What is Google’s Position on AI Content?

What is Google’s Position on AI Content?

A tablet displaying the Google search page

1. Google Doesn’t Care How Content is Produced

Google has made it clear that using AI in the content creation process is not against its policies. In its guidance about AI-generated content, it says that the “Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines.” 

Let’s consider these other statements in the guidance:

  • Our focus on the quality of content, rather than how content is produced, is a useful guide that has helped us deliver reliable, high-quality results to users 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.
  • 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.
  • However content is produced, those seeking success in Google Search should be looking to produce original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E-E-A-T.
  • Appropriate use of AI or automation is not against our guidelines. This means that it is not used to generate content primarily to manipulate search rankings, which is against our spam policies.

It’s pretty clear that Google does not have a per se prohibition against AI-generated content. 

2. Google Doesn’t Want Low-Quality Scaled Content

Google also has been very clear here: creating content at scale to manipulate the search results is against its policies. It refined this position in the announcement of its March 5th Core Update, which it expects to reduce spam by 40 percent. Specifically, when discussing “Scaled Content Abuse,” the announcement explains that:

We’ve long had a policy against using automation to generate low-quality or unoriginal content at scale with the goal of manipulating search rankings. This policy was originally designed to address instances of content being generated at scale where it was clear that automation was involved.

Today, scaled content creation methods are more sophisticated, and whether content is created purely through automation isn’t always as clear. To better address these techniques, we’re strengthening our policy to focus on this abusive behavior — producing content at scale to boost search ranking — whether automation, humans or a combination are involved. This will allow us to take action on more types of content with little to no value created at scale, like pages that pretend to have answers to popular searches but fail to deliver helpful content.

Note that Google will treat ALL low-quality, high-volume content as spam, regardless of whether it comes from a human or AI. This conversation is not about human vs. AI production. It’s only that if you use AI to generate low-quality content at scale, your site may be penalized.

3. Google Just Wants Your Content to Demonstrate E-E-A-T

Finally, Google has been crystal clear about the type of content it will reward with good rankings: “original, high-quality, people-first content demonstrating qualities E-E-A-T” (experience, expertise, authority, and trust) – regardless of how it is produced.

In Conclusion….

There is currently a debate going on in the content marketing world. On one side, there are AI enthusiasts who believe it is the future; on the other, there are people who believe that using AI will lead to mass unemployment and other societal ills and, as a result, Google and other interested parties will regulate it out of existence.

In my opinion, AI is just another tool that can augment human creativity. The other day, I suggested to one of our writers that she could safely use AI to rewrite calls-to-action for a client that had ordered several blogs; her response was, “I already feel like an AI when I do it manually.” Similarly, when we would need to list the symptoms of TBI in a blog about brain injuries, we’d visit the Mayo Clinic website and have to rewrite their list of symptoms as original content.

There is no question that AI can accomplish tasks like these more quickly than humans. That said, there is also no question that AI-generated content is often generic and lacks the empathy and emotional depth that connect with readers. In addition, without a human touch, AI-generated content inherently lacks experience, expertise, authority, and trust, so there is little chance it will rank well on its own.

So – if you’re a content creator, using AI as an extremely competent assistant can make you more efficient. Ask it to provide topic ideas, meta descriptions, and social media summaries, or even ask it to provide an introduction to get over writer’s block. But make sure you make your content your own, add value for your readers, and fact-check everything AI spits out.