AI Content for SEO: How Does AI Content Impact Site Performance?
The SEO landscape inevitably changes every year, and new strategies, standards, and technological innovations come with that. As the public becomes more aware of the capabilities of artificial intelligence, or AI, it’s no surprise that AI content for SEO has made its way into the mainstream. This has raised a major question for many marketers: What does this mean for SEO and website performance?
This article will explore the potential implications of using AI-generated content for these crucial aspects of website presence.
What Is AI-Generated Content?
AI-generated content is written content or imagery created with artificial intelligence software or tools without direct human input. In this article, we’ll refer to written material versus imagery.
This technology uses natural language processing (NLP) algorithms and machine learning to generate written content based on specific parameters, prompts, or data inputs. The goal is to mimic a human writer’s thought process and writing style, creating content that’s easy to read, flows well, and stays on point.
As a marketer, you may have encountered this technology several years ago, when using AI-driven writing assistants such as Grammarly or Hemingway. In the past couple of years, even more advanced tools have emerged to generate entire articles, product descriptions, social media posts, books, ad copy, and more.
The Pros and Cons of AI Content for SEO
With the technology being so new, the pros and cons of AI-generated content are still being discovered. However, some primary advantages and disadvantages are clear.
The advantages of AI-generated content include its speed and efficiency. AI tools can process large amounts of data and produce written material within minutes, making them significantly faster than human writers. Additionally, AI-generated content can be easily scaled up or down based on business needs.
However, while it can be well-written, AI lacks the creativity of the human mind, limiting its ability to develop unique ideas. AI tools also have the potential for errors and may sometimes include biased or incorrect information. Moreover, AI-generated content may lack the emotional connection that human-created content can establish, hindering its ability to resonate with audiences on a deeper level.
So, right now, most of the industry is focused on finding that sweet spot where we can use these tools to boost efficiency without sacrificing creativity, quality, factuality, and a human touch.
AI Content for SEO: The Google Perspective
If you’ve been keeping up with recent news, you’ll know that in May 2023, Google confirmed it is improving search functions by rolling out its generative AI model. This change will not only transform the appearance of SERPs but also potentially influence search results based on user queries. As it’s a new technology, the full implications of this have yet to be seen.
But the big question remains — how does Google view AI content for SEO?
Google states that using automation — including AI — to generate content to manipulate rankings in the search results is a clear violation of its spam policies. Aside from that, however, AI-generated content is not against its Webmaster Guidelines.
How Google Views AI-Generated Content
Currently, Google focuses on the quality of the content rather than how it was generated. The search engine’s latest updates focus more on improving their systems to give props to quality content. It works to surface reliable, helpful content that puts people first.
So, as long as your AI-generated content meets E-E-A-T quality guidelines and provides valuable information to users, it could have just as much of a chance of performing well in search rankings as content not generated by AI.
With what we know about the drawbacks of AI-generated content, however, there could be reason to believe that this is harder to achieve using the technology without a human writer or reviewer.
Does Google Penalize AI Content?
While the established guidelines make it fairly clear, it’s worth reiterating that Google won’t penalize your AI-written content outright. However, Google emphasizes the significance of high-quality, accurate, and user-focused content.
Furthermore, if the search algorithm detects that your content is AI-generated and appears to be made simply to manipulate rankings, rather than to be helpful to readers, it may be flagged as spam.
Does AI-generated content violate Google Search guidelines?
Again, the appropriate use of AI content for SEO isn’t against the rules. However, this specifically means it’s not used to generate content to manipulate search rankings. This is undoubtedly against Google’s spam policies. They even have SpamBrain, which helps identify patterns and other signals that might suggest AI manipulation.
What measures will Google Search take to prevent low-quality AI content from overwhelming search results?
Low-quality content isn’t new, and Google’s been dealing with it for years. However, they have systems in place to determine how helpful content is and to help elevate original content.
With the limitations of AI-generated content in mind, such as potential errors, lack of originality, and limited creativity, human editors play an essential role in content creation. They provide scrutiny, context, and ethical considerations that AI cannot replicate.
How will Google handle AI content that spreads misinformation or goes against consensus on important topics?
These issues aren’t limited to AI content, as both human and machine content are subject to this. Google can promise that its systems will promote quality information from reliable sources while filtering out information that may go against consensus. They go the extra mile to prioritize reliable signals for YMYL topics such as health, finance, and civic knowledge.
Case Study: AI Content in Action
While there are many use cases in varying industries, we’ll take the Head of SEO at Black Lab Digital, Martin Jeffrey’s real-life example of how AI-generated content and Google updates have affected his work.
Jeffrey noticed the rise in AI content and decided to run an experiment.
He built a mall website with 15 pages filled with only AI-produced content optimized for SEO. For a while, everything seemed to be going well. Within two months, the site ranked higher than some major competitors for certain keywords.
Then, a Google Spam Update rolled out, and his site rankings plummeted. The only thing he could attribute this to was the AI-generated content.
So, he concluded that while AI can help generate content quickly, it can also lead to a spam-related Google penalty.
Does AI Content Help SEO?
AI-generated content has the power to impact SEO rankings, either positively or negatively. Original and helpful content directly influences rankings, as Google deems it valuable. Additionally, the search engine could penalize your site if your content is incorrect or misleading. So, whether the content is created by AI or humans, what’s vital is the content’s quality.
However, there are risks associated with AI-generated content, such as creating duplicate or repetitive content that can harm search engine rankings. Relying too much on AI-generated content can also make content less reliable and damage a website’s reputation. It’s crucial to approach the integration of AI into content strategies with balance.
The Bottom Line
AI content generation offers both opportunities and challenges for SEO performance. When used wisely and carefully reviewed by a human, as with human-generated content, AI-generated content can boost SEO rankings, improve website performance, and even shape SEO practices.
However, it’s important to remember that Google is penalizing AI-generated content created just for search rankings. Moreover, rankings are largely based on the content’s E-E-A-T, which AI tools may not establish as well as their human counterparts. While AI has a role in content creation, it can’t completely replace that human touch.
This is where the value of outsourced content creation services comes into play.
SEO content writing services, such as ContentWriters, employ real writers who can produce high-quality, original, and engaging content. They’ll ensure all content aligns with SEO best practices, increasing your website’s visibility and performance. Additionally, they have editors and fact-checkers who can review and improve your AI-generated content.
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Sallie’s natural attraction to things with high impact led to a career in SEO and content marketing. She has worked on many projects in the digital space, working across industries to help brands create meaningful content.