More and more often, I am seeing ads and posts discussing the use of automated content software. These scripts are churning out pages of drivel by the thousands. This hurts the Internet content as a whole, makes users angry when they come across these pages, hurts the reputation of the site owners who generate these automated pages, and will eventually cause the search engines to add one more reason to ban or penalize sites.
Yes, having a site with lots of content is useful in our SEO world. But the key here is to have legitimate content that is both useful for your users and generates search engine rankings. The main reason webmasters tend to turn to the automated scripts is the ease with which they can crank out content. Creating lots of good, legitimate content is very time-consuming, so rather than using scripts that will create crap, consider using user contributed content instead.
User contributed content frees up a lot of your time (though not all of it). You will still need to either moderate or approve the content, but that will take far less time than it would to actually create the content yourself. It will take longer for the user contributed content to build up than it would for you to crank out automated spam pages. Nevertheless, what you will end up with in the long run is a site that contains lots of valuable, legitimate content that will make both the search engines and your users happy.
Some ways to get users to contribute content is through the use of forums, blog comments, reviews and ratings systems, calendar entries, posting of pictures (with descriptive captions), and user-submitted articles.
Of course there are other ways to get content such as hiring copywriters to write articles, but encouraging user contributed content is free, and gives your users a sense of belonging within your community. So please, before you head down that road of automated crap-creation, please consider other ways of creating legitimate content for your site.