Article spinning is a specific writing technique used in search engine optimization (SEO) and in other applications. Website authors may use article spinning on their own sites to reduce the similarity ratio of rather redundant pages or pages with thin content. Content spinning works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing specific words, phrases, sentences, or even entire paragraphs with any number of alternate versions to provide a slightly different variation with each spin. This process can be completely automated or written manually. Many article marketers believe that article spinning helps avoid the feared penalties in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for using duplicate content. If most uses of spun content were considered spamdexing (a black hat SEO practice) years ago, it is now admitted as a fair way to lower the similarity ratio, hence the near duplicate or duplicate content, on large catalogues of more or less similar products/items. Years ago, most spun content was produced through automated methods and was considered human unreadable but these times are over and in 2017, article spinning is used in a more sophisticated way, providing readable articles that human beings can't tell whether they've been written manually or not.
In 2017, Google’s search algorithms don't detect article spinning when it's well-done. As content spinning is against their guidelines, we can reasonably suppose they don't detect it, as it's not penalized.
Article spinning is also used in many other applications, not always for SEO purposes: messages personalisation, for example, chatbots, etc.
Article spinning requires "spintax". Spintax (or spin syntax) is using curly brackets and pipelines. The different variants of one paragraph, one or several sentences, groups of words or words are gathered inside pairs of curly brackets, separated by pipelines. This spintax can be extremely rich and complex, with lots of depth levels (nested spinning). Think of a tree with large branches, then lots of smaller branches upto the leaves. To create readable articles out of spintax, a specific software, which is not always the content spinning editor, choses any of the possible path in the tree, in order to create lots of variations of the base article.
Automatic rewriting can change the meaning of a sentence through the use of words with similar but subtly different meaning to the original. For example, the word "picture" could be replaced by the word "image" or "photo". Thousands of word-for-word combinations are stored in either a text file or database thesaurus to draw from. This ensures that a large percentage of words are different from the original article. The problem with simple automatic writing is that it cannot recognize context or grammar in the use of words and phrases. For example, "Great Britain" could be auto spun to "Good Britain". While "good" could be considered a synonym for "great", "Good Britain" certainly does not have the same meaning as "Great Britain".
Because of the problems with automated spinning, website owners may pay writers or specific companies to perform higher quality spinning manually. Writers may also spin their own articles, allowing them to sell the same articles with slight variations to a number of clients or to use the article for multiple purposes, for example as content and also for article marketing.
Plagiarism and duplicate content
Google representatives pretend that Google doesn't penalize websites that host duplicate content, but the advances in filtering techniques mean that duplicate content will rarely feature well in SERPs, which is a form of penalty. In 2010 and 2011, changes to Google's search algorithm targeting content farms aim to penalize sites containing significant duplicate content. In this context, article spinning might help, as it's not detected as duplicate content.
Note that when it's done bad, article spinning can result in unidiomatic phrasing that no human writer would choose. Some may substitute a synonym with the wrong part of speech when encountering a word that can be used as either a noun or a verb, use an obscure word that is only used within very specific contexts, or improperly substitute proper nouns.
- "Webmaster Help Centre: Little or no original content". Google Inc. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.