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Article spinning is a search engine optimization technique by which blog or website owners post a unique version of relevant content on their sites. It works by rewriting existing articles, or parts of articles, and replacing elements to provide a slightly different perspective on the topic. Many article marketers believe that article spinning helps avoid the feared penalties in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) for using duplicate content. If the original articles are plagiarized from other websites or if the original article was used without the copyright owner's permission, such copyright infringements may result in the writer facing a legal challenge, while writers producing multiple versions of their own original writing need not worry about such things.
Website owners may pay writers to perform spinning manually, rewriting all or parts of articles. Writers also spin their own articles, manually or automatically, 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. There are a number of software applications which will automatically replace words or phrases in articles. 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.
Article spinning requires "spintax." Spintax (or spin syntax) is the list of text, sentences, or synonyms that are embedded into an article. The spinning software then substitutes your synonym choices into the article to create new, unique variations of the base article.
Contrary to popular opinion, Google until 2010 did not penalize web sites that have duplicated content on them, but the advances in filtering techniques mean that duplicate content will rarely feature well in SERPS.  In 2010 and 2011, changes to Google's search algorithm targeting content farms aim to penalize sites containing significant duplicate content.
The duplication of web content may also break copyright law in many countries. See, for example, the United States Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act (OCILLA) and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
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. Some badly designed or misconfigured spinning software chooses the first synonym alphabetically, making certain terms occur with unusual frequency.
- Aboriginal footfall - for first step
- Apple of Warcraft - for World of Warcraft
- Folio rank - for Google's PageRank
- bazaar appraisal - for market value
- Lasnik, Adam (2006-12-18). "Deftly dealing with duplicate content". Google Webmaster Central Blog. Google Inc. Archived from the original on 17 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Webmaster Help Centre: Little or no original content". Google Inc. Archived from the original on 26 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-18.