What NOT to do to promote your website
I have been working tirelessly online for around 13 years as I write this. I started writing my first photography help website in February 2005 and for that first year, I did nothing but write, and write and write. Sometimes for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week…I put a LOT into it!
Everything I wrote came directly from my head and my heart. Everything I knew about photography was laid out and indexed for all to see and hopefully learn from. I knew nothing at this point, about SEO or any techniques used to get your website found…I just wrote.
Before long, traffic and comments came in which only served to motivate me further and off I went with renewed vigor.
More than a decade on and that website (and its subsidiaries) has well over 1,000 pages, it receives good traffic and has an email list of more than 8,000 photographers. It is read all over the world.
I have also created a number of other websites which are all a “work in progress”. I'm passionate about not only getting them found, but creating interesting, unique and helpful information. I am always looking for new, legal, ethical and morally correct ways of making the sites more popular…I spend hours doing this.
So when I came across yet another “course” teaching people how to get their website to rank higher in Google, it caught my eye. Alarm bells rang as they always do but because the “course” was just $12 (hmmmm) I bought it to see what it was all about.
Within minutes of accessing the members area, I knew. This was all about article spinning.
What is article spinning?
Before I explain, it is important to know about three marketing techniques used online:
- 1White Hat
- 2Grey Hat
- 3Black Hat
White hat techniques are used by people like myself that simply involve a lot of hard work and following the rules laid out by the search engines and one's morals.
Grey hat techniques are those which “kind of” follow the rules but bend them a little. A bit of risk involved because should the search engines find out, it could damage your website and online reputation.
Black hat techniques are the worst. They involve corruption, deceit and all manner of illegal, immoral and downright stupid activity. All with the sole intention of duping people into visiting crap/hoax/sales websites. Black hatters hope to make a quick buck before getting shut down and then simply start again…no thanks!
I would say article spinners wear a grey hat
It is the process whereby you “spin” the same article over and over to create multiple versions of the same text or information. The reason for doing this is to create “fresh…ahem” content that can be placed all over the web with the intention of directing links and traffic to your (or your client’s) website.
You see, Google and the other search engines hate duplicate content and will penalise a site for using it to try and attract traffic. Article spinning supposedly gets around this.
As proof that this “works”, the author gave an example of how he got a non-ranking website ranked to page one for a number of terms in a matter of weeks. However, when myself and a number of other webmasters checked, the site had tanked to “non-existent” again…boom!
He may have shot himself in the foot by promoting his course and the poor client’s website…ultimately doing them a “dis-service” rather than helping them. I think Google spotted this with the “system” and that is probably why they reduced the rankings for that website.
Think about it, if Matt Cutts (head of SEO at Google and a highly interactive and approachable man) saw this product, do you really think he is going to actively promote something that simply creates so much duplicate content? That is what this is, even though it is “spun”, it is still duplicate content.
No-one will learn anything new by reading the same article in a thousand different ways. It can also create frustration as genuine users of the internet keep coming across the same (spun) article over and over again when what they really want is a different opinion or viewpoint on a certain topic from different people.
Grrrr…article spinning…don’t do it!
Stay away from the article spinning software that you may come across online. It is purely there to get your money and no good will come of it. Think about it...
If you went into a bookstore and that store was selling a whole shelf of books that were "slightly different" from each other. Row after row of books with the same subject and same content...just re-shuffled.
No, of course not and Google, Bing etc all feel the same. Why would they promote a bunch of sites with the same content knowing it will p*ss off their users? That content may get up the rankings to start with but sooner rather than later, it will fall off the planet.
Create nice, fresh content that is unique
Either take the time to write it yourself of hire a writer online (or off) to produce unique articles for your website(s). Also, it may be worth checking every now and again to make sure that none of your content has been stolen by another blogger. It happens and has happened to me numerous times.
Simply copy a paragraph from one of your older blog posts and paste it into a search engine. Hopefully it won't happen but you may have been "scraped" but software that hunts for content and duplicates it.
Also, if hiring a writer, do the same for any draft article copies they send you to make sure it isn't already online somewhere else. Be vigilant. Learn more with our free course on internet marketing.
Article spinning is unethical
Even if it doesn't get picked up by the search engines, it may do by the community you are writing for. If you get found out for black, or even grey hat techniques like this, it could hurt you indefinitely.
The online world is a small place and it doesn't take long for gossip and bad news to spread. People share this news on Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Instagram and any online communities in your niche. Bye bye business.
Article spinning is old news, stop it
If you are spinning old articles, or even the newer ones, how do you know if your readers haven't already read it elsewhere? If they get suspicious or realise that it is the same article, you will get a lot of "back-peddling". Otherwise known as "bounces"or a high bounce rates which doesn't bode well for long term SEO.
Hopefully this gives you some insight into article spinning and why you should avoid it. Get creative, write excellent, long form, juicy, well-informed and interesting content and rise above the spin!