In honor of Halloween, we are taking a minute to talk about one spooky SEO trick best avoided: content spinning. What is content spinning and why should you steer clear of it?

Stick with us, we’ll scare some sense into you…

What is Content Spinning?

Do you know any twins? Maybe you are one. If so, you know that twins have the same blood, same DNA, same parents, but are two completely different people. Even identical twins have parts about them that are truly their own.

What do twins and content have in common?

Otherwise known as article spinning, content spinning is when an existing piece of writing is taken and “spun” into different words. Similar to twins, the original and the “spun” copy contain the same information, just presented differently. 

Here’s an example:

Original: “The juice is proven to prevent wrinkles.”

Content Spinning Copy: “The fruit’s nectar is a certified wrinkle eradicator.”  

What’s wrong with this? (aside from the fact that no one is effectively selling “wrinkle eradicators.”)

Don’t we turn phrases like this often enough in order to avoid plagiarism?

Well, yes we do in small cases, for information and facts. However, if an entire document is spun your SEO will take a hit.

Every time you spin information, the content loses the power it had in the original piece of writing. This is a big red flag for Google. Companies are penalized for this via their SEO rankings the more often this occurs. 

What is “Black Hat” SEO? 

SEO, search engine optimization, is a way to boost a site or page ranking in a search engine.

Returning to our metaphor about twins for a moment, there are two types of SEO: white hat SEO and black hat SEO.

Let’s consider black Hat SEO the “bad twin,” who consistently engages in SEO tactics that violate the terms and conditions of the search engine, like Google. In the other corner, the “good twin,” known as white hat SEO, follows the rules for the benefit of the user or visitor to a website.

Simply put, “The biggest differences between these two approaches are that white hat SEO follows Google’s guidelines and improves user experience, while black hat SEO violates those guidelines and is typically done with complete disregard for human users.”

While black hat SEO tactics might boost a company’s visibility and organic reach, they can, ultimately, backfire and result in a site being banned entirely. 

Why?

Because the industry frowns upon it. In fact, “The majority of the SEO industry deems these practices to be completely unethical.”

Black Hat SEO is not for you and your business if you are trying to form long-lasting, respected, responsible relationships. Not just with your clients but also with your colleagues. 

Search engines like Google have a set list of instances when Black Hat SEO gets flagged. Nearing the top of their checklist is… you guessed it. Content spinning. 

How Can You Avoid Content Spinning?

What if, for instance, an article you’ve researched presents compelling points that you agree with and want to use in your copy?

Here are some ways to pay tribute to the articles that helped you craft your own:

  • Rework every title, subtitle, and heading
    • Failure to do this is one of the easiest way to get flagged in Google and other search engines. 
  • Crack open your thesaurus 
    • Mix in some words that sound more like you and the tone of voice you are going for.
  • Add in your own thoughts
    • After all, this is your article. The web page you are reading from is a resource, not your first draft. 
  • When in doubt, cite it!
    • Feel like there is absolutely no better way to phrase what is being said? Quote the article and site it in yours. In-text citations or even a citations page are great ways to ensure your content is credible.

Concerned about content spinning or not confident you can avoid it in your website copy or blog? Contact our team of creative copywriters to ensure your message is clearly stated, not spun.

Scary Stuff: Steer Clear of Content Spinning

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