Is AI-Generated Content a Threat to Your Website’s Rankings?

Business Owner On Laptop Using AI Content Tools
4 min. read

In the context of SEO and content writing, the more well-known forms of AI include software like ChatGPT. ChatGPT and its similar counterparts (like Hubspot’s tools) are natural language processing tools driven by AI technology.

These tools allow for human-like responses to questions and can create well-written content for emails, essays, and more when given the proper prompts. With AI tools like ChatGPT easily accessible to the general public, they can help users create text content in a wide variety of formats, tones, styles, and languages.

However, while it may be tempting to quickly create AI-generated content for your business, it might not always be the best option.

AI-Generated Content Can Be Easily Detected

No one is being sneaky when they use AI tools to generate content.

With AI tools like ChatGPT and their growth in popularity, there have been a large number of AI detectors released to help people identify content that wasn’t written by humans. These AI detection tools often use machine learning and similar natural language processing to identify the patterns used with tools like ChatGPT.

There are a variety of indicators that can raise red flags when content has been generated (or mostly generated) by AI. From outdated information and sentence structure to perplexity, these are just a few things AI-detecting tools (and search engines like Google) look out for when it comes to flagging AI-generated content.

Identifying AI-generated content is common practice these days. If a teacher can easily detect an AI-written essay from one of their students, you sure can bet Google can recognize it when you use it to write content for a website.

Google Search’s Guideline on AI-Generated Content

Business Owner Using ChatGPT on Phone
Google being able to detect AI-generated content is a given. But the real question is to what extent can you use it to write content for your website without being penalized?

Saving time and cutting corners with content creation has a direct impact on how your site is valued by search engines like Google. That being said, there’s been quite a progression in Google’s official guidelines and recommendations on AI-generated content.

At first, (back in April 2022) content automatically generated with AI writing tools was considered spam, according to the Google Search Essentials (formerly Webmaster Guidelines). This was discussed by Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, and was explicitly written in Google Search Central’s blog. Back then, the bottom line was that AI wasn’t to be used when creating quality content for Google to index.

As of today, Google no longer stands by some of its initial statements regarding AI. When used appropriately, the use of AI-generated content is not against Google guidelines. The real question now is, what is considered appropriate use?

Using AI To Create Content Responsibly

At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that relevant, high-quality content is valued the most by search engines like Google. If AI-generated content is created for the main purpose of manipulating rankings, that is where it becomes a violation of Google policies and can negatively impact your rankings.

AI can be an extremely valuable tool to use during your content creation process. You just shouldn’t copy and paste right from ChatGPT onto your website. When content isn’t reviewed or edited for improvements, can easily fall into the trap of pumping out content that users might not find relevant or helpful. AI tools aren’t innately good or bad for SEO, it’s the way you use them that will directly impact rankings.

Google’s particular examples of how using AI can generate helpful content include “sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts.” It’s no surprise that this list didn’t include “blog posts” or “home page content.”, The examples that Google provides as helpful content are small pieces of data or information that can be used in larger, more complete pieces of content.

Based on Google’s current guidelines for using AI-generated content, here are a few ways we like to use AI at WebMarketers to create high-quality content that is useful, relevant, and helpful for our audiences:

  • Brainstorming. Kickstart your content process with fun ideas but don’t take the first idea and run with it. As a website or business owner, you should know more than anyone (or anything) what topics are the most helpful for the audience.
  • Using AI to proofread and improve your spelling, grammar, and even make your wording a bit smoother.
  • Inputting facts or features to create a short helpful explanation of a product or service for your customers (one that might be worded or explained better than you can).
  • Inputting information to create powerful, punchy, and attention-grabbing CTAs or taglines.

The Value of Human Written Content & E-E-A-T

Experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness
For YMYL content, the concept of human written content by an author with E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness) is even more important.

Oftentimes for more niche topics, AI tools won’t be able to create content to the same quality level as an author with E-E-A-T in the space they’re writing about. Especially if the content relates to more recent topics that AI tools don’t have the proper facts on.

Using AI doesn’t give content any special gains. What’s important is if the content you produce is useful, helpful, original, and written with E-E-A-T in mind.

Does Using AI Create an Unfair Advantage?

AI is an amazing tool that enables the fast creation of blogs, complete page content, and much more. One might think this is an advantage that surely needs to be used. But if every business has access to these tools, what makes your content unique? What differentiates you from the competition? If it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

If you and all your competitors are getting all your content completely from AI, who is truly the best? Who is providing the true expert advice, tips, and content? The bottom line is creating reliable content that users find useful will always take time whether you use AI or not.