Is Using Spun Content Stealing Content?
Crafting content is hard.
Crafting good content? Even harder.
If you’ve been writing for a while, you know how time-consuming it can be to create a good piece of content. So it can be tempting to spin content automatically using a software program that re-writes your entire article so that Google will think it’s entirely different content.
Within just minutes, you can create a whole new piece of content from your original article and post it elsewhere online. For those in content marketing, spinning content into other formats can help generate new leads and increase revenue. However, most software programs like this simply replace words and phrases with synonyms, which can significantly alter the sentence structure.
So, what is spun content? And is all spun content bad content? Let’s take a closer look.
What is Spun Content?
Spun content may sound like stolen content and it could be, depending on your sources.
If you’re reusing your own content, spun content isn’t stolen even though search engines like Google might think so. But all writing is essentially spun content. Whenever you’re getting your information from a source other than yourself, you’re basically spinning other content into your own original content using multiple sources. A good writer knows how to cite sources to avoid plagiarism.
But like almost anything, there’s a good way and a bad way to spin content. There’s a thin line between spun content and plagiarism so it’s best you know the difference to avoid penalties by Google or potentially being sued, depending on what kind of content was plagiarized.
Content spinning could mean re-writing a sentence or paragraph in your own words. Adding your own observations helps to further differentiate your content from your source’s content. People spin content all the time to publish the same information on multiple sites.
Good content spinning involves:
- Re-wording of entire cited material
- Re-writing content by hand rather than using software
- Re-packaging new content into different formats like PDF downloads, eBooks, etc.
- Adding a fresh perspective, new angle, or new information
Bad content spinning involves:
- Copying directly from an outside source without citing that source
- Using automated software to spin content and post on multiple sites
- Using Google Translate to translate the article into another language and back a few times
Ways to Spin Content
According to Grow Traffic, the levels of article spinning include mechanically spun content, multi-spun content, mechano-manual spun content, and manually spun content.
Mechanically spun content is content that’s been run through an automatic spinning software that swaps out synonyms. This kind of content doesn’t read very well and you can tell it’s been spun because the words have been poorly replaced.
Multi-spun content is content that’s slightly more sophisticated than mechanically spun content because it’s been run through automatic spinning software multiple times and you can clearly see that it’s different from the original, but the quality and readability suffers.
Mechano-manual spun content is content that’s been run through automatic spinning software and then proofread by an actual human being. Mechano-manual spun content reads more naturally than the last two types of content because, despite its advancements, technology hasn’t come far enough to duplicate human efforts when it comes to content creation.
Manual spun content is the best kind of spun content because there’s no software or automation involved in any way. Manual spun content is content spun only by a human writer with an extensive vocabulary or access to a thesaurus. You can either spin the content yourself or hire a writer to spin the content for you.
Tips on Spinning Content & Avoiding Plagiarism
Now that you know what spun content is and the difference between the types of spun content, here are some content spinning best practices so you can avoid plagiarism and search engine penalties.
- Find a New Format. As mentioned above, finding a new format for your content is a great way to get your original content out there in several different ways. Think about how your content could be formatted differently. For instance, could you spin blog content into an eBook? Can you use the video script you wrote for landing page content? That kind of spinning is highly recommended, especially in content marketing.
- Use Content as a Guest Post. If you want to get your content out there, but don’t want to re-write a whole new article on the same topic, consider spinning it yourself by re-writing it and possibly expanding on certain things within the article to distinguish it from your original article. Then, you can post that content on another website by way of guest posting. Orbit Media recommends Reverse Angle Guest Posting, which means reversing the angle of the article. For example, if you wrote about “How to Drive Traffic to Your Website,” you can try, “How NOT to Drive Traffic to Your Website. Or if you wrote a blog post called, “5 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Blog Posts,” you could write another post called “5 Tips for Writing Blog Posts,” or “5 Blog Writing Best Practices.”
- Use Copyscape. Copyscape is a site that scans the Internet and indexes the content it finds, serving as a plagiarism checker. Although it was mainly used in academia to make sure a student’s paper wasn’t plagiarized, many companies and organizations now use it to make sure the content they pay for isn’t duplicated anywhere on the web. You can do the same to avoid publishing plagiarized content.
- Use SEO Best Practices. After spinning your content, give it one more proofread to make sure that you’re using White Hat SEO practices, meaning avoiding using the same keywords too many times in any given article or blog post. Keywords should be used sparingly and only about twice in one paragraph. Remember, you don’t have to include keywords in every single paragraph – just enough for search engines to pick up on them.
- Spin for Readability. Most spun content is poorly written because a machine can’t possibly create readable content that’s both engaging and entertaining. Even if you used the manual spinning technique, you still need to make sure your content is readable. Otherwise, no one will bother to stick around and read it. They’ll go elsewhere for the same information. Make sure you’re choosing appropriate synonyms, re-wording phrases, and restructuring sentences so that they’re still captivating and interesting.
Now that you know that spun content (when done correctly) is not actually stolen content, you can begin spinning your own content using the tips mentioned above.
If you have more ideas or need help planning your content marketing strategy reach out to us at [email protected] or comment in the section below.