Earlier today, Google issued guidance on how it views AI-Generated content. The TLDR version is that AI content is not inherently against guidelines and can be used effectively, provided that it is helpful and is not created in an attempt to manipulate search results. According to Google’s blog, this clarification does not reflect a change in its long-standing policy:
When it comes to automatically generated content, our guidance has been consistent for years. Using automation—including AI—to generate content with the primary purpose of manipulating ranking in search results is a violation of our spam policies.
In addition, Google points out that AI-generated content can be helpful:
This said, it’s important to recognize 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. AI has the ability to power new levels of expression and creativity, and to serve as a critical tool to help people create great content for the web.
What Does This Mean for Legal Content Marketing?
While Google is claiming that its position on AI-generated content has been consistent, the fact is that this policy is in direct opposition to Search Advocate John Mueller’s April 2022 statement that AI-generated content is spam. Clearly, AI-generated content can be created faster and more cheaply than hiring a team of specialized copywriters – so should law firms and legal marketers rush to mass produce AI content now that Google has explicitly said it’s not against its guidelines?
AI-Content Tools Provide a Good Starting Point
The fact remains that there are significant issues with using AI tools like ChatGPT to generate content. It can hallucinate facts and may not be aware of current events. That said, it’s a good tool for ideating blog topics, creating outlines, and even conducting basic legal research. The fact remains that any content generated by AI needs to be reviewed by someone who is familiar with relevant law and the ethical rules regarding attorney advertising.
Google Treats YMYL Content Differently
Google has overtly stated that certain sites – those that deal with issues related to “your money or your life” – have a extremely high Page Quality rating standard. This means that content on topics that have a high risk of harm to someone’s health, financial stability, safety, welfare, or well-being is more closely scrutinized for it’s E-E-A-T (experience, expertise, authority, and trust). In Google’s own words:
On topics where information quality is critically important—like health, civic, or financial information—our systems place an even greater emphasis on signals of reliability.
As a result, if you are publishing legal content – which falls into the YMYL category – it’s especially important to demonstrate E-E-A-T. As a result, any content that you publish on your legal site should be thoroughly reviewed by a human being who has expertise in the area.
Ultimately, Google has this to say about whether you should use AI to generate content:
If you see AI as an essential way to help you produce content that is helpful and original, it might be useful to consider. If you see AI as an inexpensive, easy way to game search engine rankings, then no.
We’re On It
At Lexicon Legal Content, our team has been integrating AI into our processes for several years, and we’re committed to staying on the cutting edge of how AI tools can improve our content and deliver more value to our clients. To learn more about our offerings, call us today to speak with a legal content marketing expert.