In April 2022, Google’s chief webmaster John Mueller made the whole world of content marketing and SEO take notice when he came out and said “content created using language models like GPT-3 would be considered spam by Google” .
He went on to state that, like other automatically generated content, AI-generated content would be downgraded in search results.
Well, it turns out that a lot has happened since then, and with the historic rise of ChatGPT, Google has officially documented its position.
Last week Google finally announced its “official” position regarding AI content, and it turns out that AI-generated content in search will not be universally categorized as spam and downgraded in search results.
In our opinion, this was inevitable because:
- How credible would Google be if they announced several AI features and then penalized them, and
- AI content will become so good it will be impossible to tell if its AI-generated or human generated content.
Knowing that, let’s explore Google’s official position on AI content and what that means for your business.
What is Google's official position on AI content?
In Google’s recent blog post, they said the following about their approach to AI content in search results:
Using AI-generated content is not against Google policies.
Google starts its entire post off with:
This set the whole tone of the blog post, which was immediately followed up with the headline:
Essentially, Google wants to show their visitors the best possible content when searching and they don’t care if it is human-produced or AI-generated.
This is huge news since most people assumed that being “detected” as AI content would preclude you from search results.
It turns out that’s not the, case and Google is looking for original, high-quality content that shows the author knows what they’re talking about and can be trusted. This means they focus on the quality of the content, not how it was made.
Google views AI-generated content as "just content."
Further than just being allowed, Google will place AI-generated content on a level playing field with human-generated content. This makes sense as really quickly it will be too difficult to distinguish between the too. As we mentioned above, poor quality content will get penalized, as it always has.
Google says AI content should be "marked as such."
As part of their E-E-A-T policy, Google says it is helpful to let the readers know how a piece of content was produced.
That means if you are using AI-generated content, Google states you should make it clear and/or self-evident to visitors that the content was generated using AI methods. You should also make sure the author is clearly stated and that it is easy for Google to crawl and understand who that author is and what else they have published.
Spam content will still be punished - like always.
Google re-iterates a few times that, like always, spam content will be punished.
Google has developed a number of systems, including SpamBrain, that analyzes patterns and signals, which help them identity what is spam content and what is not.
It is unclear to us exactly how they define “manipulating ranking in search results,” but if Google thinks your AI content fits that description, you will be ranked downwards.
Misinformation will be punished more heavily.
Misinformation is a big problem with AI because it can so convincingly create it.
To fight this, Google says that it will work to ensure that search results don’t contradict the overwhelming consensus on a topic.
What this means for you is that if your AI-generated content contains non-factual information, or worse, down right misinformation, your site as a whole will be penalized for it.
What Google's official position means for SEO and content marketing.
Overall, this is a huge update and restructures the way the whole industry is thinking about AI-generated content.
It completely changes how content can be generated, and in many ways, will increase the quality of content required to rank.
Here are a few major takeaways to consider:
You don't need to hide from Google.
If we are taking Google’s latest post at face value, it means you no longer need to hide the fact that your content was created by AI. You don’t need to make it “undetectable”.
As long as you’re creating good content, you won’t get penalized by Google.
Now what defines “good content” is a topic for another day.
"Organic" page growth is still important.
Google is very clear that it is not going to reward spam content. That probably includes sites that create a ton of content quickly. This means its important to be slow and methodical with your content, building it up over time.
Simply put, quality over quantity.
Having humans in the content loop will reign.
With this focus on quality, authorship, and correct information, the model that will likely take over for most content types is “having humans in the loop.”
This means you generate the article either partially or entirely with AI, and then have a credible human review it and make sure it makes sense.
In the article, you create a byline for the editor and mention that AI was used.
This gives a nod of credibility to the editor and still falls in line with Google’s recommendation to note if AI was used to generate the content.
Backlink are going to become very important.
Google re-emphasized the importance of trust, and they do this through their E-A-T-T framework.
Since there will be so many new articles out there, a natural by-product of content becoming easier to develop, the next logical step for Google is to value the content based on the strength of your domain and the number of sites that link to it.
This means it’s probably not a smart idea to ignore building backlinks anymore if you want your content to rank.
AI content probably shouldn't live on your main domain.
Although Google said that AI content won’t directly be punished, it does clearly state that incorrect information and misattribution will be.
Knowing that, it’s smart to put your AI content on a separate domain, which will help protect your main site if anything goes wrong with your AI content.
If you are using AI content, Google could potentially see that and believe that all your content was created by AI (potentially without proper attribution) and then penalize your whole site.
Similarly, if you accidentally have incorrect information in your AI content, all of your content could suffer.
Unsure how to grow your content marketing strategy in this AI world?
We know it’s a lot to take in, and this industry is changing fast right now.
If you are looking for help with your content marketing and SEO strategy in this new world of AI-generative content, reach out to our team with your questions.
We’re happy to help point you in the right direction.