Ranking Higher: Does Google Prefer AI Content or SEO Content Writing?
Now that artificial intelligence (AI) writing and editing tools are here and likely to stay, what is Google saying? This article tackles this question. A hint: you still need to work with an SEO agency if you want to scale safely and properly.
In particular, this post covers the following:
- The definition of helpful content
- Best tips to write optimized AI content that Google will love (and not penalize)
Let us dig deeper into this subject. Read on!
Want to learn more about the Digital Authority Partners approach to SEO? Watch this video!
Does Google Allow AI Content?
Google is certainly not new to AI and machine learning. In fact, these are the heart and soul of some of its game-changing innovations, including bidirectional encoder representations from transformers (BERT).
Using large sets of data from existing sources, such as Wikipedia, Google trains itself to:
- Analyze search intent more accurately
- Sift through the indexed pages and determine the best answers to a query
- Learn user intent without relying on previous searches but instead on keywords or query context
The mighty search engine has been investing heavily in AI. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, spent over $31 billion on research and development in 2021.
Google knows that AI is not the enemy, so why are many marketers confused about whether it will penalize or accept AI content?
The answer is…helpful content.
What Is Google’s Helpful Content Update?
Before 2022 ended, the major search engine rolled out what could be one of its most significant algorithm updates in history.
Called “helpful content,” this update aims to do two things:
- Provide a better search experience for users, particularly high-quality answers for their queries
- Weed out bad content
Google then released a long list of guidelines, one of which said that it treats AI content as spam.
From the get-go, this statement implies that AI-generated articles could get penalized. It might receive a lower rank or, worse, get de-indexed. Either option wipes out every content marketing effort you have made.
But does Google do this in reality?
What Does Google Say About AI-Generated Content?
The answer is no; it does not really penalize AI-generated content.
In a tweet, Google’s search liaison, Danny Sullivan, explained that the real problem is content quality, not the content writing process. Whether written by a human or a machine, it will not rank if it is not helpful.
However, before you celebrate and publish dozens of pieces of AI content in a day, you should know three important points:
- The update is not a manual or spam action. Rather, it is a ranking signal that deeply affects your ranking.
- Google applies a large language model, trained using certain parameters to identify low-quality content.
- The impact is sitewide, so if you publish a lot of non-valuable AI content, then it can hurt you badly.
The bottom line is that Google does not hate AI content, but the rules that apply to human-written pieces still hold, including meeting the criteria the model has been trained for.
The good news is that we have tips to help you.
3 Ways To Write Helpful Content Using AI
The best approach to creating helpful content with AI is to refer to Google’s guidelines. Then, with the help of an SEO agency, use the ideas below to optimize your output so that both Google and users will like it.
1. Understand Your Audience Well
When you know your target market by heart, you can write content that they need exactly. AI tools and content marketing firms can help you with this aspect:
- Use customer surveys and other types of user-generated content (UGC) to discover users buying journeys, challenges, and common questions
- Analyze user data to understand their search intent better
- Develop highly targeted buyer personas based on customer behavior, preferences, and demographic data
- Anticipate customer needs before they arise and deliver personalized messages proactively rather than reactively
2. Use Topic Clusters
Google does not want you to write about something because it is viral or likely to rank well and fast. It wants you to create content that extensively addresses a query.
One good strategy is topic clustering. As the name suggests, it groups several pages that revolve around a central theme or idea. In turn, it
- Gives more authority to your pages because they are connected
- Helps you create a concept map that further explains the topic
- Allows you to cover a broad range of topics without drifting away from the main subject matter
Here is a good guide on how to make topic clusters. It is not as complicated as you think, but you can streamline the process with AI and an SEO team:
- Bring Google keyword research to the next level by using AI-based tools
- Generate ideas for pillar pages and subpages based on these key terms and phrases
- Summarize key points
- Create content briefs and outlines for each page
3. Remember, Quality over Quantity
Typically, we think of scaling as publishing as many articles as possible in the hopes that some will generate significant traffic, rank well, and then pass the link juice to other pages.
That's why many are counting on AI content and editing platforms to mass-produce content. But the helpful content update is clear: quality always trumps quantity.
The two tips above can already help you write good AI content, but an SEO agency can make it even better with these ideas:
- Strengthen your E-E-A-T. A good content marketing firm can ensure the article demonstrates your expertise, experience, trustworthiness, and authoritativeness. AI content can include statistics and evidence to claims and provide a unique perspective or angle on your niche.
- Elevate the user experience (UX). The best human writers can make the article easy to read and understand. They can break down long texts into subheadings, headings, and bullet or list forms; proofread the spelling and grammar; and provide more visual content.
- Write according to user intent. AI can help organize ideas, and then an SEO agency can enhance the content's purpose based on what the audience wants. It can be informative, entertaining, or persuasive.
Does Google hate AI content? The answer is no. Even some of the biggest brands, such as Bankrate, are already publishing AI-generated articles and still ranking well.
But remember that Google holds the same standards for all content creators and publishers, machine-generated or not. Use AI tools to your advantage and follow these tips to write helpful content that both Google and users will love.
If you need help, contact us to learn more about our AI-assisted content services.
Want To Meet Our Expert Team?
Book a meeting directly here