Article Spinning and Why You Should Avoid It

On paper, the idea of article spinning sounds pretty good. Decent bloggers can write a blog article in two to three hours. With article spinning, writers could put that same article through software that could generate a few more high-quality posts, which would result in an incredible work rate. Sounds worth it, right?

However, one of the essential parts of SEO is having fresh, new content. Fresh content is an absolute must, whether you write for blog posts, online press releases, marketing campaigns, or sponsored advertisements. When Google ranks websites to decide which ones end up on the first page of searched content, it looks at how unique the content is, the keywords it contains, and how long people typically spend looking at it. Google sees spun articles as mundane or too ordinary. Also, it can be difficult for people to read spun articles. 

In this article, you will learn what article spinning is and the reasons why you shouldn’t use it to develop new content for your sites. Additionally, you will learn how to use other writers’ work as inspiration and different ways to create unique article ideas.

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What Is Article Spinning?

Writers typically use article spinning in SEO and writing platforms. Article spinning is the technique of creating seemingly new content out of content that already exists. It works by replacing words, phrases, or even entire paragraphs with synonyms or similar expressions. 

Examples of How Content Is Spun

Content spinning provides a slightly different variation of the content each time. For example, if we were to write the sentence “The dog jumped over the fence,” an article spinner might change that into “The pup hopped over the barrier.” 

Another example is if the phrase “An elderly male was rescued from a river by a neighbor’s dog” was spun into “An old man was saved from rushing waters by the hound next door.” 

These examples are technically different, but they still did not come from an original idea and took minimal effort by the writer who did the spinning. Also, the spun versions are wordier and less punchy—two things you do not want readers to use to describe your SEO content!

Why Did Article Spinning Start?

Article spinning became universal with the creation of spinning software. In 2005, one such software, Articlebot, started gaining real traction. By the end of that year, it had some real attention from many SEO writers. 

The creator of Articlebot, Don Harold, said he created it to combat search engines from stifling free speech. However, writers mostly used it as a black hat SEO tool to push out a large volume of seemingly original articles.

After seeing the extreme amount of traction Articlebot got upon its release, more and more article spinning software began popping up. In 2006, Landon Ray developed Webspinner, and it shortly took the top spot when it came to article spinning software.

While spinning software may sound appealing and worked at the time, it is no longer a successful strategy to use for your SEO. 

The Golden Age of Article Spinning

Honing in on what would be considered the “Golden Age” or the best years of article spinning is not that difficult. The mid-2005 through the end of 2010 were, without a doubt, the peak years for the practice.

Between those years, it was a game of numbers. Article spinning software pumped out thousands, if not millions, of pages worth of content, and writers hoped to gain traction with just a few. It was a victory based on great numbers, and unfortunately, at the time, Google was buying almost every spun article as unique content.

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The Legality of Article Spinning

By now, you may be wondering if article spinning is considered plagiarism. Additionally, you might be curious if it is possible to spin the content that you wrote. Let’s take a look!

Is Article Spinning Plagiarism?

It is plagiarism if a website owner uses a spinning tool on someone else’s written content. The software spins content in a way that dodges plagiarism or paraphrasing tools. However, if the original writer reads it, chances are they will identify it as copied content.

Simply put, plagiarism is theft. During the “Golden Age” of article spinning, content spinning was enough to get around search engines’ detection algorithms. Nowadays, these algorithms are much more sophisticated and flag more spun content.

Spinning Your Own Content

The topic of legality when discussing article spinning is not at all black and white. The first thing to look at is if the original creator spun the content. If you wrote the original article, you could spin it to create many alternate versions. However, it is utterly pointless, because as we have already discussed, new content is the goal when you want to gain traction with readers.

Spinning Someone Else’s Content

Now, where it gets a little trickier is when you spin someone else’s content. In the United States, just the act of plagiarising work is not illegal in most cases. However, plagiarism can warrant legal action if it infringes upon the original author’s copyright, patent, or trademark. Technically, you could get around copyright in the structure or argument, as long as the outcome’s words are changed completely. However, changing every word isn’t ideal because your content is confusing, unoriginal, and challenging to read.

Even if you manage to end up with a decent piece of content after all of that, people might still view it as plagiarism. Plagiarizing could result in a lawsuit if it breaches terms that state only original work is acceptable. To sum up, while it is not technically illegal, article spinning is simply not worth the effort and will not lead to the results you want for your content.

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How Is Article Spinning Relevant to SEO?

People spin articles with SEO benefits in mind. Software and manual writers still push out hundreds of these spun articles to get driven near the top of a search engine. Spun articles are challenging to read, so people aren’t likely to read all the way through. Readers will not share or link back to articles they could not read. Finally, Google will eventually spot the content as spun content, leading to substantial SEO consequences for your site. There are many better ways to boost your Google ranking without content spinning.

How to Use Other Work as Inspiration Without Spinning

While the creative community frowns upon article spinning and plagiarism, it celebrates inspiration. The main difference is that inspiration does not have to come from a work in the same format as the one you create; it can come from a simple conversation, a beautiful song, or a piece of fiction you admire. 

Inspiration is the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative. To do this effectively without it coming across as plagiarism or content spinning, you have to figure out what inspired you. Was it a particular word? A unique format? A specific color or shape? Once you know this, you can take steps to integrate what inspired you into your original work. If you have trouble turning your inspiring element into your next SEO article, try starting with your key phrases and linking those back to what inspired you. If your inspiring element was a word or phrase, you could use Google Trends to develop a key phrase for your SEO. 

Other Ways to Come up With Ideas for New Content

If you are writing a lot of content, it may feel overwhelming to devise ideas for new content regularly. However, coming up with ideas for new content isn’t too tricky if you just follow a few key strategies. 

Here are other ways to come up with ideas for new content without relying on sketchy article spinners.

  • Brainstorm topic lists in bunches or use topic clusters.
  • Check out social media to see what topics interest your followers.
  • Read your blog comments and answer questions your readers might have.
  • Interview your audience and ask them what topics they would like to see.
  • Generate ideas by looking at your competitors’ websites.
  • Type an idea into Google and check out the related search suggestions.
  • Write about local events or national news that relates to your industry.
  • Write reviews for products that are related to your brand or industry.
  • Use a blog idea generator to help you come up with new topics.
  • Tell personal stories about your successes and failures.
  • Sign up for industry newsletters to see what topics are trending.
  • Watch YouTube videos related to your industry and look at the related video suggestions for possible topic ideas.
  • Write about new products and technology that relates to your field.
  • Use facts, data, and analytics in your industry to inspire new topics.
  • Review content that you published previously and write it again from a new angle. Be sure to include updated information and resources.

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If you are still struggling with content topic ideas, let SEO Design Chicago’s professional writers take care of writing articles for you. SEO Design Chicago offers custom content creation, including blog posts, email marketing, e-commerce product pages, SEO content writing, and social media content creation.


  • Is article spinning illegal?
  • What is the difference between spinning someone’s article and using it as inspiration?
  • Why is spinning your content a bad idea?
  • Does content spinning boost your Google ranking?
  • What are the disadvantages of article spinning?

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