Artificial Intelligence (or AI) has been a growing presence in our lives for decades. We see it in everything from computer games, to virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, to self-driving cars. In all these cases, the AI program is not only problem solving using a specific set of data, but has the ability to collect and synthesize new data to improve on future problem solving, giving the appearance of human intelligence.
In 2022, the internet was taken by storm with AI generated artwork. While some people were amazed at the complex and fanciful works of computer-generated art, many artists were and are deeply concerned since the artwork generated by AI was “created” by taking elements of different artwork found on the web and recombining them into a new work. Because there is no human to guide the decision-making of what and how much to borrow from specific artists, or to give credit to those artists, big copyright concerns are at play. And of course there is the argument of “is it really art?”
And now, in 2023, a new and even bigger AI centered concern is upon us: AI generated written content.
What is AI Generated Content?
AI generated content is just what it sounds like – content produced using Artificial Intelligence. There is a lot of excitement in the blogging world about new AI content creation tools like ChatGPT and Jasper that can produce a full length blog in seconds on practically any topic that seems indistinguishable to something that was written by a human being. Sounds pretty great, right?
The truth is that these AI content writing tools are actually scraping other content around the web, pulling information, phrases, headings, and other key writing ingredients from other blogs and articles, then reprocessing the information into an entirely new blog. This may not seem like it is far off from the research many bloggers do when writing “original” blogs, but what is missing is the introduction of new ideas, extrapolations, and meaningful deductions that build upon all works that came before.
Even if an AI written blog is missing this magic ingredient, it is still creating readable blogs in mere seconds. So, is AI still a valid tool for producing blogs? Before we can answer that, we need to answer an even bigger question: “Will AI generated content help or hurt SEO?”
Can AI Generated Content affect SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (or “SEO”) is the core reason a person interested in marketing a website would write and publish blogs. Those blogs get indexed by Google, and if informative, helpful, and well written, a blog may appear at the top of the search rankings for some heavily searched queries, bringing traffic to the website.
However, when Google ranks a piece of content for a particular search query, it isn’t just looking at how helpful it is at answering that search query. Google is also looking to make sure the writing wasn’t plagiarized from another source or “automatically generated”, Google’s broader term for machine produced content that includes AI generated content.
Automatically Generated Content is Against Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
Google has been clear for many years that it considers automatically generated content as spam. In their Spam policies for Google web search, it is pretty clear that AI generated content breaks two cardinal rules – it is basically “scraped content” and it is also clearly “automatically-generated content”.
Google does seem to imply that leveraging AI tools could possibly be okay with meaningful “human review or curation before publishing”, but because AI tools don’t clearly show the many and varied sources that textual data was scraped from, that the review and curation process to edit out anything that would hint at scraped content would be a fairly tedious and time-consuming process.
And this brings us to our next concern: plagiarism.
Can AI Generated Content be Considered Plagiarism?
Just as there are plagiarism concerns with AI generated artwork, so too are there with AI generated written content. A prime example is all the bad press garnered by tech news giant CNET after Futurism, an online media publication (written by humans) broke the story of CNET’s AI generated articles showing clear signs of plagiarism.
While it is still unclear whether there could be legal ramifications of being caught for plagiarism when using AI to generate written text or art, it is pretty obvious that CNET will lose a lot of readerships as more and more users find out the articles were written by AI and very poorly curated and edited.
But maybe you are still thinking that leveraging AI is totally worth the risk. This brings us to our final question: will you get caught?
Can Google Detect AI Generated Content?
While this question is completely valid, it is actually pretty funny when you consider that Google search results (which direct users to original content on other websites) are actually AI generated content. That’s right, Google has been a master of AI since the beginning of the web, and while we don’t have any way of knowing how well Google can detect AI generated content, it stands to reason that they are probably pretty good at it.
Leveraging an online tool called Originality.ai, we ran a few blogs we produced (that will never be published) using ChatGPT to see if Originality.ai could spot the AI generated content. While both blogs passed the plagiarism test, Originality.ai showed a 99% confidence rating that one was written using AI, and the other scored a 50% confidence rating. Ironically, the much better written blog was the one that got the 99% AI score.
Again, Google has been in this realm since the beginning of the web. It would be hard to believe they don’t have an even more robust tool for detecting AI generated content.
The Bottom Line: Should You or Should You Not Use AI Generated Content on Your Website?
From our standpoint as a professional web marketing company, we would respond with a resounding NO that you shouldn’t risk leveraging AI to produce web content (blogs) that serves the goal of driving organic traffic through Google search. While that stance may change in the future, we feel that it is far too risky to put your website’s search rankings and authority with Google on the line in order to save a little time producing content.
And here we are making the assumption you will be spending considerable time editing and checking that AI generated content to make sure it is as undetectable as you can make it. If you don’t, we are pretty certain what the outcome of using it will be.
So we stand by the process for producing content we’ve used all along: we work with our clients to both guide them to answer the most meaningful and popular search queries (putting SEO first in the process) and to encourage them to add their own insights as industry professionals to every blog. Basically, this blog writing process involves three cardinal rules:
- Provide the most authoritative answers to the most common questions on the topic.
- Bring up new observations, comparisons, comments, or concerns regarding the topic.
- Always provide annotation for any information or knowledge gleaned from other sources.
Web search is a super competitive place these days, but by putting your best human foot forward and focusing on providing well written, meaningful, and helpful answers to those inputting questions to Google and other search engines, you can win that organic traffic that should be the foundation of every marketing strategy.If you are struggling with bringing organic traffic to your website, please reach out to us! The Blink;Tech team specializes in helping businesses like yours benefit from content-driven organic marketing strategies.