The Difference Between Article Spinning and Article Rewriting

Most people who understand how content on the Internet works will know that duplicate content is something that should never be contemplated: it is never a good idea to simply copy and paste existing content to another location. Plagiarism is frowned upon to the extent of carrying legal penalties for a considerable time. In addition to that, there is a strong consensus that Google will additionally penalise duplicate content in the sense that it will downgrade or downrank web pages which contain content which it knows exists elsewhere from an earlier date.

One of the accepted tenets of creativity is that there can be no copyright on ideas. It is understood that the same idea may be expressed in a variety of different ways, to the extent that this is understood in law, which protects work from being copied if written with the same words. I started out writing only original work. Then I started being approached by clients who told me that they liked an article so much that they wanted it for their own website, but they knew of the copyright dangers related to that. What could I do?

Because of such requests, and because I did not want to let down valued clients, I found myself being a rewriter of articles and a rewriter of content for other people’s websites.

Sometimes I’m asked to do rewrites, but sometimes clients ask me to “spin” articles, even though they actually want me to rewrite an article. There is some genuine confusion about the difference between spinning and rewriting.

But the difference between article rewriting and article spinning (or content rewriting and content spinning) is important. Sometimes clients asked me for one when they meant the other, or vice versa.

Article rewriting and article spinning are not the same, either in terms of methodology or in result. And they can be very different in how much they cost, which must also be an important consideration for all who commission such work. And it certainly does not help that one major article spinning software application brands itself a rewriter when it is, very demonstrably, a spinner. (Chimp Rewriter take note!)

Article spinning should be undertaken when you want the same idea reproduced as different unique articles and published in several (perhaps hundreds) different places online. It is particularly useful in content marketing and in SEO, where the object is to get lots of quality backlinks from a good diversity of websites, back to your own website. The proliferation of social media in recent years means that the options for dissemination of an original idea into different unique forms can only expand.

There are hundreds of websites which could conceivably play host to your unique articles, each produced by spinning. Such a strategy would result in lots of people reading about this on their own media of choice and then perhaps following the link (physically, as a person) back to your own website. It would also mean (theoretically) a boost in raking for your website as a result of the links from all those different websites back to your own site or blog, as part of an SEO (search engine optimisation) strategy.

Spinning sets the original content (or article) down within a content spinning software application, and then dividing each of the parts of the content up into smaller parts, and then substituting each one of those for a synonym or a paraphrased wording; this may be done at the level of the word, the phrase, the clause, the sentence, and the paragraph. When all these variations are used together, the result is a unique article which would pass Copyscape (the final arbiter of uniqueness in the Internet Age) and so free you from any charges of plagiarism.

Content spinning should always be a manual process, and the person doing it should not only be a native speaker, but be highly tuned to the nuances of the language, and sensitive even to the tiny discordances which this process tends to produce at the best of times. This is because the end result would have to read as if it had been freshly written by a human.

If the person doing the spinning was not so endowed, or if (Heaven forbid) a raw consumer was gullible enough to set the spinner to auto mode, the result may be unique but it would not be readable. In fact there would be a high probability that the resulting rubbish would be so nonsensical as to place the owner’s website in ridicule. Better not to have begun such an enterprise at all.

What makes a good spun article is not the software but the person who is doing the spinning as a craft. The software is the necessary environment, capable of forming and understanding spun syntax, or spintax (or “spyntax”) and then able to output hundreds or even thousands of articles from the original document, usually substituting the alternative words and phrases in a random manner (although some spinners allow you to set to every nth variant).

But that is all it can do. Do not believe claims that such spinner endowed with artificial intelligence (AI) are able to produce hundreds of perfectly readable articles by means of a cunning algorithm, as if each had been written by a gifted human; that event is a whole generation away at the very least. Such claims are bogus, and are as nonsensical as the rubbish they produce, as the disappointment of everyone who believes them will attest.

The English language is not something to be reverse-engineered by an algorithm. No matter how clever the people who programmed it, it can never do the job that it claims. It may offer, as an example, the one article that came out right, but it will hide the other 999 articles which came out wrong.

The spinning process, theoretically, works perfectly well, but it can only be so when in the hands of a skilled and experienced person. You have to carefully watch each stage of the process. Two years experience is probably a bare minimum. You need to have made all the mistakes and understood them so that these are not made again.

Above all, you must understand that a synonym is a dangerous thing. You trust them at your peril. A classic example of this pitfall was in the demonstration video from the creators of an early version of SENuke, where the video’s narrator was demonstrating how his built-in spinner was very good at making substitutions, and chose the sentence “Trainers are worn on the feet” to show this. Almost immediately, he fell into the trap of facing a substitution of “worn” with the sense of “old and dirty”, illustrating exactly the problem that spinning carries with it when in the wrong hands.

For these reasons, article spinning is time-intensive. That is why it is relatively expensive, when compared to rewriting. With spinning, every word needs to be considered methodically. With rewriting, you just need to rewrite the article. But with rewriting you only have one new article; whereas with spinning you can have hundreds or thousands. If you only want one version of an article which you admire on your website then you should ask for a rewrite. You should not ask for this article to be spun. Similarly, if you want many hundreds of completely unique and readable articles then you would not want to pay for each of these to be rewritten individually: only then is spinning your answer, for reasons of economy, if nothing else.

Content spinning and content rewriting are two different skill sets. Sometimes the same person will have both these skill sets, but often they will not. You should not expect someone who is a writer, or a rewriter, to be able to spin; nor should you expect a specialist spinner to be able to write or rewrite an article.

You should only seek out expert professionals to do these things. The quality or standard should not be in question: it should be assumed that the quality should be excellent. Your only consideration in choosing one over the other is cost. Rewriting a 2,000 word article would cost only (for example) $80. Then you would have one article which you could call your own for $80. Spinning a 2,000 word article would cost (for example) $250. But at the end of it you would have 500 completely unique articles costing only 50 cents each.

Not everyone can rewrite content, and not everyone can spin content to a degree which is satisfactory. In the end, the client only has himself or herself to blame if they ask for one when they really want the other, and if they get the wrong person to do it.

So there you have it. First decide what you want. Then make sure you select a good professional to do it. If you make the right choice at both these stages then you will have yourself to congratulate when things go amazingly right. But ask for the wrong thing, or go to the wrong person…

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