What Does Google Think of Generative AI Anyway?
AI is here, and with advances in generative models like ChatGPT, many content creators are wondering, what does Google say about AI content?
The story of Google’s relationship with generative AI, that is AI for content creation (think ChatGPT), is a long and rich one with many pivots and u-turns—basically all the hallmarks of a great story!
Strap in and read on (plus see our advice on using AI for content creation later on).
Google was originally against generative AI content
Back in April 2022, Google said they were against generating content using AI tools, and the tech giant has a rich and varied history of cracking down on bad content. In particular, they’ve kept close on content that is: repetitive, plagiarised, unoriginal, unhelpful, and/or written solely for search engines and not for people (or all five).
Afterall, no matter how much time you put into crafting your original thought-provoking piece, there will always be someone looking to achieve the same results in less time. It’s just the world we live in, and everyone wants to do more in less time, right? Remember, content is for humans first with machines coming in a strong second.
But then they changed their stance on it
Then, they changed their stance six months later (and even more when Bard rolled out in 2023). In October, Google updated its guidelines and added spammy to the section on automatically generated content, officially declaring that spam AI content violates its rules.
Clearly, there is a balance to be struck between AI and human-written content. Essentially, AI content is not inherently bad and Google is fine with it when it’s written for people. But what Google doesn’t like is AI content that meets its criteria for bad content i.e. plagiarised, unhelpful, and written solely for ranking purposes.
Now, Google’s search guidelines from February 2023 are (indirectly) pro AI and they’ve updated their search guidelines with a section dedicated to AI content:
Then the stage was set for Google’s generative AI tool Bard to enter the scene
A month after the February update, Google officially entered the AI arena with the introduction of Google Bard and marking the beginning of the Tech Giants’ entry into the generative AI arms race.
Since then, there’s been plenty of back-and-forth with personal opinions around the value of AI-generated content. Google’s John Mueller has left rather revealing statements in response to SEO “experts” potentially looking to utilise ChatGPT to take shortcuts and manipulate the search rankings:
Mueller doesn’t seem too positive about the potential of AI writing great content by itself.
However, a lot of AI content is poor
Mueller is on the money. A lot of the content flying from the query responses of ChatGPT, Bard, and the like is poor at best—and even incorrect with made-up facts and statistics, increasing the risk of spreading misinformation and worsening your reputation in the process.
Ask yourself, how long will it take you to fact-check your next AI article? Is it worth it, or better to have a try at writing it yourself? All content that’s had an AI helping hand in its creation needs careful fact-checking before you publish it on your site. But this goes for all content you produce anyway.
How to use generative AI and meet Google’s guidelines
Remember, when it comes to AI-generated content, Google is fine with it, as long as the content is useful and written for people. But if you’re using AI to write spam or cut corners like not fact-checking your content or checking for plagiarism, then that’s against Google’s guidelines.
Google has added a new section to the people-first content section on how to “Ask ‘Who, How, and Why’ about your content”:
The goal of this revision is clear: to make sure people create great content for other people even if AI is helping them do just that. Google has recognised generative AI can be used responsibly and within their guidelines, and they have responded to staying committed to delivering helpful information via search results in light of the latest technology innovations and user trends.
Useful pointers for using generative AI
In a nutshell, if your content is useful, helpful and good quality then it doesn’t matter if a machine wrote it or a human. But, truthfully, for content to be useful, helpful, and quality there will almost certainly be a human handwriting a sizeable portion and spending time fine-tuning those generative prompts.
Here are three useful pointers to keep in mind if you’re going to use generative AI tools to help you write great content:
- Don’t sacrifice your quality. As a creator, you must make sure AI-generated content meets your (and Google’s) levels of quality. Write an outline, edit your draft, get someone else to review it and give notes. Remember: humans first.
- Avoid spam manipulation. If you’re looking to use generative AI tools for a quick fix to climb the search rankings with minimal human input and little to no fact-checking, then you’re already wasting your time.
- Humans come first. Remember you’re writing to grab the interest of people, engage users, and share unique insights and knowledge. If you are using generative AI in your process, keep in mind that your content must still help users find answers to questions and solve their problems. Remember, many agencies are now using AI tools for content now and some even provide training to their clients.
Now how to combine the best of AI practices to optimise your time to keep your content flowing while keeping your audience engaged?
Get in touch and we’ll tell you more. No spam here.
Read more: Big Tech Enters The Generative AI Arms Race