Jonathan Leger – SEO And Internet Marketing Blog Internet Marketing Blog


Does Google’s Panda speak English?

In a previous blog post about content spinners I made the statement that people either love spinners or hate them. As a rule, few people seem to be in the middle ground (at least, few people at the popular Internet Marketing forums).

Since Google's Panda update, the haters have been out en masse, making wild claims about Google's supposed new ability to know if content was created using a spinning application. Using a content spinner will now hurt your rankings or get you banned from Google, they proclaim.


As always, these kinds of statements are made without sharing a single shred of proof in evidence of the claims. As I've stated in the past, people think far too much of Google's ability to do just about everything.

Google is a piece of software. A very complex piece of software, but software all the same. At its absolute best, software can only be as good as its creator at doing anything. Google is no exception, and it often falls far short of the amount of insight that its engineers surely posses. That's because it's (so far) impossible to create software that can even come close to achieving your brain's ability to understand and interpret what it takes in.

So let me debunk the nonsensical view that using a content spinner will hurt your rankings in Google. It's a simple exercise. Let's take a look at these three sentences:

  1. Recently I made the decision to take a stroll.
  2. Without delay I chose to go for a walk around the block.
  3. Not long ago I determined to go on a hike.

Can you guess which of those sentences is the original, unspun sentence, and which ones are the spinner-generated ones? Go ahead, take a guess.

Can you point out anything wrong with these sentences? Each one uses proper spelling and grammar. Each one makes perfect sense and uses wording that would not be considered unusual in the English language. In short, they're all good quality.

Do you think Google's pet Panda would punish an article which contained any of those sentences? Why not? If they're spinner generated, surely Google would slash the rankings of any sentence that read like that!

(Oh, and by the way, whatever sentence you chose as the original sentence, you're wrong. They're all spun. The original isn't in the list. Gotcha!)

I think you get the point. Sentences are simply the combinations of words. If the rules of the target language are respected, it doesn't matter whether software generated the sentence or a human typed out each sentence one word at a time. The end result is still quality.

This is again where the haters fail to realize that their argument only holds some truth if a content spinner is used to generate content with bad grammar that is difficult to read or makes little sense. Sadly, some people do use content spinners for that purpose, letting the automated parts of the software do their work and never going back to edit out synonyms that don't make sense in the context of their article.

It's true that poor quality content is much harder to rank in Google, but it doesn't require software to create poor quality content. Go read some of the comments posted on news items at Google news if you don't believe me! Some people's spelling and grammar are atrocious, and yet many of the sites which host such comments still do very well in Google's search results. I guess the Panda was off eating some bamboo when it was time to rank those sites!

You see, Google's Panda doesn't speak English. Google is pretty good at parsing out the most important words used on a page, and they use linking data to back up those algorithmic decisions. Google is also pretty good at knowing what words are related to other words based on the frequency with which they appear in the same documents (this is known as "latent semantic indexing").

But Google does not understand English (or any other language for that matter). All it can go on are the words on the page, how they relate, and how the external factors such as links reinforce those connections.

The bottom line is, if a human being cannot distinguish an article that was produced with the help of a content spinner, neither can Google.

Please post your thoughts and questions in a comment below.

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