Article Spinning 101: How to Protect Your Blog Content
When your blog ranks highly for a competitive phrase, people steal your content. It comes with the territory.
I get that, and I try not to let it bother me. But when someone takes my blog content, replaces a few of my phrases with words of her own, and then has the guts to slap her real name on it and use it to promote her so-called “marketing expertise” – consider me bothered.
This is called “article spinning,” and it’s one of the sleaziest form of online marketing.
Article Spinning? Why Would Anyone Want to Do That?
People spin articles for two reasons:
1. Search engines often identify “spun” content as original, so there’s no duplicate content penalty. You can spend five minutes changing a few words in an article that took someone else three hours to write, and Google will see your version as original.
In case five minutes is too much time, you can also buy software that will “spin” an article for you.
2. Rephrasing someone else’s words makes it harder to pursue legal claims of copyright infringement. I know because I’ve tried.
It can be hard to catch article spinning in the act. And once you do, the offender will often claim that they wrote the work, pointing out the parts of the content that they “spun.”
Luckily, my years of studying SEO also taught me the importance of including links to my own site within each posts. (See what I just did there?) Doing so can reduce your bounce rate, because it encourages people to explore your blog further.
But there’s another great reason for including text links back to your own content: article spinners often forget to remove those links. So when they post your work on their site, you get a ping back letting you know that they’ve linked to you.
Protecting Yourself: Internal Links and Screen Shots
That’s what happened this morning. I got a ping back from the site of a “social media consultant” who had spun one of my blog posts. When I asked her about it on Facebook, she denied ever hearing of my blog.
“I think you’ll find that there are 1000s of articles on this subject,” she wrote. I read many and take from them what works for me, then pass on that info in true social media style. A SMP is a must and the stages are generic, im sure you would agree! Will check yours out..as am not following.”
Her response didn’t explain why her blog post included a link back to my site … the same link that I included in my original article.
When I asked her to explain that one, she promptly deleted the “spun” version of my blog post and blocked me from her Facebook page.
So that’s one more lesson for you: saving screen shots of the offending material is always a good idea. Just in case the article spinner decides to replace the post they stole with one that calls you names.
Normally I’m not into naming and shaming. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, even though there’s no good excuse for this kind of thing. But when someone steals my content, feed me a bunch of lies, calls me “hon” in a sanctimonious manner … then I get pissed. Then I might call her out.
And when I do, I’m going to use a “no-follow” tag. Because I work hard for my link authority, and I’m not sharing it with article spinners.