AI-Generated Content Violates Webmaster Guidelines, Google Says

AI-Generated Content Violates Webmaster Guidelines, Google Says

Google has always been a strong advocate for high-quality content. It’s the only thing they never compromise on. 

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That’s why, over the years, they have been punishing websites that publish low-quality content. 

This time, they have included another type of low-quality, AI-generated content. 

You’ve probably come across tools content-generating tools like Jasper, Writersonic, Copy AI, etc. 

Businesses have been using these tools to generate content, with some people lauding them for their ability to create content that looks natural and reads well. 

While using these tools might seem like a good idea, Google is not impressed. 

While answering questions in a video Q&A, John Mueller said that Google considers AI-generated content low-quality and shouldn’t be used in place of high-quality content.

He’s quick to point out that they consider any form of AI-generated content spam, regardless of how good or bad it is. 

If you are a business using AI-generated content, then it’s high time you stopped and started creating actual high-quality content. 

Google doesn’t need any reasons to penalize your website and will do so if they find the need to. So, do yourself a favour and create content the old-school way. 

That’s not all; Google has also announced that they are using AI to determine which types of content fall under low-quality and high-quality categories. 

That means if you use automated or AI-generated content, then it’s very likely that your website will be penalized by Google.

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What’s AI-generated Content?

AI-generated content is any content that’s generated using artificial intelligence.

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As Medium puts it, AI-generated content is any form of computer-generated content that displays a high level of sophistication and mimicry.

That can be text, audio, images, or even video. 

The idea is to make the reader believe that a human created the content. 

While it might look like magic at first glance, AI-generated content works on predefined algorithms for content generation. 

In other words, it’s formulaic and lacks a human touch

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That’s why Google doesn’t like it, even if it looks natural and reads well.

It’s simple logic. Google doesn’t like AI-generated content because it doesn’t offer any value to its users.  

People come to Google for high-quality content, and if websites start using AI to generate content, it’ll only be a matter of time before the users start ignoring Google.

How These Tools Work

While it might seem like these tools can magically create content that’s on the same level of quality as those you see on BBC or The Wall Street Journal, this isn’t always the case. 

These tools follow a specific algorithm, and the content they generate is based on a set of keywords provided in advance.

They use GPT-3 (3rd Generation Generative Pre-trained Transfer), a neural network machine learning trained using internet data to generate content. 

Developed by OpenAI, a non-profit research institution, GPT-3 is capable of learning multiple genres and even differentiating between what makes up a paragraph. 

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All you have to do is input a few sentences of text, and the tool will get to work, generating massive volumes of relevant and sophisticated text. 

This neural network model has over 175 billion machine learning parameters. To put everything into perspective,  before GPT-3, the largest trained language model was Microsoft’s Turing NLG model, which had about 10 billion parameters.

Fast-forward to 2022, and GPT-3 is the largest language model in the world. 

While it might seem like a miracle, this is just the tip of the iceberg. 

At OpenAI’s research lab, they’re currently working on GPT-4, which is expected to have over 100 trillion machine learning parameters.

Does Google Use AI for Content Generation?

Yes, Google does use AI for content generation. 

If you check some of these websites, like Jasper and Writersonic, you’ll see that they have listed Google as one of the many companies using them to generate content — ironic, right? 

The question going through your mind is, “So Google is allowed to use AI-generated content, but I can’t?” 

Google’s stance on this is straightforward: it doesn’t want AI-generated content to make its way into its SERP rankings.

And they’re pretty adamant about it. They don’t care how you use it or how careful you are. Should they at any point suspect that you’re using an AI tool to generate content, they’ll penalize you without even giving it a second thought. 

So, while you may use AI tools to generate email responses or as a writing assistant to generate content alongside you, doing so is unwise if you’re trying to rank on Google.

Why You Should Be Cautious About Using AI for Content Generation

Many website owners use AI-generated content tools to produce thousands of monthly articles. 

However, not all are aware of the consequences they’ll face should Google find out. 

Google is constantly changing its algorithms. If you use AI-generated content to generate your articles, it’s only a matter of time before they realize what you’re doing and penalize you for it. 

So, before using an AI tool to generate your website content, ask yourself this question: “Is the risk worth the reward?”

Of course, if you’re not planning to rank your website, then, by all means, use an AI tool to write the content for you. But if you want users to find your website when they search for a product or service in Google, it’s better if you steer clear of using AI-generated content. 

Your best bet is to hire a professional content writer who understands Google’s guidelines and will write high-quality, original, informative articles from scratch. Even more important, you have to ensure they’re not using an AI tool themselves. 

The Unspoken Rules about AI-Generated Content

AI-Generated Content Violates Webmaster Guidelines, Google Says

Even though Google is quite clear about its stance on AI-generated content in webmaster guidelines, it doesn’t explicitly state what will happen if you use an AI tool to generate content. 

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Many website owners are understandably curious about this, and some have even gone ahead and tried using AI-generated content tools to see what would happen.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use AI-generated content is up to you. But before you make that decision, it’s a good idea to consider some of the unspoken rules and risks associated with using these tools. 

Feel free to be our guest if you risk it all. But value your website’s search rankings. It might be better to stick to traditional content creation methods, such as hiring professional writers and working with experienced content strategists. 

In the end, you should always prioritize the long-term success of your website over short-term gains that may not even be sustainable in the first place.

After all, what’s the point of having a successful website if Google takes it down in a matter of weeks?

Is Google Capable of Recognizing AI-generated Content?

Asked if Google is capable of recognizing AI-generated content, many experts agree that it’s difficult to tell for sure. 

Some argue that Google is fully aware of the fact that many websites are using AI tools to generate content. While they may not explicitly penalize you for doing so, they may take measures to prevent their ranking algorithms from favoring AI-generated content. 

Here’s what John Muller had to say when asked this question during a recent Google Webmaster Central Hangout: 

“I can’t claim that. But for us, if we see that something is automatically generated, the webspam team will take action on that.” 

After trawling the internet for more insights on this topic, it seems that Google is quite serious about cracking down on AI-generated content — and while they may not be able to detect all of it, they certainly seem to be making an effort.

So, What Should You Do?

It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the risk.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using AI to generate ideas, analyze your content performance, or even write short text snippets. But when it comes to writing full articles, it’s probably best to stick with tried-and-true methods that won’t jeopardize your website’s search rankings. 

Many great content writers out there can help you create high-quality, engaging content that will engage and inform your audience, drive traffic to your website, and, most importantly, build trust with your customers. 

So, if you’re interested in maximizing the long-term success of your website, it may be wise to invest in human-written content instead of relying on AI tools that could eventually come back to haunt you.

After all, quality always beats quantity when it comes to content marketing, and you don’t want your business to be the one that got caught using AI-generated content.

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.

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