Stop Writing for Google

Books & Writing July 22, 2015

How many times have you seen online articles that make absolutely no sense because they seem like they were written using a thesaurus? Wanna know a little secret? They were written using a thesaurus!

It’s called article spinning. It is when “content writers” take a piece of published material and paraphrases it so it passes plagiarism checkers like Copyscape. This paraphrased version can then be published as a brand new article.

“Confusing Sign” by Geoffrey Gallaway on Flickr

The problem is that most article spinners are not writers, and the companies that hire them do not really care about quality. As long as the paraphrased article has all the required keywords, it is given the green light. The most important thing is to make each article as SEO-friendly as possible, so it lands on the first search results page of Google.

So, all a spinner really has to do is substitute synonyms every five words or so to make sure that the finished product does not come out as a plagiarized version of the original article (at least according to the rules of whatever plagiarism checker is used).

Not All Articles Are Created Equal

“Paperwork” by Neil on Flickr

Sure, article spinning seems great for SEO, but what happens after a person actually clicks on your link and sees nothing but poorly written pieces? Chances are you won’t be getting any repeat visits soon. In fact, there’s a big chance that even first-time visitors won’t be bothered to stay and read beyond the first few sentences.

Google Is Not Your Customer

“Google” by Carlos Luna on Flickr

People are. So, why aren’t you creating content for them? Don’t get so busy getting on Google’s good side that you end up missing the real target.

Yes, a little SEO is good to get people to come, but it will all be for nothing if you don’t have anything of value to offer to retain them. All you are doing is wasting time—both yours and your customers’. Well, that and you’re also throwing away money on poorly written articles.

Focus on Quality

“Quality Ice Cream Mural” by Kevin on Flickr

Start writing things that your customers would want to read and top it off with a great headline. That’s the first and most important step. Here’s a great read on writing effective headlines to get you started.

If you do it right, people will come—and then come back for more. And if you have something that’s excellent, then people will start telling their family and friends about it.

The Bottom Line

Of course, there is nothing wrong with doing a little marketing to promote what you have to offer, but you have to get step one down first for it to truly work. Keep in mind that your customers are (generally) selfish. There is only one question on their mind: what’s in it for me? If you can’t answer that, then no amount of SEO can help you.

Any thoughts? Share them with us in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Stop Writing for Google

  1. Thanks for the heads up about spinners stealing people’s content, but (unless I completely missed it) this article never mentions how to avoid it. In other words, how do I stop someone from stealing one of my articles and spinning it?

    1. Unfortunately, there’s not really a solid way to prevent it. If you see an article that’s clearly in violation of copyright, you can issue them a DMCA or ask to have the piece taken down.

      At the moment, however, there’s no practical way to prevent someone from copying, pasting, tweaking, and publishing an article as their own.

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