Hot At Sphinn: Article Spinning, Search Behavior, SEO Advice & More

Do you remember the best piece of SEO advice you ever received? Do you think “article spinning” is spam? And are you up on the latest research about how consumers use search engines? Those were some of the hot topics last week on our sister site, Sphinn, where the community interacts by commenting, tweeting, and liking articles.

Sphinn’s “Discussion of the Week,” which asked What’s the Best Piece of SEO-related Advice You’ve Ever Received?, picked up the most comments (12) and tweets (100) over the past week. If you’re looking for some good nuggets of SEO wisdom, don’t miss the comments there.

But if you’re looking for our favorite comment of the week, that came in a story called Article Spinning – Spin like a pro. (Don’t know what “article spinning” is? I didn’t, either. In a nutshell, it’s writing an article and then changing out a variety of words to try to make the article unique and then spinning these so-called unique articles across the web to build links.) In that thread, Sphinn member Doc2626 of, had the last word (so far) with this comment:

As a copywriter, spinners, whether manual or automatice, make my blood boil! Presenting a slightly massaged re-hash of something already published is underhanded and lazy, as far as I’m concerned. If the material is stolen, that just makes it worse.

Agree? Disagree? Speak your piece in the Sphinn thread. And here’s a rundown of the other stories that were popular on Sphinn last week.

Most Comments

  • DOTW: What's the Best Piece of SEO-related Advice You've Ever Received? – We all give and get advice: on our blogs, at conferences, on the phone with co-workers and peers, etc. But what's THE BEST piece of SEO advice anyone's ever given you? That's the subject of our "Discussion of the Week" this week.
  • Article Spinning – Spin like a pro – To avoid duplicate content links, everyone is spinning their articles these days.  Yes, even spammers.  Learn how to spin like a pro, so you won't be mistaken by the search engines for a spammer.
  • Just Say No to Articles Written for SEO Purposes! – Great piece by Jill Whalen, her summary:  So banish the notion of "SEO articles" from your vocabulary. Optimize the actual pages of your site that are there to do business, and provide as much additional information as you can that will set your business apart from the others. Get into the head of your potential customers and give them exactly what they need to become informed buyers who want to buy only from you.
  • Click-Through Rate Jumps 11.4% After Google Changes “Sponsored Links” to “Ads” ?? – Google’s switch from “Sponsored Links” to “Ads” has not had a negative impact on advertiser performance.  In fact, it may have had just the opposite effect – searchers have clicked on a higher percentage of ads since Google made the switch. (Not yet. Wait til they become used to it.)

Most Tweeted

  • Comparing SEO & Social Media as Marketing Channels – One more piece on the SEO vs. Social Media that we've been featuring here, and others have been discussing elsewhere. Rand Fishkin weighs in with some data from SEOmoz's website and some recent studies, too.
  • Recent Insights Into Search User Behavior – David Harry at Search News Central provides a really nice roundup and summary of data gathered by a Performics study on user behavior with search engines. Data includes SE usage, preference, loyalty as well as query refinement behavior, vertical usage, interaction with organic vs. paid, and more.
  • Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in All the Wrong Places – Comprehensive look at the changing nature of how and when consumers interact with brands on purchase decisions, including analysis of an in-depth case study. From the article at the Harvard Business Review – "Marketers have long used the famous funnel metaphor to think about touch points: Consumers would start at the wide end of the funnel with many brands in mind and narrow them down to a final choice. Companies have traditionally used paid-media push marketing at a few well-defined points along the funnel to build awareness, drive consideration, and ultimately inspire purchase. But the metaphor fails to capture the shifting nature of consumer engagement."
  • Yahoo Clues: New Fun Search Keyword Tool – Is it just me, or does this look like a pretty cool keyword research tool? And it's from Yahoo?! Who'da thunk it?
  • 5 Staggeringly Simple Ways to Create Custom Facebook Landing Tabs – Did you know? "Research from Jeff Widman of Facebook fan page consultancy BrandGlue estimates that 199 out of every 200 interactions (99.5%) come from the Wall. This means that almost nobody is coming back to your fan page after they visit it the first time." Jay Baer shares a handful of tools that make the first fan page visit more likely to convert.

Hot On Sphinn: November 15 to November 21, 2010

  • 5 Reasons NOT to Delete Negative Reviews – While it may seem counter-intuitive, there are quite a few reasons why business owners want to resist the urge to delete comments and reviews that are critical of them. Sometimes, negative reviews can actually help, not harm, your business. Lisa Barone explains a few reasons why it’s okay to let negative reviews lie on your page.
  • Spinning Insults Intelligence, Steals Money and Hurts Businesses – Article spinning has become increasingly prevalent over the last couple of years. Bad enough that it has existed for quite some time… there are those in any industry that prefer to leech off the work of others. But now, a whole new sub-industry has risen.
  • What!?! That's My Competitor in My Google Places Listing! Or, How to Change the Street View Image in Google… – Imagine that you are diligent about maintaining a good quality Google Places listing for your business, complete with video, images, accurate information, monthly specials and discounts, even an experimental Tag. Imagine that you've ranked well for over a year now in Google Places and that your listing generates good leads to your business. Now imagine that you wake up one morning to see that your Google Places Page features a street view image that shows a competitor. Here's what you do…
  • SEO Advice for Bootstrapped Startups – SEO can provide a hugely valuable source of traffic, if done right – especially for a bootstrapped startup where money is tight. If your new product can rank for terms that potential customers are searching for, it can allow you to turn your startup into a success and can send you traffic that you may not be able to justify using AdWords for. Having said all of that though, the most important piece of advice for a bootstrapped startup (or any startup) is, sadly, this:  Do not rely on SEO to market your product!
  • and MyType Profile Coupon Lovers & Avoiders [STUDY] – Having surveyed over 8,500 consumers on questions related to online coupon use, together with MyType have released a very interesting study profiling the demographics and psycho-graphics of both coupon "lovers" and coupon "avoiders." One of the more surprising findings was that six-figure earners are actually twice as likely to actively seek and use online coupons than consumers with a lower income. Read more (including the actual profiles of coupon "lovers" and "avoiders") in my post…
  • Usability. It’s Not Just for Hippies. – The next time you’re in a rush to push out that website: Just remember, one wrong design mis-step can really cost you ($12m). Asking users for feedback, can save more than just a few dollars.
  • Real Life Link Building: Leveraging Real Relationships – Great, in-depth post that drives home the concept "link building IS relationship building."
  • Google Launches New Fashion Site, NoIndexes Entire Domain – Perhaps Google is human after all? Despite a major PR blitz in the run up to the launch of their new fashion retail site, they have made a schoolboy error by excluding all robots from indexing their website.
  • The 6 Flavors of SEO Your Company Needs – Lisa Barone writes about the 6 people in your company who will likely be touching the SEO in one way or another and therefore need to have at least a basic understanding of it, and how it fits with the company vision.
  • Beginner's Guide To Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps To Success – "What if I was given the login and password to someone's web analytics data and asked to "find something interesting?" How would I start the process of web data analysis right?"  Avinash Kaushik outlines 10 steps for getting started with Web data analysis. It's a good overview.
  • Google on Duplicate Content Filtering and News Attribution Metatags – Google was granted a patent this morning that describes how Google might identify duplicate or near duplicate web pages and decide which version to show in search results, and which ones to filter out. It’s a process possibly close to what Google has been using for a while.
  • Calling Bullsh*t on Social Media – Don't miss out on Tamsen McMahon's 32 dos and donts! Read, reread, then rethink your social media strategy.
  • Now All Blogger Outreach Campaigns Will Be Considered Spam Too :) – Aaron Wall: It helps to create things in entirely unique formats. The gamers exploiting stuff burn out one opportunity after another, but most of their new & creative slants are simply extensions of things that worked for others. Getting out in front of the scammers on a new trend & format is far more profitable than following in their footsteps.
  • Spam the hell out of Google’s new source attribution meta elements? – The moment you’ve read Google’s announcement and Matt’s question “What about spam?” you concluded “spamming source attribution tags is a breeze”, right? You’re not alone. Before we discuss how to abuse it, it might be a good idea to analyze Google's new toy within its context. Maybe it's not that spammable …
  • Changing Site Structures with Care – If you must change a web site's structure, this offers an overview of what to consider before and after flipping the switch.
  • Youtube SEO Experiment & Useful Tips – Interesting post from Distilled with a step-by-step walkthrough a YouTube experiment that began with a new account and ended with good visibility.
  • The Blekko SEO Guide You've Been Waiting To Read – This guide explains how to use Blekko for checking links and other common SEO tasks.
  • Why You Should Stop Using CAPTCHAs – Oskar Smith explains why CAPTCHAs create a horrible user experience, can even cost sales / leads / whatever,  and discusses alternatives.
  • Social Media vs. SEO: My Approach – Darren Rowse follows up on last week's debate with a post detailing his approach to balancing SEO and social media as a blogger. His bottom line: it depends what your goals are, who your target audience is, etc. Agreed.
  • Conducting a Marketing Audit: The 5 Essential Questions – Conducting a marketing audit is an essential move for sucessful business practice. Here are five of the most important questions to ask in the marketing strategy process.

This is the latest in a weekly look at the stories that were “hot” on Sphinn in the past week. We’ll post these recaps every week.

Related Topics: Channel: Other | Sphinn


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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