Google Reiterates Guidance on AI-Generated Content
There has been quite a buzz on AI-generated content, with some players in the SEO industry speculating that Google could limit the reach of content generated through AI. However, in early February 2023, Google reiterated its objectives in evaluating content. To rank highly, your content should be helpful to users and not geared toward manipulating its algorithms.
Google Focuses on Quality
According to Google’s Search Quality Team, the focus is on the quality of the content rather than the process of creating it. This means if AI is able to produce factual and helpful content, Google could still rank it highly. “This is not the first time AI is being used to generate content. It has always been used to generate helpful content in weather forecasting, transcriptions, and reporting sports scores,” says Danny Sullivan of the Google Search Quality Team.
Traditionally, most AI content generation tools were designed to help with ranking rather than create user-focused content. This is what Google is determined to change. Google previously updated its helpful content guidelines, explaining that business and website owners should focus on creating original, people-first, and high-quality content demonstrating E-E-A-T (Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness).
To clarify the type of content it sees as helpful, Google added a new section to the people-first help documentation offering guidance on evaluating content. According to Google, there are three aspects of content to pay attention to: who, how, and why.
The Who, How, and Why
“Who” focuses on who created the content. Users should understand who created the content and trust that person’s experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness on the topic. One way of letting the reader know who the author is by adding a byline. The byline should also contain further information about the author, such as their experience and expertise on the topic of the content.
The “how” part focuses on the process of creating the content. For example, if you are writing a product review piece, let your audience know how the tests were conducted to achieve the results. You may need to support your explanation with evidence, such as pictures and data.
“Why” is arguably the most important question to ask yourself when creating content because it focuses on the reason for creating it. According to Google’s guidelines, the reason for creating content should always be to help people.
Ranking on Google
By answering who, how, and why, your content should also align with Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines–and help rank your pages on the SERPs. However, if the “why” for your content generation is focused solely on ranking highly rather than helping users, Google could penalize your content. This is important to keep in mind when using AI in your content generation process.
If you use AI to produce content, consider providing disclosures when they are reasonably expected. Regardless of whether you use AI for your content, the goal should still be to provide trustworthy and useful information for users.