Article spinning, aka content spinning, is where you take a piece of content and rewrite it to create many “new” pieces of content.
Article spinners rarely use spun content on their blogs. Instead, they use it to create lots of “unique” guest posts to publish on multiple sites and build backlinks quickly and easily.
Article spinning is bad for SEO because:
- It rarely results in an engaging article to read. Spun content often sounds unnatural and weird, so only low-quality sites are likely to publish spun guest posts.
- It results in low-quality backlinks. Because only low-quality sites tend to publish spun articles, the links you get from spun guest posts rarely have much SEO value.
What should you do instead?
Use the perspective technique to create unique variations of a guest post from different perspectives.
For example, let’s say you write a guest post entitled “The future of link building.”
You could easily change the perspective of that post to create multiple unique and valuable guest posts:
Is this more work than article spinning? Of course. But it’s way less work than writing guest posts on entirely unrelated topics because you already did most of the research and hard work for the original post.
Even better, changing the perspective helps you to get backlinks from a wider variety of websites.
Think about it: “The future of link building for startups” is hardly going to appeal to a blog for SMEs, but a post about “the future of link building for small businesses” will.
You can also approach the same topic from opposite angles. For example, say you wrote a post about “X Benefits Of Link Building For Startups.” You could flip the script and write a guest post for another site titled “X Link Building Mistakes Startups Make.”
Learn more: Guest Blogging for SEO
Negative SEO is an underhand technique of attempting to sabotage a competing website or web page’s rankings.
Negative SEO is bad because:
- It’s unethical, sometimes illegal. Tactics like leaving negative reviews or bombarding a competitor with low-quality backlinks are shady and unethical. But hacking and other forms of cyber-attacks are quite literally criminal.
- It rarely works. Or at least that’s the case for the most common type of negative SEO attack: pointing low-quality backlinks at a competing website or web page. Google is pretty good at identifying and discounting these links on the whole.
- It’s only ever a short-term solution. Even if negative SEO works, another page will soon come along and outrank your low-quality page.
What should you do instead?
Create content that actually deserves to rank—and demonstrate that fact to Google.
This is easier said than done, but there are typically two crucial ingredients:
- Matching search intent
- Getting backlinks
Let’s start with search intent…
Search intent is the reason behind a search. Unless your page aligns with search intent and gives the searcher what they’re looking for, your chances of ranking are slim to none.
You can identify search intent for a keyword by analyzing the top-ranking pages for the three Cs of search intent:
- Content type. Are most top-ranking results blog posts, product pages, category pages, or something else? Follow suit.
- Content format. Are most top-ranking results listicles, how-tos, tutorials, opinion pieces, or something else? Follow suit.
- Content angle. Do the top-ranking results have a common angle, like “for beginners” or “in 2021”? Follow suit.
As for backlinks, you need them—at least if you want to rank for anything remotely competitive.
We know this because Google said that links are one of the top three ranking factors. Our study of over a billion pages found a clear position correlation between rankings and backlinks too:
Check out the resources below to learn more about building links to your pages.
Rich snippets spam is when you misuse structured data to (try to) gain an edge in the SERPs.
Rich snippet spam is bad because:
- It can lead to a Google penalty. Google says pages or sites violating their structured data guidelines “may receive less favorable ranking.” They also apply manual actions to pages they find to contain “spammy structured data.”
- It can lead to rich snippet ineligibility. Rich snippets often improve clickthrough rates in the SERPs. That’s why people want them, and it’s why rich snippet spam is a thing. But Google says your page or site may be “marked as ineligible for rich results in google search” if you violate their structured markup guidelines.
- It rarely works. Google is pretty good at spotting spammy and irrelevant structured data these days (unlike a few years ago). So you’re unlikely to see rich snippets based on irrelevant or spammy markup appearing in Google search results anyway.
What should you do instead?
Include accurate structured data on your pages where relevant by following Google’s structured data guidelines.
Google says that this helps them to “understand the content of the page.”
Following the rules also increases your chances of being included in special search result features and enhancements.
Check out the resources below to learn more about implementing structured data and winning rich snippets.
Black-hat SEO tactics aren’t worth the risk, so stay clear of them.
They can get your site penalized and damage your brand’s reputation.
You’re better off focusing on viable white-hat alternatives. Admittedly, the tactics I suggested in this guide need require effort than the quickfire dark tactics. But the good news is they work and bring lasting results.
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