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Can Article Spinning Beat Google’s Duplicate Content Filters

Updated on July 22, 2010

Article Spinning Software provides authors with the ability to create variations of existing articles and documents for publication and syndication on the web. Words, phrases, sentences or entire paragraphs can be rewritten using alternate words and synonyms in order to put a new spin on the original, hence the term spinning.

  • Most spinners have the option to completely automate the rewriting process, however this invariably produces unreadable garbage.
  • A huge amount of human input is required if you want the finished article to be readable.
  • Although it is claimed that spinning can produce unique content a more accurate description would be that it is simply paraphrased.

Are Article Spinners Capable Of Delivering Their Promise?

The purpose of spinning articles is to reposition existing content so that it can be syndicated through article directories like and thousands of others. It is claimed that by syndicating spun content it is possible to beat Google’s duplicate content filters. So the burning question is; Are article spinners capable of delivering their promise?


But first the article has to be indexed. Prior to indexing search engines have no idea what the page is about so there is no advantage given to unique content over duplicate content when it comes to indexing a page for the first time. How long it takes to be initially indexed depends on multiple factors, how well the page is linked from other powerful pages within the site for example. However, none of these factors have anything to do with how unique, how well written, or how complete the article is.

Article Spinning and Host Crowding

Host crowding is a filter that limits the amount of results returned from any website in response to a search query. In effect only two pages can be returned, these can be grouped together in the search results with the second result slightly indented or they could be pages apart. The problem host crowding presents to authors is that there may already be tens or even hundreds of pages already targeting the term they want to chase.

You can check how many pages there are on targeting Article Spinning by using Google’s advanced site: search

“Article Spinning”

This search produces 8 results, so before any page targeting ‘Article Spinning’ will appear in the Google’s SERPs you need to outrank these pages locally. 8 is not a threatening number but keep in mind that some of these pages may already have inbound links as part of a sustained SEO campaign. Article spinning gives no advantage in this area.

Article Spinning and Duplicate Content

Although Google have publicly declared there is no duplicate content penalty, they do filter overly similar or duplicate content. Content that is deemed overly similar can only be seen if you navigate to the last page of results and click on the link ‘repeat the search with the omitted results included’. While it’s true that article spinners can create articles that are unique, readable to humans and pass Copyscape’s plagiarism test with flying colors, it all becomes academic unless they can sneak under Google's radar too.

Document Normalization

It may seem that search engines are able to read and understand words and decide what pages are relevant for a given search. Well, search engines are contextual and they do base their rankings based on the words that make up pages and the links that point to those pages but they don’t read words in the conventional sense.

Document Normalization is an essential step in every search engines algorithm; it allows them to look at pages on a level playing field by removing the noise and concentrating on the words that have true meaning. This means that many words are simply ignored, these words are called function words and account for approximately 40% of any article. Although function words are ignored or given little vallue by search engines they are required by human readers and include words like ‘the’, ‘and’ etc. Function words are necessary if you want human readers to enjoy and understand your writing; this limits article spinning to effectively working with around 60% of the total words on a page.

Content Words and Function Words

In every language, you have two different kinds of word:

  • content words - e.g. car, phone, liberty, celebrity, etc.
  • function words - e.g. and, but, to, the, etc.

Content words hold some kind of meaning; we can visualize a car is or understand the concept of liberty. Function words don’t hold meaning; ask yourself, what is the meaning of ‘the’? Search engines strip documents of function words in order to focus on words with meaning. It is useful to know this, as it is what a search engine will be doing to the words in every article you write and syndicate.

Search engines employ a list of stop words in order to strip web pages down to a skeleton of content words. This stop list is a list of commonly used words, function words, verbs, prepositions, etc, which it removes from the page and helps the search engine determine what the page is about. This is all part of the Document Normalization process search engines performs upon web pages in order to determine the relevance of each page objectively.

The complete document normalization process search engines perform upon web pages when indexing a document is as follows:

Linearization and Tokenization

Markup tags (html code), punctuation and capitalization are removed from a page, the search engine moves through the page systematically, working from top to bottom and left to right, removing content from tags as it finds it. This action leaves the page as very basic text file containing one continuous block of words.

Regardless of whether the above paragraph was original or the result of article spinning it would be reduced to:

markup tags html code punctuation and capitalization are removed from a page the search engine moves through the page systematically working from top to bottom and left to right removing content from tags as it finds it this action leaves the page as very basic text file containing one continuous block of words

Filtration and Stemming

The search engine applies a stop list to remove commonly used words from the document. This leaves us with only content words. The remaining content words are then ‘stemmed’. That is to say that the remaining terms are reduced to common word roots (e.g. ‘techno’ for ‘technology’, ‘technologies’, ‘technological’).

And again whether the above paragraph was original or the result of article spinning it would be reduced to:

markup tag html code punctuat capit remov page search engine move page systemat work top bottom left right remov content tag find action leav page basic text file contain continu block word

Just over 40% of the words used in the original text were stop words which is about the norm for any webpage or article. In reality this means that a 300 word article is going to be reduced to around 180 words. There is also the target keyphrase to take into account, say for example the article was targeting ‘Article Spinning Software Review’ and that it was used five times in the article. None of these words are stop words so our 300 word document in reality offers only 160 words in which to make it suitably unique in order to pass Google’s duplicate content filter.

This is where the real headache starts for anyone using article spinning software, you can’t replace words with words that share the same root because it won’t make one bit of difference to the way search engines see the page. As I said earlier, search engines don’t read words in the conventional sense, and while it is possible to spin articles that are grammatically correct, readable and pass Copyscape’s plagiarism test, it is a lot harder to fly under Google’s radar.

Small Business SEO Services Scotland

Why Article Spinning Is A Complete Waste Of Time

The Arguments For And Against Article Spinning Software


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I've created 3 websites in the past month, each with 5 pages of content, and have tried spinning, posting the same content, and completely re-writing the articles for backlinks.

      Site #1 Article Rewriting

      Ranked #1 on Google

      Site #2 Article Spinning

      Ranked Page #2 of Google

      (Was ranked on page #1, but dropped off)

      Site #3 Posting Same Exact Articles

      Ranked Page #3 of Google

      (Was ranked on page #2, but dropped off)

      I think the rule here is quality over quantity. All sites are in different niches, but all are relatively easy keywords to rank for. Site #1 has LESS backlinks, but all from UNIQUE content.

      Let's look at it this way.

      There is NO duplicate content penalty.

      Google has already said that.

      Nevertheless, if Google sees a website posting the same content, or spun content (which is the same, still) then Google will not give that much JUICE to the site you're linking to.

      If Google sees a website posting unique content, and this unique content links back to your site, then Google should pass more juice.

      That's my two cents.

      I know people are big on spinning, but I would rather have 5 backlinks from UNIQUE content as opposed to 20 backlinks from SPUN content.

      Although this study isn't 100% conclusive due to many other ranking factors, if I had to guess, Google probably passes more juice from unique content, as opposed to spun or syndicated content.

    • Kinda Hip profile image

      Kinda Hip 

      6 years ago


      Your comment pretty much sums up how I feel about it too. I think Peter has some good points, I read a lot of his hub pages. Most of which are aimed at attacking spinning by the way.

      It is interesting to speculate what could give him such a passion for this point of view? One of his first articles actually inspired me to write mine here:

      Now I have avoided commenting previously because to be frank, Peter does not tolerate an open mind well. Or an opposing point of view. He will probably just say I'm some hack that doesn't speak English or something of that sort. You can tell when someone does not have a sincere conviction when they resort to personal attacks.

      I still hold the view that there is a large gray area in this issue. As you mentioned Justin, it does get heated. Why is the heat necessary though? Will your life change for the better or worse based on whether you are on the right side of this issue or not?

      Just my opinion but I enjoy reading Peter's hub pages. He makes good points. But then I read more and find his approach to expressing his views and rebutting opposing views distasteful. He obviously has the intellect to do better, and I hope he does so in the future.

      Sometimes I wonder actually if he intentionally does this to encourage discourse. Stirring the pot as they say.

    • profile image

      Justin Lugbill 

      7 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      Pretty heated argument...

      I stand somewhere in the grey area on this issue. Yes, poorly spun articles are not helpful. However, a good SEO professional will manually spin articles, titles, and the anchor text being used. On the occasion that I spin an article, I go through each and every spin, and make edits to make sure it actually provides value to the reader.

      Yes, it does saturate the market with content that is very similar. However, from a reader's perspective, you have to see that the audience of the various websites, is not the same at all. The reader will not be the same.

      Most importantly, a lot of the negative aspects to spinning are in regards to the websites that USE the content, not the ones producing it.

      If you create a quality article, that is relevent to readers, and go through the spinning process (it takes me over an hour to just go through and add variations to a spun article of 500-1000 words), then it provides value, is unique (although I do believe Google may see the similarities), and creates quality backlinks (assuming you monitor your pingbacks to ensure content farms aren't using the content), with strong anchor text.

      In short, this isn't a black and white issue. You can't put the entire process, and remove the quality factor and skill of the professional. It is like saying that all car repairmen are immoral, because you had one bad experience, from a shoddy, two bit operation.

    • Peter Hoggan profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Hoggan 

      7 years ago from Scotland

      OK, lets look at the Google keyword tool first of all. You are aware this tool is designed for AdWords users and does not implement data taken from natural search in any way. Secondly the numbers you mentioned can only be seen in broad match. That means that it counts searches for terms like "legal panel" or "solar eclipse". In broad match all the words don't have to be in the query for an ad to be triggered and counted. I can only deduce from what you have said in your post about that you are completely ignorant as to how the keywords tool works or what its purpose actually is.

      I think you are selling yourself, and the spun crap that you are promoting, short. There are far more sites using spun content than you indicate. 250 is just a drop in the ocean. This site, for example, is inundated with the stuff, but as soon as it is reported HP staff they have the intelligence to remove it. I wonder, do you know that spun content is not allowed on HubPages?

      I am sure that the owners of the sites you mentioned above will love the fact you have named and shamed them here. Well done, I applauded you for that although I doubt if that was the reasoning behind mentioning them.

      I notice that you have put PR next to the sites you mention. PageRank carries little weight because in days of lore it was easy to fake with link exchanges and more recently the syndication of spun content. I hate to burst your bubble on this but you might be surprised to know that there are PR6, PR7, PR8, PR9 and PR10 sites out there that don’t use spinners. Trying to associate high PR with article spinning is completely delusional.

      Incidentally I had a just read the first paragraph of one of your hubs. It’s either spun, badly translated or your grasp of the English is somewhat lacking.

    • Kevin Hemminger profile image

      Kevin Hemminger 

      7 years ago from Philippines

      Obviously, you're against article spinning. My guess then that you never have article spun (because you're against it -- so why would you do something you're against?)

      Want to see a hundred million dollar operation that uses article spinning as their main SEO focus? No? How about you good readers of this hubpage, want to see a nice hundred million dollar spinning operation? Do ya? Knod yes ... ok here you go.

      Search for "solar panel", or "solar panels". #1 ... Go to google keyword tool and look it up. That's right, 2.83 million searches a month. Now search google for "solar power" ... like #5 or so. That's an 880k search a month term. In fact, being ranked 38k in alexa for being nothing but a solar panel store -- you know they're raking in the bucks.

      Intrigued how they go there? PR4 PR5 PR4 PR4 PR4 PR4 PR6 PR4 PR3

      And about 250 other websites just like it. Not a bad article spinning operation huh? Colleges should start teaching courses in article spinning -- why not it'd make you a multi millionaire if you do it right.

      Going to be a man about it and rewrite your article to how wonderful article spinning really works? You should -- because if you really don't like it, then maybe if you do something besides stick your head in the sand you can get the problem fixed with google by complaining to them -- because as it stands right now, article spinning works pretty dern well and google ain't doin' nothin' 'bout it.

    • Peter Hoggan profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Hoggan 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks nettech, perhaps in the future I will extend this article or create a follow up article that discusses keyword vectors and some of the more technical aspects of how search engines compare and rank related documents.

    • nettech profile image


      8 years ago from London (UK)


      Absolutely brilliant article, I've been in SEO now for a few years and have engaged in some article spinning to some success. I found your article very informative and straight to the point backed up with facts and figures. Can't wait to read some of your other hubs.


    • Peter Hoggan profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Hoggan 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      Thanks tonymac04, I wanted to show that switching a few words, or rewording paragraphs, simply isn’t enough to fool Google’s sophisticated duplicate content filters, I hope I succeeded. Glad you found it interesting.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Interesting stuff. I learned a lot form this Hub. Thanks for putting it together so well.

      Love and peace


    • Peter Hoggan profile imageAUTHOR

      Peter Hoggan 

      8 years ago from Scotland

      This is a valid point and needs some clarification. Two different searches will return different results even if the difference is down to stop words. The above article is not describing how results are ranked rather how duplicate content in spun articles is detected.

      During the Document Normalization process any pages deemed to be exact copies or overly similar would be filtered. The full text of the unfiltered documents including stop words will be used to ensure the most relevant pages for the search query are returned which explains why your two searches return different results.

    • Hub Llama profile image

      Hub Llama 

      8 years ago from Denver, CO

      Good info in this article. I'm not so sure about so-called stop words anymore. After monitoring some of my own sites carefully, I've noticed that I can rank much higher (or lower) for a particular phrase based on whether or not there is a "the" in there.

      As an example search for something like "work at New York Times" and "work for New York Times" and you will get similar, but not exact results. In order for that to happen, the big G has to be doing something with those words other than just throwing them out.


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