visitors.
The topic of article spinning and article spinning tools is a very controversial one — with several SEO ‘experts’ arguing in favor and others arguing against it.
There are several reasons why one may consider spinning articles. Students do it almost all the time for assignments and essays. Some bloggers spin articles they’ve written so they can submit them to directories. Most freelance ‘writers’ (mind the quotes) you’d find on Fiverr and the likes do nothing but spin articles for their clients (well, you shouldn’t expect more for a $5-thousand-word article).
Every person who spins articles does it for reasons best known to them. However, spinning articles for your business website? You don’t wanna go there.
Now, you must understand that there’s a difference between content spinning and content repurposing. More on content repurposing later in this article.
What Is Article Spinning (Or, Content Spinning)?
“Article spinning,” according to Wikipedia, “is a writing technique used in search engine optimization (SEO), and other applications, which creates what appears to be new content from what already exists. Content spinning works by replacing specific words, phrases, sentences, or even entire paragraphs with any number of alternate versions to provide a slightly different variation with each spin – also known as Rogeting.”
Article spinning could be done using programmed spinners and can as well be done manually. One major problem with spinning articles with a spinning tool is the apparent misuse of words. Many of the spinning tools online simply swap words with synonyms without taking into account the context where the words were used.
The issue with word misuse is most common with words that have variants in another part of speech — the word market can be a noun or verb, while well can be an adjective, interjection, or adverb. And with proper nouns, you might find Great Britain become Good Britain or the United States of America become the Unified States of America (or worse, the United condition of America).
But in recent years, we’ve seen the development of smarter spinners. Particularly those that use Spintax: a portmanteau of spin and syntax. With these tools, spinning is at another level of depth. You can specify synonyms to be swapped for words in different contexts. Here, you do the heavy lifting, while the tool does the rewriting. But it can take you hours to define synonyms for different words in different contexts, depending on how long the original piece is. And such tools are often premium.
Are There Any Benefits To Article Spinning?
The most-touted benefits are speed and the ability to create hundreds of articles at a go — all from a single piece of content. But are those really “benefits?” The legibility problem has been mentioned earlier, but there’s more. When you spin an article in tens or hundreds and submit them for publication on multiple websites, there’s a high chance you won’t be able to get them on any major website.
Instead, you’d have to go with forums, repositories, and low-quality network websites. Hello, have you heard of Google’s Penguin and Panda? They’re the main reasons why you should stay away from anyone offering “backlinks from 500 websites for a low price.”
The reason why SEO is still being used to describe content spinning is that it was extremely effective in ranking in the past when Google ranked just about any website if it’s got enough link juice, but that’s no longer the case. Sure, backlinks are still very important in SEO, but Google expects you to do it white-hat, not black-hat. If Google notices anomalies in your backlink profile, you’re going straight into the oven. Toast.
Bottom line: spinning another person’s content is only as bad as it can get. In Neil’s article, 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to Be penalized by Google, Spun Content ranks #24.
What Is Content Repurposing?
Content repurposing is a relatively new term in content marketing, and it’s gaining popularity rather speedily.
As defined by Brian Dean of Backlinko, “Repurposing content (also known as “content recycling”) is the practice of reusing all or elements of existing content in order to expand that content’s reach. Repurposed content is typically transformed into a new format (for example, turning a blog post into an infographic).”
From the comprehensive definition by Brian, it’s obvious that the reason for repurposing existing content is only to expand the original content’s reach. The content is yours, but you want fresh eyes on it. When you repurpose content, there are several options. You can make a blog post and turn it into a podcast. If it’s long enough, make it into an ebook. You can make a video interview, then turn it into a podcast, publish the script as a blog post, make it into an infographic, publish the script on LinkedIn, etc.
With content repurposing, you’re not spinning an article to submit it as a guest blogging topic or for publishing in directories. You can, of course, publish it on platforms that accept already-published works. Since it’s duplicate content, it’s not going to rank anyway. But if the platform has a good following, you could be in for some nice click-throughs.
What About Article Rewriting (Rework and Repromote)?
Article rewriting is altogether different from spinning and repurposing. Though it may be easily confused with spinning, article rewriting generally doesn’t follow the same process as spinning and repurposing. And it does not intend to make the article look like a unique brand new piece. That’s why it’s referred to as Rework and Repromoting in content marketing. However, a consumer looking for such services would call it content or article rewriting.
As technology evolves and the human race advance in knowledge, several studies conducted in the past are being revisited to see whether they’re still true in modern times. This is especially true for ever-changing industries like health, technology, search engine optimization, among others. As new studies come up, old ones become obsolete, and so do the pieces centered on them. Because of this, it is important to review old content and make the necessary updates.
Besides the reason above, if you feel the articles done for your business website are sub-par, you might want to get them rewritten. You may also need to rewrite your articles for SEO. Moreover, Google delights in ranking newer articles than older ones. Moz better represents how articles lose freshness with time with the image below.
In “Evergreen Content: What It Is, Why You Need It and How to Create It,” Si Quan Ong of Ahrefs mentions how Benjamin Brendall of Process.st boosted traffic to a two-year-old post by up to 468% simply by updating the post. He did things like correcting spelling and grammar errors, changing certain phrases, updating the published date, etc. After the update, the post received a spike in traffic and moved to 3rd position for its target keyword.
While article rewriting is good for SEO and boosting organic traffic, content repurposing is great for promotion on different platforms like social media. Article spinning, on the other hand, is something you should stay away from.
The problem with most people offering article rewriting services is that they end up spinning the article — manually or automatically — and won’t make any valuable addition to the article. In the process, they might spin your focus keyphrase along with the other parts of the article. And the worst-case scenario, they’d spin the entire article out of focus.
The point of rewriting older articles is updating them to reflect the latest developments in the industry. Not only to reword and rephrase.
Disclosure: At the time of writing this article, I am not in any way affiliated with the businesses linked to in this piece, except my website which was linked to once.