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At Least Use an Article Spinner Before You Start Posting the Same Content in Multiple Spots. (Did I Say that?)

June 24th, 2010 | | SEO Copy Writing

has copywriting gone to the machine?I about lost it two days ago. A friend of mine is starting up a blog of his own while at the same time assisting his company in revitalizing their blogging efforts. His blog might have 6 posts at the time of this writing. Their new, new corporate blog might have the same.

Wait, let’s look.

Sorry:  the new, new corporate blog has 7 posts.

Anyway, in his haste to promote a good charity event, he rushed to post the event on both blogs.

Care to guess why I called him about the posts?

He said, “The content is slightly different.”
I asked, “The content is so subtle in difference that I don’t notice it.”
“Well,” he concluded, “One is two paragraphs and the other is three.”
“Yeah. One ‘P’ tag ain’t gonna do it.”

And then I almost said it:

“If you have to, at least use an article spinner.”

It was on the tip of my tongue. I was just talking to my old boss about article spinners, (BTW, congrats on your PubCon speaking invite, Adam) when my friend’s duplicate content situation arose.

But it gave me pause to think about it.

What Are Article Spinners

From the brilliant minds of affiliate marketers (presumed), article spinners are like Mad Lib generators. Pop your article into an article spinner and it will rewrite your content for you. Other names for this type of service are “auto content generator” or “…script”… An article spinner is pretty much a thesaurus and grammar check program rewired into an algorithm to come up with different words to say what you’re saying. One article will be in active voice; one will be in passive…

The articles read like outsourced customer service operators are scribbling them down while they’re painting their nails, but they are “fresh.” You can almost smell the polish(ed…writing).

Auto content generators / article spinners are starting to make more headway as article marketing becomes a more persistent niche. It plays upon the fact that most people are so bombarded by content everyday that they just end up reading for what they’ll looking for and nothing else and don’t notice the quality of the writing.

It’s sad, really…but the pictures are charming.

As Douglas Karr would say,

“Nobody reads copy anymore.”

It’s a way of looking at copy as a template.

Would You Use Article Spinners?

I ask myself this right now. And I have to say that I don’t know if I ever would use an article spinner. But this is coming from someone who wants to be published (when the editing is done) and is up at 2am blasting an old Allman Brothers contest from WolfgangsVault.com because I just like writing.

But if I was doing affiliate marketing, or in an SEO fight for keywords and content generation needs to be quick and painless, I can’t say I wouldn’t at least be tempted by the dark side – just a little.

But not as tempted as I am to buy a Mad Libs right now.

(photo by Urban Don via Flickr)

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  • http://www.adamriemer.me Adam Riemer

    Thanks for the link Nate. The thing you are missing though is Tweetmeme so I can retweet this. Great post!

    • Finn

      Thank you, “boss,”

      I agree and will pass the note along.

  • http://www.nevermoresearch.com Mike Wilton

    It’s funny you bring this up, and I’m glad you wrote an article like this. I am the SEO manager for a small scale niche marketing company and about 2 months ago we had a self proclaimed SEO expert pop into our offices that tagged along with the development company who was working on the redesign of some of our corporate sites. They had no idea that there was a head of SEO working at the company and so I basically sat back and let him give his spiel.

    He apparently did an overall analysis of our sites, gave some pitch about how great our content was and that all we needed were some links and how he could get us 100+ backlinks with article spinning.

    I let it go in that meeting, but when he returned in the following meeting I basically told him thanks, but no thanks after discussing the risks with some folks in the industry who have actually taken part in article spinning. He skoffed, made some snide remark and was on his way. My view on article spinning is that it just adds more junk for internet marketers to compete against and sort through when it comes to SEO. Not to mention that while they may have some value in the short term I doubt it really has any long lasting power behind it. And from the feedback I got from various peers, that tends to be the case.

    I was VERY tempted to approve this guys article spinning at first because the higher ups are pushing hard for backlinks, but I just couldn’t take that step over to the darkside. As internet marketers we have to stop accepting junk content, no matter how tempting it is. Perhaps I worry too much about the ethics of internet marketing and I’m too much of an SEO goodie, goodie, but I’d rather spend the extra time putting out some quality than filling the SERPs with a bunch of garbage.

    • Finn

      Hi, Mike,

      Thank you for the story. I understand that pain.

      The thing is, so long as Google holds this position of authority and so long as Matt Cutts is at the head of the webspam team, I will run SEO in fear of him.

      I wish I knew, but something tells me they’ve got a team reverse-engineering every article spinner on the market.

      And if you need to get backlinks (if they’re that important to your needs), I’d leave it to the experts. Hanapin does a tremendous job. Slingshot SEO is also fab. Or if you don’t have such a budget, I’d propose having sculpted, branded corporate social media tools so you can backlink while augmenting your web presence. SEO and social media meet along that fine line called “Web Presense.”

      Why do the work in the shadows when you can do the same work in the light? Engaging, and benefiting at the same time.

      Branding and backlinking at the same time is a beautiful thing.

      Someone get me a white, ten-gallon hat.

      You’ll have to let me know how the rest of that story goes for you!