Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog

26May/10Off

An argument for content spinners.

I spend a fair amount of time on a few Internet Marketing forums, mostly searching for threads discussing my areas of interest. Obviously one of those interests is content spinning.

In case you're not familiar with what content spinning is, it's basically formatting an article with code that allows for a random selection of synonyms to generate unique content.

For example:

The {quick|fast|speedy} {brown|tan|beige} fox {jumped|leaped|soared} over the {lazy|languid|slothful} {dog|canine|pooch}.

That coded content can be used to generate a variety of different sentences by randomly selecting one of the synonyms found inside the {|} for inclusion in the generated sentence. Using this kind of "coded text" on full articles allows you to generate a large number of articles that the search engines see as "unique content."

Sounds like a great idea, right? Not everybody thinks so.

The Controversy

In reading through the many, many forum threads discussing content spinners lately, it seems that people almost always fall into one of three categories:

1. They hate spinners because they feel that they just generate unreadable garbage.

2. They hate spinners because they feel that, even used properly, the content created does not add any real value to the web.

3. They love spinners and use them in every aspect of their search engine optimization.

Let's discuss each of these points of view one at a time.

Hate Group #1: "All Spinners Create Garbage"

In my mind, the group that is completely convinced that all content spinners generate nothing but unreadable garbage have very little real experience with spinners. I do, of course, understand and agree with the idea that you should not just push the synonym button and keep whatever the content spinner adds to your article without modification. If you do that, even with a spinner as highly advanced as my software, The Best Spinner, you usually end up generating articles that read very badly.

However, that's a very irresponsible use of a content spinner. A good spinner can be used to generate a large number of quality articles if the user takes a few minutes to clean up the synonym selections that the software makes. Unfortunately, a lot of people who use spinners don't take the time to do this, thus giving all content spinners a bad name.

Even so, to make the blanket statement that "all spinners are worthless" because of the actions of some spinner users is like saying that all prescription medicine is bad because some people overdose on it. A content spinner can be a powerful tool, and can also be a garbage generator.

Computer programmers have a saying: Garbage In, Garbage Out. That axiom certainly applies here. The quality of a spun document depends very much on the time and effort the user puts into that document.

Hate Group #2: "Spun Articles Add No Real Value To The Web"

I'm much more sympathetic to this point of view than the first. I understand the argument that spinning a document doesn't add any new knowledge or understanding to the web in general. I can see where somebody who feels that way is coming from.

However, syndicating articles through sites like EzineArticles.com doesn't add anything new to the web either, and yet I daresay that almost all of the people in this hate group have nothing against article syndication. What's the difference? The only difference is that with mainstream syndication you're putting the same exact article in many places, whereas with article spinning you're putting the same information worded differently in many places.

So unless a member of this hate group also feels that article syndication adds absolutely no value to the web, it's really hypocritical on their part to have this point of view.

I don't agree, though, that putting well-spun (or even just syndicated) articles in many places on the web doesn't add to the overall pool of knowledge. In my mind, the more places that a well written, educational article appears, the more chances it has of being read, the more people that will benefit from it.

The flip side is also true, of course. A lousy article can also generate a lot of misinformation -- but that's where reader discernment comes into play. Misinformation was alive and well long before content spinners were created!

Badly written articles don't prove that content spinners are worthless anymore than a badly made smoothy proves that a blender is worthless. If what goes in is bad, what comes out will be bad. Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Love Group: "Content Spinners Are My Bread And Butter!"

For every spinner hate post I've read on the forums, there's another post talking about how wonderful spinning is and why you should be doing it. I agree. Used correctly, content spinners can help you with search engine optimization in two major ways:

1. They allow you to get links to your web site without manually writing hundreds of unique articles one at a time.

People often post articles to article directories in an effort to get links from other sites to their own site. These links improve your web site's ranking in the search engines. But it takes a long time to write hundreds of unique articles one at a time.

A content spinner makes this much faster by allowing you to create spin-formatted articles that generate dozens or hundreds of unique articles in a tiny fraction of the time it would take to write them all one by one. This saves countless hours of precious time, allowing you to leverage your time much more effectively.

2. They prevent the problem of your syndicated article outranking the article on your web site because they're duplicates.

Has this ever happened to you: You post a new article to your own site, and then submit that same article to some of the major article directories, with a link back to your site, only to find later that the search engines are putting the syndicated article higher up in the search results than the original (if your original is anywhere to be found)!

It happens all the time. That's because the major directories (especially EzineArticles.com) have millions of links into them which give them a large amount of authority in Google's eyes. That means that an article posted on EZA can rank very well without many links to the individual article, whereas you have to do a lot more link building to get your article ranked on your own site.

Google makes it clear that for any given keyword search they will only show one copy of any given article. So if both EzineArticles.com and your own site host the same article about "green widgets", Google's only going to show one of the two articles in the "green widgets" search results. Unless you do a good bit of legwork in advance, EZA is going to win almost every time because of the site's authority.

Content spinners solve this problem by making it easy to generate unique versions of your own site's content for posting to major article directories. That way the search engines see the two documents as different from each other and prevents the article on your site from being filtered out of the results without all of that extra backlinking.

Another advantage of this is that it gives you the ability to have multiple listings for a given set of keywords in the search results. So instead of only the article on your site showing up in Google's results for "green widgets", both the article on your site and the EzineArticles.com article have a chance of being in the top ten. This greatly improves your exposure and traffic potential.

(A word of caution: EzineArticles does not want duplicate content to be submitted to it. So you have to really work hard to get a unique version before submitting it to EZA. The Best Spinner has built in Copyscape checking so you can ensure that your spun version will actually appear unique. All the same, proceed with caution when it comes to EZA.)

In Summary

Are content spinners worthless garbage generators? Yes, if used incorrectly.

Do content spinners not add any real value to the web? If not, then neither does article syndication which nobody has a problem with.

Are content spinners powerful tools for improving your search engine rankings? You betcha, which is why they are so popular these days.

Do you agree or disagree? Please post your thoughts in a comment below.