Backlinks and the Article Junk Pile

Or How to Cut Off Your Own Nose to Spite Your Face?

There are rumblings and rumours scurrying around the place that a few of the MMO marketing set are aware of, but not too many, I believe.

A few niche marketers such as myself are also getting wind of this, but it's early days and would probably attract some unwelcome criticism from the SEO know it alls in any case, so I'm hedging my bets here.

It's all to do with the way a lot of marketers are going about getting those all important backlinks to their money making websites and blogs.

With the new wave of article spinning software available at very affordable prices - MAR being one (yes, I'm unashamedly promoting it in my sidebar) and Ledger's Best Article Spinner another - it has become way too easy to take a PLR or similar article on any subject you like, spin the crap out of it and the submit it to hundreds of article directories at the touch of a button. Voila! Instant backlinks, right?

Easy Backlinks!

Well, technically that is right. But that kind of technique is not what is known as "white hat", or plainly speaking, legit. In fact it resembles the darker path that is otherwise known as "black hat" and that has always been how people get themselves into trouble. OK, it works for now, but for how much longer?

Google are well known for tinkering with the way their algo counts those precious backlinks.

The ones we all crave and desire to rank our sites in the index in order to get organic, targeted visitors who will, we hope, click our affiliate or PPC links and make us money. The thinkers and techies at Google like nothing more than to scope out where backlinks are being generated from and then taking a big stick to those places they view as black hat.

Don't quote me on this, because it is purely my own opinion based on what I have seen happen historically and what I can see happening now. But I have a sneaky suspicion that Google will (if they haven't already) figure out that they can alter their algo to discount links coming from article directories that are publishing "obviously" spun articles.

Now that's not to say that originally written articles will get tarred with the same brush. I don't see that happening because it takes time and effort as well as some research and knowledge on a subject to sit down and write a 500 word article that is worth reading and is informative.

A backlink placed in that kind of article deserves to be counted, simply because the writer took the time and trouble to create a worthwhile addition to the web and provide a useful addition to Google's index. After all, that is exactly what Google wants to see in its index - worthwhile, informative, readable, entertaining etc content that is original - and not that which is copied and spun into something that often closely resembles double dutch.

Spun Articles?

OK, you don't see too many spun articles littering the index, at least not in the high pages, but some get through and they are a major annoyance for anyone looking for something worthwhile to read. That's not the issue here - but more for the fact that these spun articles do get indexed and that means the link(s) placed in them also count.

More annoying is the fact that legit sites are climbing the SERPs thanks to the ton of backlinks occupying tons of crap spun articles. How long do you think this will last before some bright spark at Google realizes that they can stop it happening by getting down and dirty with the algo - and we all know that the techies love to be able to work algorithmically rather than waste human resources checking all that badly spun bullshit.

It shouldn't be too hard to simply NOT index crap spun articles that are posted in the multitude of unregulated and clearly unedited article directories and the links in them would simply not be counted.

Hell, if I worked at Google and on their algo, I'd be laughing my ass off while I tweaked away until all those smug so-called SEO experts who have been dumping reams of worthless crap into article directories for months woke up one morning to find all their sites had taken a serious SERP hit because 90% of all their spin-generated backlinks had suddenly been ignored. The pleasure would be indescribable! Oh yeah!

What would that leave us with, I wonder?

Natural Backlinks

It would leave us with those legit websites and blogs that got their backlinks the hard, but honest way! Yep, by writing good, original articles or by getting links from other site owners who liked what we wrote on our own sites so much, they thought it worthy of linking to. Which is how the algo and the SERPs ranking structure is supposed to work in an ideal world.

There will always be those who trade links and guest post in other people's blogs. I don't see anything wrong in that as a guest post must also be original and worthwhile - after all, who would accept crap spun articles on their personal, carefully tended and nurtured blogs?

I certainly wouldn't!

Even more so if I believed it would be detrimental to my blog, in SERPs ranking or in visitor dissatisfaction, depending on what I expected from my blog. Yeah, I fully expect someone to come here and comment that I shouldn't be so naive about the function of blogs.

Sure I know what really goes on - I've been around long enough to know, so save your breath. This is mainly about my opinion on the probable future of spun articles and baclinks, in any case. Those of you that know me will know what I am really saying...

Also, such a change would pave the way for some more regulated and edited article directories such as - places where only legit, original content is welcome and there is a limit on the number and type of backlinks allowed.

If it's of any interest, make a fortune from the ads they place on your articles there, which is the trade-off for a backlink that is worth something. It could happen and I would welcome the change.

Pipe dream or wishful thinking? Both, but realities come from ideas and ideas come from wishful thinking that gets put into action.


Posted on June 5, 2010 | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on "Backlinks and the Article Junk Pile"

Craig says:
October 9, 2010

It seems very likely that Google don't want badly spun crap in their index. However, there's a lot of variation in spun articles, and a well-spun article is indistinguishable from one written from scratch.

Ezine Articles is often held up as the creme de la creme of article directories, but many of the articles they publish are absolute crap. Badly written, uninformative crap which exists only for a backlink.

Even with the relatively well-written articles you rarely learn anything you couldn't learn in 1,000 other articles on the same subject. More often than not the same author has written many of those 1,000 other articles.

As long as SEO remains a game of 'who's got the biggest backlink count' people will continue writing dozens, scores, hundreds, thousands of pieces of BS which litter the internet adding little or nothing to anybody's life. Because that remains the easiest way to get rankings, and thereby make money.

Algorithms can't tell crappy articles from decent ones, and it will be a few decades at least before they can. Until that point, the game continues...

Teatree says:
July 19, 2010

It's always good to ignore the fashion de jour and do your own thing - not least because that way you don't have a footprint and when they change algorithms from time to time, you remain unaffected.

The other fashion at the moment is forum profile links. They are getting so popular I feel sure that any day now they will get discounted by the algo. What are your thoughts on this?

web media says:
June 28, 2010

With genuine content that's original, especially if you have a blog you’ll be able to generate links with other web sites and blogs, as well. It’s somewhat of a give and take, in that if you link out to other sites, you’ll find sites linking back to you. If you generate spun or dupe content, you're not going to get so much back, I'm pretty sure of that.

Clyde says:
June 26, 2010

I have been checking out all kinds of information to try and work on my search engine rankings for my sites. I have attempted using article distribution companies, content rewriters, profile links, you name it. So I really appreciate your post here on the problems with duplicate and spun content.

Louis says:
June 18, 2010

Writing quality articles for getting backlinks, as well as guest posting in blogs, commenting in blogs, forums etc is still the way to promote your site. Different levels of weight may be given to those links as Google tweak their algorithm for sure, but the process doesn't really change much. get more links than your competitors and you will outrank them eventually. Thanks for the insightful post!

Helen says:
June 16, 2010

I quite agree about the state of the absolute mountain of garbage articles that are published online. It's getting harder to find anything worth reading, so I really do hope Google makes a stand and makes something happen so all this article spamming stops dead in its tracks. It's no good for anyone and if those website owners who are using these tactics are forced to get their links the right way, so much the better for all of us!

Bill says:
June 13, 2010

That's an interesting theory, but I think that's all it is - a theory. For that matter, I also believe that most SEOs work on only theories too, so in reality no one outside of Google knows what the heck is really going on.

At the very worst, it gives you guys something to speculate about, but in reality the old tried and tested formula of write content, backlink it with more content then backlink that with even more content is the way to get to the top. Those that get to the top are the ones with the most links end of story. Whether those links come from spun articles, PLR or duplicate articles, I don't really think that Google gives a crap.

As long as the site they are ranking in their index gives a good visitor experience, with relevant content, strong resources and true relevance to its niche, they will count all the links going to it and you'll have a hard time overtaking it once it has that established, authority status.

Just my 2 cents, which I guess you could also call a "theory" too LOL!

Terry says:
June 9, 2010

Hi Clive, you are so right about the so-called experts. They rarely agree on anything and confuse the hell out of noobs who are trying to learn how to make money online without being taken for a ride by the scamsters who are waiting like the monster under the bed to grab a carelessly dangling appendage and give its owner a nasty shock!

Terry says:
June 8, 2010

Hey Trent, it's good to know I'm not alone in thinking this. It's probably been bubbling away in Google's pot of things to do for some time now, because I can't believe they have not seen what is happening and are not taking steps to do something about it.

I have tried spinners just to see what they produced, but to be honest the results are garbage that then need so much heavy editing to bring them up to something approaching readability that I might as well just write them from scratch.

For sure, every quick fix gets stamped on sooner or later. These days, Google are getting much better at finding the holes in the fence and plugging them. I would also welcome action to curb this menace. I'm working a very competitive niche that I know my competitors are using spun content to boost their rankings and I also know that my real articles will win out in the long term.

Just waiting for the day...

Trent says:
June 8, 2010


I think you hit the nail right on the head with this one! I am sure the geniuses over at the big G are either taking measures against this right now or soon will be. Maybe they already have and it just hasn't been figured out by the masses yet. I, for one, think it would be great if they did.

I've never used an article spinner even one time in my life and don't plan to, so it wouldn't affect me at all. Actually it would help me if G cracked down on this because it would hurt some of my competition who are blasting out spun content all over the place to get links.

Every new quick fix to get ahead so far has eventually been squashed so I don't see why article spinning wouldn't go down with them.

That's why I say stick to the basic things that have always worked and probably always will. You might not get the results you want quite as quickly or easily, but you also won't get burned in the end.

Talk to you soon my friend,

Clive says:
June 8, 2010

I too am a writer of real and original content and I agree wholeheartedly with your observations. The web is heavily laden with so much spun, unreadable nonsense I often wondered why people were doing it. Of course it was to obtain back-links to their websites!

I welcome the day Google figures out how to stop counting all links from unintelligible spun content while giving merit to links coming from real, original and intelligible articles that are actually interesting to read by real people.

Brave of you to come out and say this, as I'm sure many "experts" will disagree with you. But then, many "experts" disagree about many things!

Terry says:
June 8, 2010

Hey Thom, you're welcome. It is just one more of those things that is waiting to happen and I'm pretty sure it's in the pipeline already. The whole article spinning thing would probably have stayed under the radar if people had used it sensibly, but like so many other schemes to game the system, too many people jumped on it and wrung every last drop out of it they could by spamming a pile of crap to every article directory that would accept it.

Then suddenly, hundreds of article directories that accept spun crap started springing up like mushrooms fed on a diet of so much horseshit. Now there are so many places to dump all this crap just to get backlinks, Google will surely do something to curtail it, just as they did with the proliferation of WP theme footer links, blogroll links etc.

Thom says:
June 5, 2010

I don't think it really has anything to do with the article directories themselves, they just sit there and accept all the recycled and spun dross that lazy marketers dump into them.

But you have an interesting point that Google may pick up on if they are listening. What better way to stamp out this obviously blackhat way of obtaining backlinks than to blanket ignore all links coming from these article directories that accept such garbage? It would not take very much to change the algorithm to do that in the same way that they can choose to count or ignore certain links right now.

Google could even sweeten the pot for writers who take the trouble to research and write meaningful articles by counting links from original content that is published only on those article sites that do not publish rubbish. Ezine Articles is one such site and if more sprang up in the same vein, people would have a collection of places where they could go to read real articles that meant something instead of wasting their time looking at garbage. Google's index would have its original, meaningful content and the authors would have their backlinks.

That would be a win-win-win situation for all concerned. If that were my search engine index, it's certainly what I would want to see and would be something I would strive to accomplish. Thanks for the thought provoking post, Terry!