Google Updates Its Guidance on AI-Generated Content

If there’s one thing on every digital marketer’s lips recently, it’s AI. More specifically, AI-generated content and how this may well be a game changer for content creation as we know it.

But if the thought of using a machine to mass produce content makes you a little uncomfortable, you’re not alone. Even Google suggested that this kind of content would fall under “spammy automatically-generated content” as it lacks the originality and value needed to be helpful – that was until now.

On February 8th 2023, Google announced its revised stance on AI-generated content, clarifying once and for all that it is, in fact, not against its guidelines. So, what’s changed and what does this mean for the future of content creation?

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It’s All About Quality Content

Google has always emphasised that it’s quality that counts when it comes to content and is the heart of E-E-A-T: expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Applying this to AI-generated content, they state that the focus remains on quality and not how the content is created in the first place.

This isn’t anything new, as Google is continually looking for ways to “reward quality content”, like the helpful content update that was unveiled last year. Just like dynamically generating content isn’t a new concept, it’s now a case of evaluating which content is an acceptable quality for users.

There’s a common misconception that content that is automatically generated is naturally spammy in nature, churning out learned words and phrases without any real, human thought behind it. But not all automation is inherently bad. Google gives examples of sports scores and weather forecasts as auto-generated content that is both helpful to users and saves the creator time.

However, they reiterate that any content that is created purely with the intention of manipulating search rankings will be deemed as spam and treated as a violation of their guidelines, as a result.

Empowering Content Creators

Rather than seeing AI as a hindrance, Google believes it can help users write better content and ultimately, better help users. But it’s not simply a case of spouting out ChatGPT content and calling it a day; it still needs a human eye. AI should be used as a tool to assist content creation, empowering people to use new technologies to their full potential.

Speaking of ChatGPT, Google recently revealed their response to it with Bard. Powered by Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), Bard is a “conversational AI service” that signals the next step in Google’s AI journey. More importantly, it tells us that AI isn’t going anywhere and is something that will continue to take prominence in Search.

So, what’s the best way to use these tools? Take the people-first approach. Ask yourself who, how and why to best align with what Google aims to reward:

  • Who created the content – make it clear to users who wrote the content and use bylines, where relevant.
  • How the content was created – consider disclosing if AI or some form or automation has been used to generate the content (it’s not mandatory, but recommended).
  • Why the content was created – if the answer isn’t primarily to help people, then it’s probably worth reviewing the purpose of it.
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What’s Next for AI-Generated Content?

Now we know automated content isn’t against Google’s guidelines, will we see an influx of it across the web? If done well, we shouldn’t be able to tell. As long as the content remains useful and isn’t created for malicious purposes, AI-generated content will likely become the norm.

AI tools like ChatGPT can also be used for more than content creation. They can help with a range of content-led tasks, from keyword strategies to ideation, adding to the arsenal of tools marketers have at their disposal.

But how will Google maintain quality control? The same way it always has – by continuing to develop its ranking systems and ability to assess content against them to determine the best results for users. They stress that using AI will neither help, nor hinder the performance of your content in Search; if it adheres to E-E-A-T, it’s more likely to do well.

So really, not much has changed for content creators. As long as you write content for people first and not search engines, you won’t be penalised. How you write that content no longer matters.

Ready to level up your AI game? Contact us to develop your bespoke content strategy with the help of our dedicated team.

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