Artificial intelligence (AI) generated content is the hottest topic in digital marketing right now. In truth, this has been possible for a number of years, but tools such as Chat GPT have exploded in 2023 to the extent that some content generators are changing their business model to cut costs via auto-generated content.

There is no doubt that AI-generated content has its uses, but at the same time there are some limitations and users should also be wary that Google and other popular search engines are likely to be wise to AI content, and have sophisticated tools which are able to detect it.

Google’s stance on AI content

As far as we are aware – Google has taken no major stance on AI-generated content currently for SEO, and wants to focus on the quality of content, stressing that its primary aim is to identify “helpful, reliable, people-first” content. To this end it has produced the EAT philosophy, which means its internal processes aim to identify content that shows Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Part of this is an ability to identify content that is obviously AI-generated and is therefore rankings may be affected by it.

It is important to stress that AI content does have its benefits and can have a positive impact on search engine optimisation (SEO). AI tools effectively scan content that is already available and use it to create new content. So AI tools are good for brainstorming ideas and filling space quickly. It is said that AI can produce content between five and ten times quicker than a human could, and this is also helpful for bypassing human conditions such as writer’s block or, more obviously, absenteeism. These tools are also very good for automating more tedious and repetitive content processes, such as creating alt-text and meta descriptions.

The disadvantages of using AI-generated content

There is no doubt that AI is an exciting development and has shifted the content landscape considerably, but there are some limitations to it and examples of how it can’t possibly replace the human ability to produce good quality content 100% reliably:

  • Accuracy – while AI uses information already out there to automate the production of ‘new’ content, there is no facility within the software to check that this information is actually correct. So AI content could be both inaccurate and misleading on some of its results currently. So do not take for granted that the content it produces is 100% accurate or up to date.
  • Unnatural – because AI content is auto-generated there are often examples of unnatural language. You are essentially replacing the skill and craft of the human writer with an auto-generating functionality, and the actual quality of writing will suffer as a consequence.
  • Thought leadership – AI content has no ability to use original thinking, and hence the content produced won’t be valued by the market in terms of innovation and expertise, however some tools are potentially self-learning over time. Because some AI tools have learned using what is already out there it can’t react to fast-moving topics or news-related items in all cases, and hence content can be outdated, ponderous or dull in subject areas where thinking has quickly developed in other directions. There will also be content requirements where a business wants to make a specific point or comment, which of course a human writer can take on board from an article remit, but an AI tool can’t in the same way.
  • Spam – Auto-generated content that is obviously produced to manipulate search engine rankings will potentially be spotted and affect rankings in search engines. Google wants helpful content that has creativity and flair and anything that is SEO-driven could be deemed to have little user value.  

All the above combined can lead to possible SEO penalties. In terms of SEO – we think a human writer is the best way forward still for writing content but do see benefits in certain cases utilising AI tools for content creation.