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Does Google Penalise AI-Generated Content?

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT have revolutionised content creation, making it easier to create content at scale. However, AI content generation tools are not without their faults, including opening the user up to an enhanced risk of content with factual errors and lacking the human touch. Another risk is whether AI-generated content will be penalised by Google and the potential implications that this can have on a website’s domain authority, including its ability to rank for target keywords on Search Engine Results Pages.

Furthermore, in the world of luxury content marketing, where a highly refined audience expects a level of quality that surpasses mass-market brands, AI-generated content can all too often fall short, generating sentences that can often feel robotic and add nothing new to the existing dialogue.

So, should luxury brands be using AI-generated content, and if they do, is their digital presence at risk of being penalised by Google? Relevance’s luxury SEO and content experts explore AI-generated content in more detail.

What is AI-generated content?

AI is the ability of a machine to carry out and perform functions that have typically been associated with human intelligence. An example of this would be the AI technology behind customer service chatbots that pop up on websites. Artificial intelligence has also taken over speech-to-text technology and has been crucial for people with visual impairments, while voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are common examples of conversational AI used in homes worldwide.

ChatGPT

ChatGPT is one example of a generative AI tool. Chat GPT stands for “Chat Generative Pre-trained Transformer”. The current free version of ChatGPT is based on the GPT-3.5 LLM (Large Language Model), with a paid-for version, ChatGPT-4, launched in early 2023, which is more sophisticated than GPT-3.5 and better able to recognise subtleties in text and generate images. Both ChatGPT 3.5 and 4 have the ability to generate vast amounts of copy in a matter of seconds from simple inputs and have the potential to change the current work, school, and home landscapes as we know them.

ChatGPT has become a favourite tool for many digital marketers because it can save time and enhance campaign results when used correctly. AI-generated written content is unmatched in terms of speed, and in an industry where blogs, articles, and thought leadership pieces need to be written often, AI content can cut down on time and effort.

What are the benefits of AI-generated content?

Not only can generative AI tools like ChatGPT produce text based on user inputs, but they can also improve existing vocabulary and refine writing styles. Using a generative AI can help overcome writer’s block, develop title and content ideas, and help writers express their views, even across language barriers.

Does Google penalise content written by AI?

OpenAI released an early demo of ChatGPT in November 2022, and within five days, the AI chatbot had over one million users. With its ability to write emails, code, and articles as well as generate content ideas, translate languages, and automate responses to some common customer service enquiries, ChatGPT is currently being used across a number of industries, but is it good for search engines?

Google’s Search Advocate, John Mueller, says that “using automation – including AI – to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our [Google’s] spam policies. This said, it’s important to recognise that not all use of automation, including AI generation, is spam. Automation has long been used to generate helpful content, such as sports scores, weather forecasts, and transcripts.”

Google’s Danny Sullivan also reiterated that Google is fine with AI as long as the content is useful and written for people.

However, an improvement in user experience is a positive outcome, even if it is through the use of AI. Miranda Miller, Senior Managing Editor at Search Engine Journal, raises a valid point when she questions that it would be strange for Google to ban the use of AI by webmasters and content creators for the purposes of improving user experience when Google uses it so heavily themselves. It could even be argued that marketers need to optimise websites for AI in order to really tap into the potential benefits it could provide.

From the beginning, Google has always rewarded quality content and original information that is of value, such as research and detailed reports. According to the search engine, information that is relevant to the reader will perform well in search results.

Therefore, the information needs to be original, rich in content, and relevant to the audience, as well as demonstrate qualities E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness). Google uses EEAT to review if its search ranking systems are providing helpful and relevant information to end users.

If you solely rely on AI content generator tools, then there is a high chance you won’t demonstrate E-E-A-T; the key is to use tools like ChatGPT to enhance your content output.

Will AI replace human-written content?

With artificial intelligence comes many benefits, such as the ability to ‘connect’ with AI-based chatbots 24/7, AI systems managing repetitive and monotonous tasks, and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa that have facilitated the lives of so many.

The ability to generate new ideas, headings, and blog articles and carry out keyword research are just some of the reasons why content marketers have been part of the first industries to start using AI for content creation in their daily work. In addition, the ability to use AI to collect and analyse data in minutes has expedited the research process.

However, we cannot rely solely on AI for content. It needs to be used as a tool to facilitate content creation. Generated content by AI needs to be proofread by humans with additional professional input. It is the humans who will truly know and understand the target market for the piece of content and the angle or focus that is required. This is particularly true for luxury brands that need a human touch to speak and connect with Ultra-High-Net-Worth-Individuals.

Human intelligence working collaboratively with artificial intelligence will lead to numerous more opportunities, and if we follow the principles of E-E-A-T, it should lead to positive results.

We know that Google can detect AI-generated content; however, it does not penalise AI content in itself but rather penalises poor content in general. So, a human eye to review content, elevate it where necessary, and ensure the text is accurate and original is key.

How can Relevance help?

Relevance is a leading luxury digital marketing agency that utilises the latest technology to create bespoke digital marketing campaigns for leading ultra-luxury brands targeting UHNW audiences. We harness the power of best-in-class AI tools to elevate campaigns to ensure a measurable return on investment. To learn more about working with Relevance, contact our team.

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