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Can I use blackhat article spinning (spintax) for whitehat purposes?

Whilst chatting in our office last week, reminiscing of ye old SEO tactics such as article spinning, automated backlink tools, etc, we started talking about article spinning and how it might have some legitimate value in certain use cases.

But first, let’s just one thing straight: In no way do I / we condone the use of article spinning for the purpose of blog posts, news articles or anything in between. There is a time and a place for everything, and spinning an entire article to get a unique version just isn’t something I’d recommend. On the other hand their are a few uses that I think we could re-examine such as:

  • eCommerce descriptions
  • photo gallery descriptions
  • meta descriptions, in some cases
  • and a few more

If you think about it, spintax is actually a pretty nifty technology once you look at it from a new perspective. For the purpose of this post, and for 2016 let’s redefine the word “spintax:”

“Spin-tax: a writing method used to generate and find multiple variations of a word, phrase, sentence or paragraph.”

Spintax 101: How to use spintax

Before we go any further, you need a spintax program or lets call it spintax interpreter. There are many of these available online for use, or for download. While researching this article I found a really good one called “Spintax Tool” available to use online. It also has a nifty help section, and they show a few really cool examples.

Now let’s look at the syntax. Syntax stays pretty much the same, and doesn’t vary.

Word level:
The {quick|fast} {brown|red} {fox|rabbit} {jumped|hopped} over the {lazy|funny} {dog|hog}.

Phrase level:
{The quick brown fox|The fast red fox} {jumped over the lazy dog|skipped over the funny man}.

Sentence level:
{My brother likes goats|Our mother likes olives|Our father enjoys steak}.

Combination:
I {like|love} {to skate on the ice|to fish in the ocean|to take long walks on the beach}.

Catching on? Instead of writing out 5, 10 or even 100 unique sentences or paragraphs, you can use the spintax method & synonyms to create variations of your phrases.

Why Spintax Got Such a Bad Wrap

If you look at the history of blackhat SEO, you can see that spintax has played a pretty large part over the years. When Google released its Panda update in 2011, they declared war on shoddy content. One of the main weapons of mass destruction in that war is spintax. Millions maybe even billions of articles were generated via spintax. spintax was the driving force behind most major PBN (private blog networks) but was also used in many different ways.

Once Panda popped off, most SEO’s strayed away from tools like spintax and sought out new methods.

But in my opinion the real reason why spintax got such a bad name is because of people that did shoddy work. Some SEO’s that aren’t very “grammarly motivated” would just throw whatever words into spintax and expect it to come out looking perfect. That, compounded with SEO’s from oversees with English as a second language made most of the content generated by spintax just god awful.

Rethinking Spintax for Whitehat Purposes

Whilst doing some work on an eCommerce site the other day, the thought popped back into my mind: why can’t I use spintax to write variations of an article description? In my opinion product descriptions should be:

  • well written
  • grammatically correct
  • fairly unique

While some folks might be scoffing that I’ve even suggested this, hear me out before you throw eggs at our office.

Let’s dive right in and take a look at a random store on Etsy. This individual owns a crochet shop and has dozens of items. While it is a fact that individual descriptions must be written for each item, there is still some general / filler content that is usually appended to each item. Using spintax, we can create dozens if not hundreds of unique variations within a few quick minutes:

spintax white hat example in ecommerce

Does this look like SPAM? Is it spelled correctly? Grammatically correct? Yep, looks fine to me. In this case if you took a few minutes to verify all variations read well and are grammatically correct, it could save you hours potentially depending on how big your website is.

Another case that might be useful for spintax are photo galleries. A lot of times, photos are nearly identical but still require a unique description. Here is a use case I pulled that could be easily implemented with a few keystrokes:

spintax example photo gallery

Once again, we are able to generate seemingly infinite amount of phrases with a few quick keystrokes. No signs of spam whatsoever and reads well to the average person.

While the above examples illustrate short sentences within the example, it is fairly easy to accomplish the same thing with a 4-5 sentence paragraph.

Even if you have products that are completely different, its still possible to use this method partially. You can write unique descriptions then use spintax to fill in the general fluff content below it.

Contempt prior to investigation

Please don’t hate. While I’ve only tested this on a few select cases with express permission from a client, I do think that this is a tactic that can help save time and money, without sacrificing quality of content.

The real key to this method is using it when appropriate. Again, don’t write a blog post then think you can run it through spintax to get 100 unique versions.

Hope you enjoyed, and a big thanks to my good bud Paul Shapiro for letting me guest post. Toodles!

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15 Comments

  1. Hey Patrick great post, also it was that bit better seeing someone write about stuff that most would turn there noses up at simply because they heard it was bad somewhere but actually know nothing about it :). Another case for using spintax which I utilize all the time is for local SEO citations where NAP consistency would be exactly identical everywhere, the actual business description would not it would be unique on every citation which does set that business apart from the rest where all there description text is identical. Other uses could be twitter welcome MSG’s via Google app engine among many other uses great post.

    • Thank you Gerry – thats a really good point re: NAP consistency. Welcome messages are also another great use. I was thinking transnational email messages maybe? Just to make them not so “canned.”

  2. Love the potential here.

    This sounds like a software that could also still be pretty good on parasite sites. Thinking about reddit self posts, more than anything.

    I wonder if Spintax would still work well for content that is first translated from another language?

  3. informative tips about seo, trying to learn everything I can about seo, doing alot of work myself. My question is submission software is it white or black hat seo. because Big companies have to use some kind of softwares for their customers, I know they are not doing it manually? is it safe?

    • thanks for reading Olia – submission software is generally considered in the black hat category. for links, I think some larger companies are still using submission software but the ones I’ve been working with are really afraid of Penguin. I’d say no, definitely not safe. These days Google’s many targeted algorithms are on the prowl for any and everything they see.

  4. A controversial topic, but done the statement very wisely. Agree to the points, if done it correctly syntax variations can be used for making content for ecom product descriptions.

    It is not a big sin to try the spinning tools, the question is Why and How we are doing it. As you mentioned in the post, the reason for spinning must not be creating a blog post 🙂

    • I think you’ve missed the point or haven’t worked on large enough websites. There are scenarios when it’s practically impossible to 100% unique content. Of course, it’s better to do so, but the resources required for really big websites makes it impossible.