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Article spinning is a search engine optimization technique by which blog or website owners attempt to manipulate their rank on Google and other search engines. It works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to avoid being penalized in the Search Engine Results pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. The original articles are often plagiarized from other websites and can often also be copyright infringements if the original article was used without the copyright owner's permission.
Website owners may pay writers to perform spinning manually, rewriting all or parts of articles. Writers also spin their own articles, manually or automatically, allowing them to sell the same articles with slight variations to a number of clients or to use the article for multiple purposes, for example as content and also for article marketing. There are a number of software applications which will automatically replace words or phrases in articles. Automatic rewriting can change the meaning of a sentence through the use of words with similar but subtley different meaning to the original. For example, the word "picture" could be replaced by the word "image" or "photo". Thousands of word-for-word combinations are stored in either a text file or database thesaurus to draw from. This ensures that a large percentage of words are different from the original article.
Although article spinning may allow the writer to avoid detection from duplicate content checkers, automated spinning produces pages that are of poor quality for humans to read since true synonyms are scarce in language. The software is likely to corrupt the meaning of the text by indiscriminate exchanging of words. In English, for example, the nouns dame, broad, wench, woman, and lady are all terms that might be used to describe a female human. These words have shades of meaning that range from respectful to insulting. Now consider the consequences of spinning articles automatically and finding that these words have been used interchangeably. In 2008, a new form of article spinning appeared, in the form of 'wrangling'. Content wrangling involves the use of a neural network and several terabytes of data to create an automated word substitution system that is far less prone to producing garbled text. As wranglers 'learn' the more they are used, they tend to improve over time, as demonstrated by the average word replacement rates achieved by the ContentBoss wrangler (from circa 20% in 2008 to nearly 45% in 2009). The theoretical limit for substitution is a hotly-contested topic, although the ContentBoss 'Principle of Syntactical Equivalence' suggests that almost 30% of an average text of none-trivial length is irreducible.
Contrary to popular opinion, Google does not penalize web sites that have duplicated content on it, but the advances in filtering techniques mean that duplicate content will rarely feature well in SERPS. . The duplication of web content may also break copyright law in many countries. See, for example, the United States Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
^ Arellano, Vanessa (2007-08-29). "SEO 101: The Advantages Of Article Spinning". Turks US: Daily News. Turks US. http://www.turks.us/article~story~SEO101-TheAdvantagesOfArticleSpinn.htm. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
^ Lasnik, Adam (2006-12-18). "Deftly dealing with duplicate content". Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google Inc.. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2006/12/deftly-dealing-with-duplicate-content.html. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
^ "Webmaster Help Centre: Little or no original content". Google Inc.. http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=66361. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
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