Article spinning or automated content came about as a way to generate a lot of content that could be used many places on your website and avoid duplicate content penalties. Today, it’s largely frowned upon by SEO professionals as it can end up generating unreadable spammy content that in the end hurts your search ranking. “Not always,” say some. You just have to be very careful.
Article spinning is the act of rewriting existing content and articles by replacing specific words and or phrases to alternate versions in order to provide a slightly different variation of the original. The intent is not to change by meaning or the scope of the story, but to change the wording so not to be considered duplicate content. The trouble is that the quality of the revised content is usually much lower than the original document.
When automation is added to the process the quality can really go awry. Automated spun content is created by using what’s called spintax. According to Wickapidia, “Spintax (or spin syntax) is the list of text, sentences, or synonyms that are embedded into an article. To create an article out of spintax, spinning software substitutes the desired synonym choices into the selected article in order to create a new, unique variation of the base article.” The complexity and nuance of the English language makes it very difficult to simply replace words and phrases with similar words and have it be accurate and sound right. Wickipedia provides a good example. “Great Britain” could be auto spun to “Good Britain”. Hardly the same thing.
If you do decide to use spun content, be sure to read and edit any content that is auto spun or manually spun to make sure that the meaning has not changed and that the content remains readable and relevant. Bad, poorly spun content can do more harm than no content at all.