Why Spun Content Will Hurt Your Online Business
The Deception Of Spun Content
The biggest question you need to be asking your self right now is this, is spun content the right strategy to use in marketing my online business.
I am an affiliate marketer, web designer and SEO specialist for small to medium sized business and I want to share my story with you about how I have used spun content in the past and the results that I have seen as well as the devastation this type of marketing can have on your internet business.
There is nothing to buy or download on this lens it is just my story of how Spun Content, Greed and my in-ability to see past the almighty dollar nearly destroyed my online business.
My First Encounter With Content Spinning
My experience with spinning content starts back in early 2008 when I came across a site that would allow you to add articles to their network for publishing.
The concept was very simple and at this time I don't believe that there was anyone selling or promoting any type of article spinning software.
To have an article submitted to this network you needed to create three articles which were supposed to be unique and written by you all with the same paragraph count.
Then those articles would be submitted into the network of article directories, blogs and any other site that had registered for free content from this content distribution site.
To get free content all you needed to do was agree to keep the links in tact from each article you wished to publish on your site.
To understand how easy it was, once you had written your three articles you then just had to add them to the article distribution system where they would then be submitted for publication after a review process was completed.
Initially this was a very effective system for me and many others getting some very good results in the search engines and increasing affiliate sales 10 fold.
The First Article Spinning Software That I Used Was Article Spinner
This was the first software application I saw online created by Brad Callen and it was Free
This may not be correct having made the statement that this was the first article spinner, however it was the first one that I downloaded and used to spin articles to get back links.
So what was my attraction to actually using this type of software well if you have spent any time writing articles you will know how time intensive it can be and for each article you could only get one or two links for your effort.
You could submit the same article to numerous article directories if you liked however the impact to doing this was minimal in getting any link juice to a website.
So in my mind and seeing the results from using the article submission service discussed above this was the perfect solution to getting many more links from the same article without losing any link value to my site.
I sent an email off the the article submission service to see if I could use spin syntax in my articles to make them even more unique, then answer I received back was yes I could.
Now i was going to shift my article marketing into over drive and really slam the search engines with link after link there was no stopping me, I could see some really exciting times ahead for making money and even starting a business from these services.
Oh and by the way, the reason I initially downloaded the article spinner was because it was free to do so, you see Brad had two other products that worked in conjunction with this software and to use them you needed to pay for the licenses.
Article Spinning Software Evolves
As time went on and the results I was seeing were improving each day I became obsessed with creating more and more unique in my articles.
I needed to find a program that would allow me to spin articles even deeper,meaning not just words but phrases, sentences and even complete paragraphs.
This is when I came across the Best Spinner from Jon ledger which was much more advanced than the article spinner from Brad Callen as it had an online database that you could use to automatically change words with-in your articles.
You have to remember here and everything you have read up until now you should have noticed i have not mentioned one very important fact, Quality Content.
Yep, I had no desire to turn out any quality content my goal was simply to flood the internet was as many articles as possible to get as many back links as I could it had become my complete focus for my business without ever thinking about the consequences of my actions.
And to be truthful I had no need to worry about consequences as my traffic was growing at a very fast rate I had sales flying in and life was really good, so much so that I was only working about two hours a day and making over $5,000 a week.
As I traveled through 2009 and 2010/11 things could not have been better or easier when making money online in fact I even stopped writing quality articles for my own sites or really doing any work at all including site maintenance such as updating plugins or even Wordpress.
As far as I was concerned I needed nothing else but what I was doing with article spinning. I was even so arrogant about it that I had two sites which were aged and were making some money with good page-rank that I wanted to improve so I plugged them into the link networks to get free content and give a few links back to the community, you know because i was such a nice guy and all.
Lets take a step back to understand the hype behind all of this. During that time more and more people developed software for spinning as well as services where you could submit articles.
It was probably one of the hottest topics from mid 2009 until the end of 2012.
Even now many of those sites are still in existence even though they are not as popular. They still have the sales hype all over them stating how effective this is for anyone to do and even make a truckload of cash.
Submitting Your Articles Was Never Easier
Getting Back Links To A Site Was Never Easier
When I first started using this software there were only a very limited amount of services you could use.
However not being someone to let a little thing like that stop me I created blogs on blogger and Wordpress to publish my own articles for links.
Then as time moved on more and more companies saw the money making potential of having a service that allows people to submit content as well as get free content.
Seeing all these article submission services appear and with the money I was making I joined them all and was submitting article after article to every network I could find, as far as I was concerned there was no stopping me from dominating any niche I wanted.
And as I said money was literally pouring into my bank account and there was no indication that this was ever going to stop.
Buy this time I had created more than 52 websites with most having links coming in from spun articles and in as many article networks as I could find.
When Something Seems To Good To Be True It Usually Is
The Day My Business Came Crashing Down Around My Ears.
Everything was going great guns I had pain many of my debts and started to bank so money i really could not believe how easy this was to do.
I was even building a name for myself as the most effective article marketing by many of the online experts and starting to receive many mentions on other websites about the results I was getting buy doing this.
Then as the New year came in and 2012 began I had plans to build even sites and go after more niches i was going to dominate them all.
However I started to notice a change in some of my sites, pages that were in the top five could no longer be found in the first 10 pages of Google, I knew something was up so I had to investigate further.
What I found was that the sites I had been adding free content to from the article submission services had virtually disappeared overnight in the rankings of Google. They were still showing in Bing and Yahoo but Google had dropped them like a rock.
I had also noticed a slight decline in the rankings of my main money making sites but not that much that I was concerned after all Google does do a dance every now and then and usually my rankings come back with in a day or two.
After about a week i had to actually sit in front of my computer and do some research to see what was going on with the drop in revenue and the rankings for my sites it was now 19 sites that were effected and that number seemed to be increasing each day.
What I had not counted on or even foreseen was Google doing such an aggressive update called Panda. In fact I had been neglecting my business that much I had even stopped following many influential people online who may have been able to give me a heads up about the release of Panda.
I spent months trying to correct this and stop the loss of these sites now at 34 and all starting to cost me money and time. All these sites also had Adsense ads which had gone from a total of around $250 a week to zero and all affiliate sales had also stopped on these sites.
I was really starting to feel the pinch, however there was a saving grace for me. I had eight of my main sites that never had any free content placed on them from the free article submission services which had seen no effect all and even started to increase in rankings.
I think the reason for the increase in rankings was the fact that Google using the Panda algorithm was now dropping many sites to the bottom of the index not that my sites had improved.
There was something coming that I had also not anticipated and would prove to be devastating to my online business so much so that I had to get a second job to survive and keep my sites online.
July 2012 Was The End Of Spun Content And Many Online Businesses
Panda Was Only The Start Penguin Cleaned Up The Rest
As I said I had a saving grace for my main business websites so I actually had made the decision to stop trying to recover the effected sites and concentrate on my existing sites.
I then started to delete or remove any effected sites or links to my working sites hoping that the Panda would not come looking for the only source of income I had left, needless to say I was very nervous.
Then on the 20th July 2012 I received a message in my Webmaster account about unnatural links for one of my most profitable sites which on thew advice of others I initially ignored.
Before I go on can I just say that if you have a message like this and you decide to listen to the wrong people and ignore it you will never recover that site, that's a fact.
When Penguin first appeared and I started to see my sites receive un-natural links messages one after the other I was in real trouble. With-in a few weeks of receiving these messages my sites were nowhere to be found in Google actually that's not true my affiliate site went from ranking number 3 in Google to 520 in Google and that's just one keyword from a site that has close on 500 pages of content.
To understand why I was receiving these messages to these sites and not the other sites is this, these were the sites that I spent most of my time building links to using Spun Content and as I have said the initial results were amazing to say the least, it was like printing money, but now I feel like a counterfeiter that has just been busted and all my assets have been seized by the Google police.
I researched everything about Penguin and what all the SEO experts were saying to do which was to ignore the message and build more links and really mix up the anchor text to your site and you will recover.
Just so we are clear here on the damage that spun content can do, every page was affected on the site, however the most confusing aspect of everything was the fact that no page-rank was lost making it much easier for me to believe that all I had to do was ignore any messages from Google and I would pull myself out of this trouble by building more links to make my link profile look more natural.
In reality and once the dust settled I realized I had lost 83% of my traffic in Google and that percentage continued to grow the longer I did nothing or continued to build more links. You see it was to late, this site had actually received a manual Penguin Penalty and everything was being monitored in relation to links, as fast as I could build more links using anything but my primary keywords those links were being discounted by Google.
During this time I was even able to acquire some links from P8 sites by writing some high quality articles and testimonials even getting an article with a branded link back to my site on the Washington post website, nothing worked.
So Should You Use Spun Content?
Look after reading this lens I think you already know the answer to this which should be a big fat NO.
If you think you are smarter and can do it better than anyone else before you are going to be wrong. in fact in my experience with using spun content you get much more value from writing one high quality article and placing it on a site like Squidoo than you will ever get from a Spun article placed on a hundred sites.
Another very quick point I want to make here is this, you have heard about negative SEO right and how it really can not affect you but, what did I do?
I thought I was that smart that nothing could touch me but in reality and after the many updates in Google I actually did Negative SEO to my own sites, WOW maybe I should put my hand up for the manned mission to mars where i can be exposed to a little more radiation that sounds like fun.
For those reading this lens you are probably thinking yourself right now that I got what I deserved and you would be completely right in saying that, however i was not alone as many others have followed in my footsteps and still believe this strategy works.
My concern here is what was stated in the Squidoo HQ release where they have identified some people using spun content as you can see it can be devastating not just to the person doing it but any sites associated with it including Squidoo.
My advice to anyone on Squidoo using spun content is to stop it now, you need to be thinking about the thousands of other people who are creating top quality pages on Squidoo and how your actions may affect them as this is a community site.
You will not see any benefit from doing it and I also that it Squidoo will act on statement that has been made about even deleting accounts that they believe are doing this.
Spun content has made it harder for everyone in Google and to bring it here will only make everything harder in the Squidoo community.
Why Is Squidoo Now Being Targeted With Spun Content?
Over the past few months i have been reading a few sites that claim Squidoo can withstand any Google updates due to it's authority and Alexa ranking as well as the social factors.
I believe this is what is drawing these Content spinners to try to get pages listed on Squidoo. They now know after the updates that any link coming from a low quality site can potential hurt their site or a clients site so they are looking to get links from a safe haven such as Squidoo.
There is a downside to all of us in the community if this does continue. As we know these practices really destroy quality the articles are hard to read and even make sense which will in time force Squidoo to become much more aggressive in how it analyzes content to be published.
Please Complete Our Poll On Spun Content
Just as a matter of interest how many of you have actually used some form of spun content as a marketing strategy.
Have you used it to build back links or add content to a site. What about for adding content to social bookmarking sites.
What Have You Used Spun Content For In The Past? Or Are You Still Using It As A Marketing Strategy?
However if we use my experience to educate others about the damage this can do then hopefully we can keep not just Squidoo but the internet a place for great content with authors that want to write and share their own experiences online.
You need to know that there are still websites out there promoting this type of activity and until we give it exposure those that are not aware will keep doing it.