For many years now, people have been hesitant to use AI content marketing. Many think that AI content generation and other automation tasks are “cheating,” and common interpretations of Google’s content standards hold that Google has somehow “banned” AI.
But times have changed. In terms of writing, not only do Jasper and ChatGPT produce much better content than their technological predecessors, but AI content marketing can help you automate more tasks and save money.
However, there are still a number of important cautions. AI content generation still requires a lot of human intervention, and you must know how to approach whatever’s written to get the results you’re looking for. That being said, your content won’t get penalized by Google just because it’s written by AI.
Google wants to prevent spam
Until recently, most SEO experts interpreted Google’s content rules as prohibiting AI-generated content. This isn’t surprising when you consider that early AI content marketing involved very poor-quality content. Often, websites wouldn’t edit the resulting pieces, and the software turned out a lot of junk.
That’s when some Google algorithm updates had a negative impact on sites using AI content generation poorly. Most of the results were spam.
That spam is what Google was really trying to stop.
Google recently published a policy clarification
In February, Google released a developer note about AI-generated content. In a nutshell, the bulletin declares that high-quality, useful content can rank equally well on Google whether it involves AI technologies or not.
Simply put, this means that Google is no longer trying to stop people from doing AI content marketing. What it is trying to do is to get websites to focus on producing quality content, instead of using AI with a merely quantity approach – leading to spammy, mediocre content.
Here’s the thing: spammers don’t usually care about the quality of the content they produce. Rather, the idea is to overwhelm the search engines hoping that copy will reach the top of the SERPs. But whether that type of content is produced with AI or not, Google is not going to be happy about it. So it continues to be a war on low-quality, spammy content, instead of AI per se.
How does Google determine which AI content marketing efforts are legit?
The same way that it always has vetted online content. In fact, the bulletin tells us that human and AI-created content will be treated equally from now on. Google’s shift in policy has several practical implications for businesses that want to use AI content generation.
Spam content is never OK
One of the biggest rules for Google and other search engines is “no spam.” So, if you’re producing spam content, you won’t do any better with AI than you did with human writers (or vice versa).
Let’s look at this in concrete terms. A lot of affiliate marketers and other advertising-focused websites use “thin content,” which is copy that doesn’t have much information for the reader. Essentially, this content wastes everyone’s time because it doesn’t say much. It’s little more than words on a page.
Google’s algorithms have penalized spammy content for a long time. Most notably, the Helpful Content update incentivizes content that has the information that people want. At the center of this requirement is that you successfully identify the search intent or reason why people typed those keywords into the search engine.
Besides spam, there are a lot of other poor-quality content types that Google filters out. For instance, some content appears to match search intent, but it’s completely useless fluff. It might say something about a product but nothing substantial enough to provide value.
AI without human mediation writes content like this all the time. But so does a very low-cost human copywriter.
Keyword stuffing and black hat tactics are still banned
Image Source: Ahrefs
Back in the old days, you could use any of several “black hat” techniques to boost your position on the SERPs unfairly. For instance, you could include text that was in the background to misrepresent the content of your page to Google. Or, you could add inappropriate keywords to try and get the content to rank somewhere.
It’s well-established that these techniques lead to manual actions or Google penalties, which can result in your content getting delisted. The result is the same whether you used AI or not.
Some AI content marketing techniques are helpful
One of the areas where AI has excelled for a long time is analyzing data and drawing conclusions from it. Done properly and with the right human mediation, AI content generation can turn this data into a dynamic copy that gives your potential customers the information they need after a faster process.
Another way that AI can help with content writing is with revisions. Grammarly and other similar tools have helped writers fix typos and awkward text for years now, and in many sectors of the writing industry, it’s become a standard tool.
Google would rather have great augmented AI content than poor content
Sometimes, writing something from scratch can be challenging or tedious. However, quality AI content generation can help you post the best possible content. All you need is the right partnership of human talent and AI tools, also known as augmented AI.
Ultimately, Google’s goal is to keep the best content at the top of each SERP. If you can get there using AI, then Google has no trouble with this.
As Google mentioned, banned tactics and tools are those which try to manipulate the rankings. Black hat techniques and spam are the biggest examples of what Google is trying to get rid of.
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