Artificial intelligence refers to a computer program or machine that has been designed to carry out tasks usually requiring human input.
To put it simply – it is an artificial version of human intelligence.
In 1965, political scientist Herbert Simon predicted that machines would be capable of doing anything a human could within twenty years.
Though the time frame was a little off, the digital era has seen a rapid acceleration in the use of technology, including the development of artificial intelligence (AI).
Over the last few years, there have been some enormous breakthroughs in AI that have left people wondering if their roles and responsibilities can be taken over by computer programs and machines.
AI is already widely used across many industries and is expected to permeate our daily lives by 2025.
Many people are already aware of the number of users that are using AI, including online marketing chatbots, voice assistants (such as Siri and Alexa), and the development of self-driving cars.
However, the real breakthrough over the last few years has been the ability of AI to generate high-quality content, ideas, and even medical advice. On top of this, there is recent talk of AI being able to create music.
So, let’s break down what this AI hype is all about.
What is AI content?
AI content is the production of any form of content via artificial intelligence. AI writing tools (e.g. ChatGPT or Jasper) can produce a lengthy piece of copy on almost any topic within the space of a few minutes.
This can cover various forms of content – from chatbots to blogs, articles, or even marketing copies.
AI content generators work by scouring the internet for data, then creating new text that is similar in style and using neutral language which sounds like it is coming straight from the horse’s (or human’s) mouth.
The impact of AI on content creation
It is estimated that by 2025, 85 million jobs will be replaced by machines. Naturally, the rapid progression of AI writing tools has left some content writers feeling a little on edge.
But the truth is that AI will never be unique, nor original, purely because content generators cannot think for themselves.
The work that is created by AI is just the product of scouring data that is already provided elsewhere on the internet. Human emotion and creativity are something that is yet to be replicated by AI.
Although there have been major breakthroughs and developments in recent years, the use of AI tools in content writing is not a new phenomenon.
Take Grammarly, for example.
When Grammarly first launched as an online writing assistant, there’s no doubt that this was a concern for those with careers in proofreading.
Over ten years on, proofreading is still a thriving career, with no risk of being completely taken over by writing assistants anytime soon.
The same goes for content writing.
Humans are still undoubtedly the best at writing content, with an ability to express feelings, emotions, and original ideas through writing that AI hasn’t quite grasped yet.
The bottom line is that AI is a great tool, but still requires a lot of human supervision.
If you know how to write good content for a website, you truly have nothing to worry about.
AI content & quality issues
When it comes to AI and content, it is important to realize that AI generators have a few pitfalls that prevent them from being the primary tools for content creation:
a) Factual errors
Although AI content generators are amazing at generating quite a lot of useful content, they often make factual errors about the provided topic – simply because ideas the tools generate come from various sources, even from those that contain misinformation.
AI tools like ChaptGPT even have a disclaimer about the “reliability of its content” on the website:
So, for example, we asked ChatGPT about the popular SEO myth – CTR (Click-Through Rate) and dwell time as ranking factors for Google.
The AI tool generated an answer that sounded very convincing and relevant:
However, the provided information is false and misleading – for those of you who don’t know, Google does not use either of these metrics as ranking signals.
This myth was debunked many many times by multiple Google representatives like Martin Splitt (Search Developer Advocate), John Mueller (Google Search Advocate), and Gary Illyes (Analyst at Google):
“Dwell time, CTR, whatever Fishkin’s new theory is, those are generally made up crap. Search is much more simple than people think.” (Gary Illyes)
Although a mistake like this is not the most dramatic one, it shows that any content generated by AI should be always double-checked by somebody with knowledge and expertise in the field (especially in YMYL niches like medicine, finances, civics & government, etc.).
b) Boilerplate content
Let’s talk a little bit about long-form content and the quality of advice generated by AI.
The issue surrounding AI-generated content is that tools like Jasper and (more recently) ChatGPT, lack originality. They regurgitate information that is already elsewhere online.
When we asked ChatGPT to write a full 2,000 words article about “structured data in SEO”, it magically generated a blog post that, at first glance, seemed relevant and very well put together:
However, after a closer inspection, it quickly turned out that the provided information is “boilerplate content” – a simple copy that just generally describes the topic without any in-depth knowledge or much useful information in it.
In other words – there are thousands of low-quality articles like this that are generated on a daily basis just for the sake of content production.
With boilerplate content like this, it would be merely impossible to satisfy the intent behind the user’s search query or even rank well in SERPs.
Search engines pay strong attention to the quality of advice, originality, and expertise within the content – now more than ever before.
In most cases, AI-generated content like in the example above would be probably ignored by Google simply because there are other websites that provide much better content than this.
Speaking of AI-generated content vs. Google …
How does Google perceive AI-generated content?
Over the last few months, Google has gradually changed its opinion about AI-generated content.
Originally, John Mueller (Google Search Advocate) considered AI content as a spam signal that can potentially harm the rankings of the website:
“So, for us, these (AI writing tools) would, essentially, still fall into the category of automatically generated content which is something that we’ve had in the Webmaster Guidelines since almost the beginning, I think.” (John Mueller)
However, this changed on November 2022, when Danny Sullivan (Public Liaison for Search) clarified Google’s position on AI content:
We haven't said AI content is bad. We've said, pretty clearly, content written primarily for search engines rather than humans is the issue. That's what we're focused on. If someone fires up 100 humans to write content just to rank, or fires up a spinner, or a AI, same issue…
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) November 7, 2022
Finally, on February 8, 2023, Google officially stated that the usage of AI content generators itself is not necessarily against its guidelines. It simply depends on how people will use these AI tools:
Although Google does not see AI content generators as its enemy, the auto-generated content might be perceived as a negative spam signal if its purpose is to manipulate websites rankings in the Search:
Search engines, like Google, have seen the AI content boom coming from a mile away and have already imposed measures to clamp down on content that is not unique.
Most recently, an extra ‘E’ for ‘Experience’ has been added to Google’s quality guideline ‘E-A-T’ making it ‘E-E-A-T’.
These quality measures are used to ensure that only the highest-quality content is shown to the user.
The ‘E’ for ‘experience’ means Google will prioritize results that exhibit the first-hand experience of the topic in question.
For example, in eCommerce, blogs written by people that have evidence to show they’ve used the product they’re writing about (e.g. pictures or videos) will rank higher in the search engine results page (SERP) than blogs without any evidence.
On the topic of E-E-A-T, the element of ‘trust’ is another area in which AI-generated content will struggle.
Many people still don’t trust content written by AI and would prefer to read human-generated content.
On top of this, a study by Tidio discovered that AI-generated text convinced only 36.9% of readers that it was created by a human, so there is still a little way to go before AI can gain people’s trust.
“Information gain” on the SERPs
Google is also trying to diversify SERPs based on ‘information gain’.
This means that each search result on the page should contain new or different information than the one before it.
When the first page of Google results is completely composed of AI-generated replicas of each other, this does not benefit the user.
Human-created content that is unique and valuable is going to perform much better than content by AI that is churning out the same content over and over.
The idea behind this is to make the SERP less predictable and more valuable.
So, once again, for as long as AI is unable to generate unique and original content, it will struggle to compete with content written by real people.
Digital experts on AI and its future in SEO
“AI undoubtedly has a future in SEO, only what exactly that future will look like remains to be seen. On the most obvious side, SEOs will use AI tools to enhance, refine, and speed up their content creation. This will impact not only on-site content planning and creation but off-site activities also and eventually every part of an SEO campaign.
“Of course, this new technology will also be used to create huge amounts of spam and duplicated or thin content, which has always been a problem in SEO.
“When thinking about how AI will impact SEO more broadly it seems that it is the driving force behind the first potential disruption to Google and its search business in over a decade. The huge response to the launch of ChatGPT and other AI-based search tools suggests that the dominant search engine in the next few years will look significantly different than the one we find ourselves using today, even if it is still Google in prime position.
“Some searches will remain relatively unchanged, like brand searchers which may always involve an element of showing relevant information about a business alongside links to their website(s) and other online properties. Others however could change dramatically and SEOs will have to adapt their approach and offering to help businesses grow their brand awareness and visibility when customers are at their most qualified (when they are searching for a solution to their problem, or looking for a specific product/service).”
You can hear more from Oliver Sissons on LinkedIn.
“Many content writers fear being replaced by AI but, in reality, we must embrace the technology as a tool to enhance and elevate our craft.
“Recently, there has been lots of talk in the SEO industry around YMYL sites, like Bankrate, using AI to write some of its content. As one of the largest finance sites on the internet, this caused quite a stir among SEOs and content writers alike because how can we trust content when a computer writes it? Even more so when it’s on a website that covers sensitive topics like money.
“Over the years, AI-generated content has earned itself a bad reputation, being known for poor quality, inaccurate, spammy content. However, some examples produced by AI in recent months — particularly ChapGPT — have been considerably better quality. Examples of high-quality content produced by AI in recent times include Bankrate and Cnet.
“However, despite the uproar caused by YMYL sites utilizing AI to write their onsite content, it is clear that AI-generated content does indeed have a place in our industry.
“It’s worth noting that Google has always prioritized high-quality, original, and valuable content – something the search engine has consistently stated and has been upheld in recent months by Google employees too.
“As a result, if using AI to help create a piece of content or help spark creative ideas for an article, social media post, or PR campaign — go for it. However, if you choose to do this, it’s important to ensure the content is thoroughly checked by a human editor to ensure it makes sense, isn’t spammy, and is appropriately fact-checked. After all, this results in a piece of content ranking well in the SERP.”
You can hear more from Victoria Affleck on LinkedIn.
How can you utilize AI content generators?
1. Create outlines (& brainstorm ideas)
AI content generators are great at generating ideas fast – especially when you are not really “in the zone”.
This can come handy when creating an initial outline for your blog posts, articles, or product pages:
Although automatically generated outlines like this might not be “ready-to-go”, they can certainly help you in content creation and at least give you a few interesting ideas that you might utilize.
2. Generate title tags and meta descriptions
Another great usage of AI tools like ChatGPT is to quickly generate meta tags for your search snippets.
For example, you can ask the tool to quickly produce a title tag and meta description for your blog post and specify the focus keyword (along with the optimal length of both tags):
This can help you to generate various interesting search snippets in a really short time and help you optimize your pages for Google Search.
Last but not least, AI tools are great at proofreading and writing more concise sentences.
Depending on the style of your blog posts, you can ask AI content generators to check your copy and fix any mistakes that it may contain:
Tip: If you would like to learn more interesting tips and tricks on how to use ChatGPT for your website, definitely check out this video made by Matt Diggity (CEO and Founder at Diggity Marketing):
At the end of the day, it all depends on how you will utilize tools like AI generators.
Although AI won’t help you to quickly cheat your way up to the top of Google Search, it can (in some ways) speed up the process of content production and improve content quality.
In other words:
“AI is a tool. Like a chisel. A great sculptor can use a chisel to create something great. A bad sculptor can use a chisel to create something bad. If you’re using AI in your content creation process, use it to enhance quality. Not cut corners.” (Alex Lindley, Managing editor at Semrush)