AI-generated SEO content is the web’s latest trend, but what exactly are the pros and cons of using copy created by AI? And does Google penalize AI content?
Does AI content rank in Google?
Ever since AI-writing tools like ChatGPT began to amaze and disturb the web in equal measure, digital marketing experts and business owners alike have been asking themselves if AI content will rank well in search engines.
The short answer is yes, AI-generated content can rank on Google. But there are several caveats.
Google recently released a statement confirming its views on AI content, after much speculation and debate. Essentially, Google said it took no stance on the use of AI-generated content; instead, it focuses on the quality of content produced by any tool or technology.
The search engine encourages web publishers to create “helpful, reliable, people-first” content and promises to reward such content with higher rankings.
Anyone who’s used an AI writing tool may recognize one immediate cause for concern on this list: reliability.
Generally speaking, AI’s output can be inaccurate and, in some cases, completely false. AI technology uses sophisticated algorithms to emulate content that a human would write. But as of the current time, most tools don’t have any systems in place for checking that the text they write is actually correct.
Google also warns that auto-generating content for the purpose of manipulating search engine rankings is against its spam guidelines. And yes, that means AI SEO content writing.
Essentially, if you’re using AI to bulk-generate content for the purpose of stuffing keywords or keyword phrases into a page in order to boost rankings, Google will almost certainly notice and respond accordingly.
Overall, it appears that AI technology is not facing an outright ban from Google’s search engine. But as always, if you’re using AI to generate content for SEO purposes, make sure you check it carefully for accuracy and ensure it adds value to the reader before publishing.
Is AI-generated content good for SEO?
AI tools can certainly be helpful when it comes to content optimization. By analyzing and understanding the content of a document, AI technology can detect keywords and phrases and suggest ways to improve readability for both humans and search engine bots.
However, it’s important to remember that automated tools are only meant to be used as an aid in creating content. They should not replace human input when it comes to producing quality SEO content.
Most AI tools on the market right now will lean towards keyword-stuffing when asked to include particular terms in an article. This is why it’s so important to review content created by AI tools with a human editor before publishing.
If you use AI as an assistant to help you improve the SEO of your content, it can speed up the process, improve your efficiency, and make sure you include all of the important keywords. But when it comes to putting together a well-written, informative article that also helps boost your search engine rankings, there’s no replacement for a human writer.
Disadvantages of AI content for SEO
We’ve already touched on a couple of the drawbacks of relying on AI software to write content for SEO purposes.
But it’s important to consider all the potential issues before using a tool for AI SEO writing. AI-generated content is a relatively new technology and, as such, is still largely unregulated.
It’s probable that guidelines, regulations, and laws around the use of AI content will start appearing in the next few years. Until then, it’s critical to stay aware of the risks and take steps to ensure you’re using AI in a way that is unlikely to damage your business or your reputation in the future.
Inaccurate and misleading content
As mentioned above, accuracy is a huge problem in most existing AI writing tools. All facts, data, references, and other factual information included in AI-generated content must be carefully checked and double-checked before being published.
Google is constantly striving to provide the best possible user experience for searchers, and being given incorrect information or made-up facts would definitely not meet that goal. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure that the content you put online is factually correct, or it runs the risk of being flagged and earning you a penalty.
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Another issue with AI-generated content is its tendency to be overly keyword-dense, as well as its lack of natural language flow. This can make any content generated this way appear robotic and unreadable, which won’t do your search engine rankings any favors.
Google has previously issued several algorithm updates penalizing “over-optimization,” so don’t make the mistake of letting the AI take over. Content written for humans (and by humans) is always better for SEO than content written for search engines.
Potential plagiarism and duplicate content
AI-generated articles are often built from pieces of text that already exist online, which may put your website at risk of plagiarism or duplicate content penalties.
It’s also possible that two different people entering the same prompt into an AI tool could end up with nearly identical articles. This could spell disaster for your SEO if your site is the weaker and less authoritative of the two.
Uninspiring content that lacks creativity and flair
Great SEO content is about more than just keywords. The most successful articles online are written by talented writers who know how to tell a story and capture the attention of their audience.
These articles are rewarded with clicks, likes, shares, and links: all clear indicators to Google and other search engines that the content is important, authoritative, and valuable.
AI content, on the other hand, can often be dry and uninspiring. It may get the job done, but it won’t do anything to engage your audience or keep them coming back for more.
While AI-generated SEO content might achieve a decent ranking for a low-competition keyword, it won’t perform as well for more competitive phrases.
How to use AI content on your site without harming your SEO
An AI writing assistant can be a valuable tool when used correctly. AI can speed up your content production, offer optimization advice, and help you come up with new content ideas. But relying on pure AI-generated content for your website is a recipe for disaster.
Here are our top tips for ensuring that your use of AI content is helping rather than hindering your website’s search engine rankings:
- Always check content for accuracy and readability: Don’t just publish what the AI tool gives you. Make sure all facts and data are correct and double-check for grammar, spelling, and natural language flow.
- Don’t give AI writing tools your keywords: AI SEO content generators love to overstuff keywords. Instead, let the AI tool generate a first draft with basic prompts and then expand on and optimize it yourself.
- Add your own stories, ideas, and experiences: Humanize the content by adding a bit of your own personality. This makes it more engaging to read and more likely to be shared.
- Consider other uses of AI: AI can help you find powerful keywords, outline article structures, and suggest content ideas. These uses are far less risky than relying on it to generate full articles.
- Use AI to assist in writing meta titles and descriptions: One writing task that AI is already pretty good at is creating short snippets like meta titles and descriptions. This is an easy way to speed up your content production process and improve your SEO at the same time, although you’ll still need a human to proofread and edit them.
- Don’t let an AI tool write your entire website: AI tools are great as a writing assistant, but it’s easy to end up with generic, uninspiring content if you rely on them too much.
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Use AI for SEO with caution
AI content, when not monitored and edited by humans, can be detrimental to your website’s SEO. Without the expertise of a human writer, AI-generated content often lacks depth and accuracy, making it less engaging for readers and less appealing to search engines.
When used as intended (as an assistant, not a full automation tool), AI can be a valuable asset to any content strategy. But you’d be wise to stay aware of the risks and limitations of using AI-generated content. Using these tools to help you during the copywriting process, rather than using fully auto-generated content, will ensure that your SEO isn’t put at risk and instead is benefiting from the help of AI technology.
Mar 29, 2023
Rachel broke her high school English teacher's heart by ditching creative subjects for maths and science. Since then, she's been on a mission to balance her analytical mind with her love for storytelling, and found her niche in the world of digital marketing and technology.