AI-Generated Content: Will It Affect My Site’s Google Rankings?
  • May 25th, 2023
  • Marketing
  • Mary Hubbard

This image features an AI robot arm writing on a piece of paper, representing the topic of AI-generated Content.

In November of 2022, an AI model known as ChatGPT appeared on the scene, bringing with it the popularisation of AI-generated content. This natural language processing tool is able to generate content for web pages, blogs, ads, and just about any marketing purpose you can think of. In many cases, readers are unable to tell whether a given text sample was written by a human being or by an AI tool.

ChatGPT isn’t the only tool of its kind on the market, either. Jasper, a similar tool capable of content generation, boasts that it can speed up your content generation process to 10x its previous rate.

These tools are clearly poised to be disruptive – and transformative – in the copywriting space. But many would-be users are concerned about how AI-generated content will impact their Google rankings. Can you really take advantage of what these tools can offer, without paying a price you never bargained for?

The short answer is that many of Google’s pre-AI guidelines still apply, and they can help you use these new tools successfully. Let’s take a closer look at how AI-generated content, and how you should – and shouldn’t – incorporate it into your content creation strategy.

How AI tools like ChatGPT and Jasper generate content

To understand how ChatGPT works – and what it can do successfully – it’s helpful to understand the difference between supervised and non-supervised pre-training. These terms refer to how an AI model is “taught” to perform tasks. 

this graphic features a child like robot that is reading from a book, representing the concept and overlay title: supervised vs non-supervised AI pre training

In the case of supervised training, the AI model is being trained to match certain inputs to certain outputs. An AI model that’s undergone supervised training can effectively process data and extract meaning from it. For instance, it performs tasks such as:

  • Predicting tomorrow’s stock prices based on historical data
  • Understanding which emails belong in your spam or junk folders
  • Discovering connections between genetic factors and predisposition to disease

AI taught with supervised training is designed to match input to its appropriate output. However, it’s unable to perform when the task involves an input that lacks a predetermined output. 

Non-supervised pre-training, used for ChatGPT and similar tools, elevates AI-generated content to the next level. For example, a writing prompt such as “write a horror story about a pirate and a cat” doesn’t have a particular “right answer” associated with it. If you gave this task to 100 different human writers, you’d get 100 different stories. ChatGPT is up to the challenge. Just like human writers, it can determine what types of responses would be appropriate or inappropriate in response to this prompt, and make decisions about which one to pursue.

Are AI content generation tools really that big of a deal?

this graphic features a light blue animated city with AI icons floating above it, highlighting the importance of AI in the future.

Technological innovations are constantly coming and going from the stage of human history. Some, like the Blackberry and AOL, have come and gone relatively quickly. Others, like the Metaverse, don’t seem to be catching on as readily as their designers had hoped.

So, is the technology behind ChatGPT just another fad that can safely be ignored? A few experts believe this, but there’s an overall sense in the tech world that the relationship between humans and machines has just been irreversibly altered.

ChatGPT is far from perfect in its current form, but it’s not going away any time soon – and it’s expected to make profound and far-reaching impacts on human life as we know it. The technology that drives ChatGPT is likely to:

  • Revolutionize how educational content is delivered
  • Render many peoples’ careers obsolete
  • Compete with Google as a convenient, reliable search tool
  • Exponentially increase the rate of scientific and technological progress

AI is here to stay. The most important question is likely not whether to use it for content generation, but how to do so effectively.

How AI-generated content could potentially harm a site’s Google rankings

this graphic features an AI robot assessing a checklist, which is expanded in the overlay title, listing what to watch out for in AI-generated content.

We’ve scratched the surface of AI content generation tools’ immense power and potential. But, like any emerging technology, they’re far from flawless. ChatGPT is currently plagued by drawbacks such as:

  • Inaccurate information
  • Inherent bias
  • Potential for generating dangerous, unethical, or manipulative content

Whether AI-generated content will harm your site’s rankings all comes down to how you use it. Google’s algorithm has always favored content that’s truly beneficial to users and corresponds to the intent behind their search queries. Stuffing content with unnatural keywords, or creating spam by simply rewording the work someone else has done, lead to lower Google rankings – even before ChatGPT. To the extent that your use of tools like ChatGPT fails to meet these expectations, it will hinder, not help, your content generation campaigns.

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Your content creation team still matters

AI tools can improve the efficiency of your human workforce, but you still need people on your team to use ChatGPT and other tools effectively to produce quality content. Four ways your human partners can help you safely leverage ChatGPT’s power include:

  • Making sure keywords are incorporated effectively
  • Verifying the truth of content that was generated by AI
  • Planning how AI-generated content will support your enterprise’s overall strategy
  • Editing your AI-generated content to make sure it effectively targets your intended audience

this graphic features a google headquarters, with the logo in bold on a big glass wall.

Google’s assessment of AI-generated content

On February 8, 2023, Google published a series of guidelines for users who leverage AI-generated content. The entire document is helpful, but four of the highlights include:

  • Google’s algorithm prioritizes “original, high-quality content” that meets its standards of usefulness, relevance and accuracy – however that content was produced.
  • Use of AI tools does not automatically violate Google’s spam guidelines. However, using AI to manipulate search rankings is considered spam.
  • Using AI will not lead to higher Google rankings.
  • Including author bylines along with any text that raises the question of authorship is recommended.

Human SEO vs. AI SEO: Why You Still Need Human SEO Experts

Optimizing the relationship between AI and human brains

Effectively incorporating AI into your overall content creation strategy isn’t easy – you need experts that know how to ‘referee’ AI-generated content. When you partner with Swarm Digital Marketing, a full-service team of experts including SEO specialists, engineers, data analysts, copywriters and designers will help you confidently navigate these uncharted waters. Get a conversation started today by asking us a question with our no-obligation form.

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1. What are ChatGPT and Jasper?

ChatGPT and Jasper are AI-powered content generation tools that use natural language processing to create content for web pages, blogs, ads, and other marketing purposes.

2. How do AI content generation tools like ChatGPT and Jasper work?

These tools use non-supervised pre-training, which allows them to generate content without predetermined outputs, making them capable of producing unique and creative content based on given prompts.

3. Are AI content generation tools a passing trend?

While some experts may believe so, the general consensus is that AI content generation tools are here to stay and will have a profound impact on various aspects of human life, including education, careers, and technology.

4. Can AI-generated content harm a site’s Google rankings?

If AI-generated content fails to meet Google’s standards of usefulness, relevance, and accuracy, it can negatively affect a site’s rankings. However, using AI tools doesn’t automatically violate Google’s spam guidelines.

5. Is using AI tools for content generation against Google’s guidelines?

No, using AI tools for content generation is not against Google’s guidelines. However, using AI to manipulate search rankings is considered spam.

6. Will using AI-generated content lead to higher Google rankings?

No, using AI-generated content will not automatically lead to higher Google rankings. Google’s algorithm prioritizes original, high-quality content, regardless of how it was produced.

7. How can human content creators work alongside AI tools?

Human content creators can work with AI tools by ensuring keywords are incorporated effectively, verifying the accuracy of generated content, planning how AI-generated content will support overall strategy, and editing AI-generated content for the target audience.

8. Can AI-generated content replace human content creators entirely?

While AI-generated content can improve efficiency, human content creators are still essential for effectively leveraging AI tools and ensuring content meets quality standards, as well as serving the target audience.